SEATTLE – Ethiopian Airlines' senior chief engineer announced in a regulatory filing that the airline reviewed maintenance records a day after the crash of a Boeing 737 Max jet An alleged infringement was part of a corruption pattern that falsified documents, completed inadequate repairs and even beat those that were out of control.
Yonas Yeshanew, who resigned this summer and seeks asylum in the US, said it is unclear what, if anything, the records changed, the decision to even go into it if they were sealed should reflect a state airline that has few borders and much to hide.
The brutal fact is revealed … Ethiopian Airlines pursues the vision of expansion, growth and profitability by putting security at risk, "Yeshanev said in his report he sent to the Associated Press last month The US Aviation Authority Federal Aviation Administration and other international aviation security agencies.
Yeshanew's criticism of Ethiopia's maintenance practices, backed up by three other former coworkers who have spoken with AP, makes him the newest voice asking investigators to look into possible human factors in the Max saga not just Boeing's faulty anti-stall system, which crashed twice in four months.
It was no coincidence that Ethiopians saw one of his Max planes crash, as many other airlines flying the plane have not experienced such a tragedy.
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Airline denies allegations
Ethiopian Airlines portrays Yeshanew as an angry former employee and categorically denied his allegations, which represent a blistering counterpoint to the airline's perception of being one of Africa's most successful companies and a source of national pride.
Yeshanev claimed in his report and interviews with AP that Ethiopia is growing too fast and struggling to keep planes in the air, now that it carries 11 million passengers a year, four times as many as a decade ago, including flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Newark, New Jersey. He said the mechanics are overworked and need to take shortcuts to release the planes for takeoff while the pilots fly with too little rest and too little training.
And three years ago, he produced an FAA audit that out of dozens of other problems found that nearly all of the 82 mechanics, inspectors, and supervisors whose files were being reviewed lacked the minimum requirements for doing their job.
Yeshanev sent out e-mails that showed that he had been calling executives for years to end airline logoff maintenance and repair, claiming that they were incomplete, incorrect or not executed at all. He said he had stepped up his efforts after the crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people on board. An e-mail Yeshanew sent to CEO Tewolde Gebremariam urged him to "intervene personally" to prevent mechanics falsifying records.
These requests were ignored, he said. And after the crash of an Ethiopian Boeing 737 Max before Addis Ababa on 10 March 2019, which killed all 157 people on board, it was clear that the attitude had not changed.
Yeshanev said in an interview that day After the crash, Mesfin Tasew, Chief Operating Officer of Ethiopia, was openly tormented that the airline could be accused of "maintenance issues" and "violations" and ordered the records to be crashed Max plane to check for "error".
"We pray to God that this does not indicate our guilt," Yeshanew quoted the COO.
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In this photo of On 11 March 2019, wrecks at the crash site of an Ethiopian Airlines air accident outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are being piled up. Ethiopian Airlines' senior chief engineer, Yonas Yeshanew, who applies for asylum in the US, said in an ad to the regulators that the airline had maintained maintenance records for a Boeing 737 Max Jet after the crash this year, including a routine corruption investigation Decrease in repair work belonged. (Photo: Mulugeta Ayene, AP)
A problem with flight control on the right side Records from the crashed plane describing a flight control problem – "a throw to the right" – that caused the Pilots had reported three months earlier. Yeshanew added a screenshot of a record of records related to the issue, which contained a final entry dated March 11, with his report.
Yeshanew said he did not know what was previously in the records or whether this was the case changed, only that it was noted in the records that tests had been performed and the problem had been resolved. While doubting that the aircraft would crash due to the flight control problem, he said that any changes to the records would jeopardize the actual condition of the aircraft at the time of the crash and the integrity of the entire airline. 19659006] Explosions at California's Oktoberfest: Restaurant owners celebrated as a hero
Aviation professionals say crash records make maintenance records – especially logbooks and task cards with pilots' notes – mechanics call for international aviation security supervisors Immediate foreclosure and any attempt to manipulate it is a grave injury equivalent to trampling a crime scene.
"If there is an accusation that you have made records This means that you have something to hide and something to hide," said John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board and aircraft maintenance expert.
In his response to AP, Ethiopian, denied a history of tampering and poor maintenance and denied his COO or ordered anyone else to change the maintenance records for the rundown 737 Max. Once the accident occurred, these documents were sealed, stored in a safe place and delivered to the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau in Ethiopia. It added that while "a technician was trying to see the aircraft records," his review revealed that no data had been changed or updated.
"False and unfounded"
Ethiopia is Africa's largest airline, viable and one of only one Few on the continent have passed the necessary tests to fly their aircraft to Europe and North America with relatively good safety record.
The company confirmed that Yeshanew was Director of Aircraft Engineering and Planning, but said that he was downgraded from "serious weakness in leadership, discipline and poor integrity".
