DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Boeing 737 Max 8 -- the type of plane that crashed into the Java Sea in October, killing all 189 people on board, and on Sunday, in Ethiopia, killing all 157 passengers and crew -- is just one version of the popular 737 narrow-body aircraft operated around the world.
First introduced more than a half-century ago, Boeing's 737 almost immediately became a short-haul workhouse.
Boeing introduced different sizes of 737s over the years, with different fuel and distance capabilities, including the -300, -400, -500, -600, -700, -800 and -900 variants.
Less than a decade ago, Boeing introduced its "Next Generation" 737 -- the MAX variants.
Upgrades to the MAX 8 include new engines and wing tips, a modern cabin and a computerized "glass" cockpit.
Professor Anthony Brickhouse, an air safety investigator at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach and former National Transportation Safety Board employee, said the computer system is so advanced, it will correct a stall if it senses it and override manual input from pilots, a system known as MCAS.
"If the computer senses the plane is about to stall, the computer takes over and wants to nose the aircraft over," Brickhouse said.