The Ethiopian Airways flight ET302 claimed all the 157 lives on board leaving many in tears and search for answers.
The preliminary findings of the accident have gone on to describe the six-minute flight as ‘hell’ for both crew and passengers.
It was like riding a 72-tonne bucking bull in a rodeo as the pilots had to contend with wind swings to either side and jerky climbs and fall before the plane finally plowed into the ground nose first reports reveal.
Data from flight recorders recovered at the crash site tell of the last moments of Flight ET302, including the commands issued by the 29-year-old Kenyan-born captain to his First Officer, four years his junior.
The instructions did little to help control the plane, which investigators believe had multiple engineering flaws.
Captain Yared Mulugeta, who was coming to his mother in Mombasa, is described as having been extremely fit for the flight.
He had not flown in the preceding 72 hours, thus eliminating any fatigue issue. Instead, investigators indicated that the sensors mounted on either side of the plane gave contradicting information relating to the aircraft’s angle of flight.
The Captain is said to have ordered the first officer to contact the airport’s traffic control in a bid to request for a possible return.
Clearance for the return to Bole Airport was granted, but the aircraft could not make it back. It plowed into a recently cleared farm field some 60km from the airport. The last words from the pilots as the plane started to nosedive, after desperate attempts to point it back up, were “left alpha vane”.
It would appear that the vane, a small appendage that measures the angle of attack of the plane, was totally dysfunctional and could not be rescued. Before the crash, the plane had only done 1,330 hours of flying, indicating it was among the newest aircraft in service.