Boeing warns airlines about equipment failure after Indonesia crash

Hugh Fox
November 8, 2018

737 MAX plane that crashed last week killing all 189 people on board.

Boeing will also warn pilots to follow an existing procedure to handle the problem.

Malfunctioning AOA sensors could cause the 737 MAX to try and automatically push down the nose of the airplane if they detect that an aerodynamic stall is possible, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Lion Air confirmed to CNN that the same aircraft was used on that route, and Indonesian authorities confirmed that the pilot on the flight reported a problem with one of the plane's instruments.

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.

Anugrah Satria, one of the passengers on the flight from Denpasar to Jakarta on the night before the crash, said that it was obvious that the plane was experiencing some problems as the flight kept getting delayed. It wasn't immediately clear if it plans an update, though comments from Indonesian officials indicate they expect one.

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US aviation regulators said they are drafting an order requiring that airlines follow Boeing's instructions.

Southwest issued a statement saying it has thoroughly reviewed Boeing's guidance.

Tjahjono said that due to the small size of the debris found and loss of the plane's engine blades, investigators determined that Flight 610 did not explode in the air, but was in "good shape" before it crashed 13 minutes after takeoff.

He said the pilot had landed the plane safely on that occasion.

Experts say the angle of attack is a crucial parameter that helps the aircraft's computers understand whether its nose is too high relative to the current of air.

The jet reported a discrepancy in its angle of attack sensor during a flight from Bali to Jakarta the day before it crashed.

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"The aircraft and pilot are grounded for investigation purposes", he said. The committee, charged with finding the cause of the crash, is set to hold a briefing at 4 Jakarta. "Especially if you have a crew that's confused and doesn't know what's going on".

After safety officials from Basarnas, Indonesia's national search and rescue agency, retrieved the aircraft's flight data recorder (FDR), a review of the data by Boeing and Indonesian safety investigators pointed to the plausible cause of the crash.

But he stood and bowed his head after angry and distraught family members demanded that Kirana - who with his brother Kusnan Kirana founded Lion Air in 1999 - identify himself.

Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Transport Safety Committee, told media that that airspeed indicator malfunctions on the jet's last four flights, and that this issue was intertwined with the AOA sensor issue. An issue arose in 2016 at Rostov-on-Don Airport in Russia when a FlyDubai 737-800 nosed over and slammed into the runway at a steep angle, according to an interim report by Russian investigators.

Alan Diehl, a pilot and safety consultant, said the report that the same problem happened four times and was never fixed suggests that the problem may have been intermittent, making it harder to pin down.

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