Friday, 16 November, 2018

Lion Air Crash Investigation Shows Troubling Signs in Boeing's New 737 Max

The bulletin warns operators that erroneous readings from a flight-monitoring system can cause the new 737 Max models to aggressively dive Boeing to Issue Alert Its Planes Can Abruptly Dive During Flight - Report
Jeannette Daniel | 08 November, 2018, 15:34

Boeing, which is assisting in an investigation into what went wrong in the October 29 crash of one of its new 737 Max 8 jets, said it issued the bulletin as "part of its usual process".

In a statement issued Wednesday, Boeing said the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee has indicated that Lion Air flight 610, which crashed minutes after taking off, encountered "erroneous input from one of its angle of attack (AOA) sensors".

An AOA sensor provides data about the angle at which wind is passing over the wings and tells pilots how much lift a plane is getting.

The Boeing 737 MAX has three such sensors, but erroneous readings could in some circumstances cause the Boeing 737 MAX to point the nose down sharply in order to keep air under the wings and avoid a stall, according to a person briefed on the matter.

If this happens (un-commanded nose-down stabilizer trim) pilots can respond by pushing a switch on their control column (yoke), however, 737's computers will resume trying to dive as soon as the switch is released the new Boeing bulletin said.

"But it is quite straightforward and we train for this all the time", the captain said.

Boeing said on Wednesday it had issued a safety bulletin reminding pilots how to handle erroneous data from a sensor in the wake of the Lion Air crash.

American said it was issuing similar communications to its pilots to emphasize the existing protocols.

On Monday Nov. 5, CNN published an update on the crash investigation from Capt. Nurcahyo Utomo of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) noting that the FDR review also concluded that the aircraft's airspeed indicator had been malfunctioning on four consecutive flights prior to the crash.

More news: Le'Veon Bell spotted at Pittsburgh gym, sends cryptic tweets after report

A week after an Indonesian low-priced airline Lion Air plane crashed killing 189 people, another of its aircraft was involved in an incident on Thursday, when it smashed into a pole during takeoff from an airport on Sumatra Island.

Boeing Co said in a statement that it had alerted pilots to the issue.

The DGCA had reviewed the performance of Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes operated by Jet Airways and SpiceJet.

Virgin Australia has ordered 40 new 737 MAX 8 models for its fleet - to be in use by next year - but will not back out of the purchase in light of the guidelines.

It turns out that the AOA sensor was replaced the day before the 737 crashed and possibly worsened the other airspeed indicator problems investigators suggest.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and global destinations.

Batik Air passenger Romidi Karnawan told CNN Indonesia that his flight to Jakarta, which was scheduled to take off at around 6pm, was delayed for about an hour.

A search for the cockpit voice recorder, the second so-called black box, remains underway.

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