Ethiopian crash pilots were relatively new to 737-800

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Lebanese investigators have disclosed that the captain and co-pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 which crashed off Beirut last year each had relatively little experience in their respective positions on the aircraft.

In a progress report on the inquiry into the January 2010 accident, the Lebanese transport ministry states that while the captain's overall flight time totalled more than 10,000h only 188h were logged in command of the type.

The first officer on the twinjet had only 673h of which 350h were on the 737-700/800.

Previously the captain had been in command of Fokker 50 turboprops - clocking up more than 1,000h - before achieving his 737-700/800 rating in October 2009. He was released to command the type on 3 December 2009, just 53 days before the crash.

While the inquiry report states that he had over 3,700h as pilot-in-command, it says nearly 2,500h were on "different light and spray aircraft".

He had been previously rated as a co-pilot on the Boeing 757 and 767, as well as the 737-200.

Both pilots on the fatal flight, ET409 to Addis Ababa, had flown for 4.7h in the previous 24h, and had arrived in Beirut as crew on the inbound service ET408.