Boeing 737 Max safety alert issued after Lion Air crash

Geneva Stokes
November 8, 2018

"The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee has indicated that Lion Air flight 610 experienced erroneous input from one of its AOA (Angle of Attack) sensors", Boeing said in a statement.

Distraught and angry relatives of those killed when a Lion Air jet crashed last week have confronted the airline's co-founder during a meeting Monday arranged by Indonesian officials. "To underscore our commitment to safety, Southwest is issuing communication to highlight the existing procedures to Southwest pilots that operate our 737 Max 8 fleet", the company said.

Boeing said the "angle of attack" sensor, which identifies if a plane is about to stall, was faulty on the doomed flight.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 jets are among the manufacturer's newest models and have been snapped up by airliners in booming aviation markets, including Indonesia and India.More than 200 are in service across the world, billed as the most advanced of the popular 737 jets - and capable of flying more than twice as far than the plane that debuted in 1967. A spokesman for the Chicago-based planemaker couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

There are a total of 49 Boeing 737 Max planes in service across the USA, including 26 737 Max 8 planes in service at Southwest Airlines, 16 at American Airlines and seven Max 9 planes at United Airlines.

"We also plan to conduct a flight reconstruction to see the impact of the AOA sensor damage in the engineering simulator at the Boeing facility in Seattle".

Tjahjono said Flight 610 was intact with its engines running when it slammed into the sea 13 minutes after takeoff.

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"When you see recurring problems, it says the normal easy fixes aren't solving it", he said. However, if the sensor malfunctions, it can cause the plane's computers to erroneously think it is in a stall - which can then command the aircraft to abruptly dive.

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.

A week after the disaster, there is still no answer as to what caused the crash.

"If you were driving down the interstate and the speedometer failed, would you expect to crash the auto?" said John Cox, a former airline pilot and now a safety consultant. Kirana and brother Kusnan Kirana founded Lion Air in 1999.

Indonesian officials said on Wednesday they would extend by three days the search for bodies. The head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, Soerjanto Tjahjono, told reporters in Jakarta on Monday that he was discussing the options for wider inspections with Boeing and his us counterparts.

On Thursday (Nov 1), the SAR team found the flight data recorder (FDR) of the aircraft, and now the search focus was on another part of the aircraft's black box, namely, the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). This issue is said to arise only during manual flight.

"The pilots can use extra force to correct the nose down trim, but the failure condition repeats itself, so that the nose-down push begins again 10 seconds after correcting", reported The Seattle Times.

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