ANOTHER BRAND NEW BOEING 737 MAX HAS EXPERIENCED TECHNICAL PROBLEMS MID-FLIGHT
A Boeing 737 MAX belonging to European low-cost airline 'Norwegian Air' has been forced to make an emergency landing in Iran due to an engine problem.
This incident comes just weeks after Boeing admitted the aircraft has a possible design flaw with it's autopilot following a deadly crash in Indonesia.
Above: The aircraft on the ground in Iran following the technical problem.
The Norwegian Air flight, bound for Oslo after taking off from Dubai, suddenly had one of it's engines shut down due to an "engine oil-associated" problem, which may mean the aircraft was leaking fuel.
The aircraft was forced to circle several times over Shiraz Airport in Iran before safely landing there.
Above: The aircraft's flight path.
The Iran landing was more than inconvenient for the airline, as Iran has very strict laws about how cabin crew should be dressed.
Iran laws say all female cabin crew should have their head covered at all times, usually by a head scarf.
However, as the airline had no intention of landing in Iran, none of the flight attendants could comply with this law, so all of the passengers and crew were forced to wait in a hidden area in the airport until a backup aircraft arrived.
Luckily, no passengers were injured, however the Boeing 737 MAX is no stranger to catastrophe.
BOEING'S POTENTIAL MAX CRISIS
Safety issues were first raised about the aircraft in late October after a horrific accident in Indonesia which killed 188 people.
The Lion Air flight, which was also operated by a brand new Boeing 737 MAX, crashed into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta Airport.
The cause of the crash isn't fully known, however initial reports from investigators have pointed out a potentially major problem with the aircraft's autopilot and it's response to certain emergencies.
Experts claim the aircraft's autopilot in certain conditions will cause the aircraft to enter into what is called a 'dive', which is when the aircraft suddenly points downwards without any prior warning. This can then cause the crew to lose all control of the aircraft, resulting in a crash.
Boeing haven't publicly admitted this, however the aircraft manufacturer did hold a conference call with several of the 737 MAX's major operators to talk about the problem, and it is reported that they instructed them to provide extra training on how to deal with a sudden dive incident, and claimed a software update will be released in a few weeks to deal with the problem.
Investigators have also released a damning report on Lion Air, calling the aircraft 'unairworthy' and claiming the aircraft had been showing similar problems on previous flights but the airline failed to rectify the fault. Lion Air has continued to deny this, and have slammed Boeing for failing to accept there is a fault with the aircraft.
Whilst it's likely Lion Air may have been able to avoid the crash, other airlines have also reported similar issues with their 737 MAX aircraft.
Southwest and Sunwing Airlines, two major 737 MAX customers, have both claimed they have experienced similar problems. Southwest even went as far as taking several aircraft out of service in order to fully replace the aircraft's sensors.
Could Boeing really be facing a 737 MAX crisis?
We'd love to hear your comments on this. Do you think the MAX is at fault, or is Lion Air trying to shift the blame to Boeing? We've set up a dedicated forum thread on this topic, which you can find here.