Boeing signals flight control system problem may have contributed to 737 crash

April FrancisNov 08, 2018

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

Boeing is reported to be close to issuing a service bulletin to 737 MAX operators relating to the jet's angle of attack sensor after the Lion Air crash that claimed 189.

But the National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) said Monday that the black box data showed the plane had an air speed indicator issue on at least two other earlier flights.

Boeing's bulletin related only to the 737 MAX, the latest version of the world's most-sold family of aircraft, which has been in service for just over a year.

Aircraft and engine manufacturers routinely send bulletins to operators noting safety measures and maintenance actions they should take, majority relatively routine.

However, past year Boeing had to briefly ground its 737 MAX fleet as discrepancies were found in its engines. Boeing has sent experts to Indonesia to assist with the investigation.

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

"I'm still of the opinion that losing airspeed on the airplane shouldn't result in losing the airplane", Cox said.

"We are formulating, with NTSB and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator", he said, according to Reuters. Lion Air declined to comment.

Divers have pulled the plane's flight data recorder from the water, but are still hunting for the cockpit voice recorder- a key device that could provide clues to what caused the nearly brand-new plane to plunge into the sea.

"Intermittent failures are very hard for maintenance personnel to trouble-shoot because a lot of times they just say, 'Cannot duplicate, ' and they write it up that way", Diehl said.

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The pilots had requested a return to Denpasar Airport before cancelling that when the system returned to normal.

"We have said there's a technical problem but we also want to know what they were discussing in the cockpit and what they were doing", Soerjanto Tjahjono, chief of Indonesia's NTSC, told reporters on Monday.

The "ping" from the cockpit voice recorder was located Saturday but the signal was lost yesterday as the divers battled strong currents and murky water.

Both flights crashed shortly after takeoff. "People panicked. It dropped about 400 feet", said Gaharu, adding that he had confirmed the height of the drop on a flight-tracking website.

Indonesian investigators said this week that the plane had an air-speed indicator problem on the doomed flight and on three previous journeys.

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

"Lion Air has failed".

Speed-measuring systems consist of tubes and sensors that measure air pressure generated by the plane's movement and compare it with surrounding air pressure.

Airspeed is measured using pitot tubes, sensors which record pressure on the wing or front surface of the aircraft. Such instances affect the airspeed readings and the way the aircraft is flown, BBC reported. According to NBC News, the warning revolves around what pilots should do if the plane gives an erroneous reading from a sensor.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency on Wednesday extended the search effort for a second time, saying it will continue until Sunday.

A search operation soon found the debris of the plane in the waters off Tanjung Pakis in Karawang, about 70 kilometers east of Jakarta.

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