"He is a disgruntled former employee who invented a false story about Ethiopian Airlines, partly out of revenge for his demotion while working in Ethiopia, partly to probably develop a case to secure asylum in the US" The airline AP said in an email, "We want to reaffirm that all his allegations are false and unfounded."
Yeshanev and his lawyer Darryl Levitt said he was never downgraded, and indeed his steady rise The year of his career with Ethiopian lasted until this year, when he was assigned to oversee a new venture in the manufacture of aircraft parts and to investigate two pilots who botched a landing in Uganda and nearly Yeshanev said his recommendations after this incident – less inexperienced pilots in cockpits a better education – have gone unnoticed.
Yeshanew also added internal emails to the report, claiming to have faulty papers and repairs, as well as investigations by suppliers suggesting similar errors, including those that caused two cockpit windows to shatter in flight De-icing mechanism burned and missing or incorrect screws on key sensors.
"Personally, I've seen that many task cards are signed without even doing what's written in the instruction," Yeshanew wrote to COO Tasew in 2017. "Such violations can even lead to serious security issues. "
Others have made similar statements. In 2015, an anonymous FAA security hotline official reported that mechanics often released planes to take off due to "unresolved" mechanical problems. It was unclear whether the complaint led to an action by the FAA or the airline.
Three other former Ethiopian employees made such allegations against AP, including one who presented documents that he claims had flawed repairs and paper mistakes Another mechanic said they had no choice but to "whip in pencil" – Technical jargon for unsubscribing repairs that have never been done.
years before leaving in 2016. "There was a philosophy: you can not ground an airplane – it's okay, go, go."
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Yeshanew Claims a Prison-Like Detention Center
Allegations in Yeshanev's report include Ethiopians maintaining a prison-like detention center located on the grounds of his headquarters in Addis Ababa he once interrogated. intimate date and sometimes beat up employees who get out of line. Yeshanev said he knew of at least two mechanics who were beaten in the last three years after they fell out of favor, and he feared that the same fate awaited him.
Yeshanew said in the report and in later interviews with AP that it was he On suspicion of having spoken to news organizations, in July he was taken to the one-floor, dirty-floor detention center. After ten hours of questioning, he was told that "like everyone else in front of him," he would be jailed if he did not. do not be silent. He took that as a threat of torture.
"If you're in jail, it means you get beaten and tortured," he told AP. "There is no difference in the current political system of Ethiopia."
Four days later, Yeshanew fled to the United States with this woman and two children, settling in the Seattle area.
A former spokesman for the Airline Union. Bekele Dumecha told AP that he had met more than a dozen workers for over six years who had been beaten at the same detention center, including one of the alleged victims identified by Yeshanew. Dumecha said he saw this person an hour after his release.
"He could not go right," said Dumecha, who now lives in Minnesota and also seeks asylum. "He was mentally and physically destroyed."
Human Rights Watch said in an April report that torture in prisons and "unmarked detention centers" in Ethiopia has long been a "serious and inadequately reported issue" personally interviewed three airline employees who claimed three years ago to have been tortured by the government.
"It was about maintaining the positive image of the company and the country," said HRW researcher Felix Horne. "Many people who tried to speak out against government-controlled companies were inevitably jailed and beaten up."
In its statement, Ethiopian Airlines denied that there is a torture detention center and offered to show an AP reporter on the grounds. After AP searched for such a tour last week, Ethiopian officials said the organization would take several weeks.
Yeshanev's allegations are the recent ones that put other factors in the limelight than what is at the heart of Max Crash investigations. A system on the aircraft called MCAS for the maneuvering characteristic augmentation system, which automatically pushes down the nose of the aircraft when there is a risk of stalling they have fought against it. Regulators have dropped nearly 400 Type 737 Max aircraft while Boeing is trying to fix it.
Another whistleblower from Ethiopia, the experienced pilot Bernd Kai of Hoesslin, told the AP in May that he had asked for support from the top executives of Ethiopia following the crash of Lion Air in Indonesia. Better pilot training on Max. Predictions that if the pilots are not sufficiently familiar with Boeing's protocols to disable the autopilot system in the event of a misfire, "it will certainly crash".
The pilots followed all the steps Boeing prescribed. However, the preliminary report on the crash has shown that they deviated from the guidelines and made other mistakes, in particular flying the aircraft at unusually high speed and inexplicably reactivating the anti-stall system shortly after manual oversteer. Six minutes into Max's flight, the plane crashed into the ground with passengers from nearly a dozen countries about 60 kilometers from the airport.
"I Must Reveal the Truth"
39-year-old Yeshanew has a high price for the decision to become a whistleblower. He leaves relatives and a job he described as a "dream of my life", one with prestige and a salary sufficient to buy a three-story home. He is not sure what job he can get in the US or if he is granted asylum at all.
Ultimately, he has the dream to return to his native Ethiopia and even back to work Ethiopian Airlines.
"I need to reveal the truth and reality to the world for the airline to be repaired," he said, "because she can not continue as it is now."
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