Lion Air Investigation Continues

Hugh Fox
November 9, 2018

On Tuesday, Boeing issued a safety bulletin for airlines operating its new 737 Max airliner in the wake of the crash.

The doomed jet was a Boeing 737-Max 8, one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes, and there is still no answer as to what caused the crash.

Indonesian investigators said Wednesday the plane had experienced instrument failures on 4 flights, including on one journey where both the AOA sensor and the airspeed indicator were affected.

Boeing's newly issued bulletin focuses on the 737 MAX's angle-of-attack sensors, or AOA sensors, which are supposed to provide data about the angle at which wind is passing over the airplane's wings. Resulting effects include excessive nose-down attitude of the aircraft and significant altitude loss as well as possible impact with terrain.

A winglet on the first Boeing 737 MAX airliner is pictured at the company's manufacturing plant in Renton, Washington, on December 8, 2015.

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Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the sea off of Indonesia's northern coast in October, likely causing the deaths of all 189 people on board.

A Lion Air plane carrying 145 passengers was forced to abort its take-off from Indonesia's Bengkulu city on Wednesday night (Nov 7), after its left wing crashed into a pole.

Earlier this week, investigators said the plane's flight data recorder showed that an airspeed indicator malfunctioned during last week's fatal flight as well as three previous flights.

"A "ping" has been detected from the second black box but the signal was very weak, possibly because it was encased in mud", said Nurcahyo Utomo, an air accident official at the transportation safety committee (KNKT).

Boeing, which manufactured the Lion Air plane, issues safety-related bulletins, and had previously circulated instructions about what flight crews should do if sensors fail.

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According to reports, the initial investigation into the flight pattern of JT610 has suggested that the sensor was producing incorrect data which the flight computer processed to trigger further errors. The AD now affects 246 total Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in service globally. Everyone on board was killed when it plunged into the sea moments after takeoff.

Pilots raise and lower the nose of Boeing jetliners by pushing and pulling on a yoke in the cockpit, which controls panels at the tail known as elevators.

The issue only occurs when a plane's autopilot is switched off, Boeing said.

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.

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