Report faults Indonesian airline's safety measures in crash

April FrancisDec 01, 2018

Utomo said that Lion Air's maintenance team checked the jet and cleared it for take-off the next morning.

Sensors were misfiring on the almost new Boeing Co.

More than 200 MAX jets have been delivered to airlines around the world.

Capt. Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the American Airlines pilot union and a 737 pilot, said he could not comment on any aspect of the investigation.

However, the report's section on safety recommendations also reiterates the 31-year-old pilot, who had over 6,000 hours of flying experience, should not have continued the flight.

The information from the flight data recorder, contained in a preliminary report prepared by Indonesian crash investigators and released Wednesday, documents a fatal tug-of-war between man and machine, with the plane's nose forced dangerously downward more than two dozen times during the 11-minute flight.

"The crew wasn't handling the aircraft correctly", Haueter told ABC News, adding that the pilots should have returned to the airport upon the first sign of trouble.

On Thanksgiving eve, Boeing was handed two wrongful death lawsuits filed by families of victims who lost their lives on Lion Air JT610.

Accident investigators often speak of the "Swiss cheese" theory of airline accidents.

"Had they fixed the airplane, we would not have had the accident", he said. All it takes to prevent a crash is to block the hole at any point.

The findings by the National Transport Safety Committee (KNKT) suggest that Lion Air put the plane back into service despite it having had problems on earlier flights.

But if the sensors were not sending the correct data to the MCAS system, the software likely calculated that the aircraft was approaching stall conditions while it was well within normal flight conditions during takeoff, pushing the aircraft into a dive.

"It's all consistent with the hypothesis of this problem with the MCAS system", said R. John Hansman Jr., a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and director of the global center for air transportation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

There were other issues pervading the aircraft, pertaining to its airspeed and altitude sensors, the report noted.

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The plane experienced technical problems in four earlier flights.

Boeing has said that the proper steps for pulling out of an incorrect activation of the system were already in flight manuals, so there was no need to detail this specific system in the new 737 jet.

Boeing has said that the procedure to correct an automatic nose-down pitch is in the plane's operating manual and pilots should have known about it.

The report will be made public at 10 a.m. local time, according to KNKT, multiple reports said.

Nevertheless, the pilots completed the 90-minute flight.

When they reached Jakarta that night, they logged various problems with the plane, but didn't say the shaker had been activated.

"Unlike as is stated with respect to the prior flight, the report does not state whether the pilots performed the runaway stabilizer procedure or cut out the stabilizer trim switch". But crash investigators say the faulty sensor was a recurring problem and after being replaced still malfunctioned the day before the crash.

But they can include immediate recommendations if they have pressing safety concerns.

The sensor, called an angle-of-attack vane, or AOA, malfunctioned in earlier flights. The system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, automatically pushes the plane's nose down if it detects a potential stall.

"You have to create a safety culture ... and in all the reports I've seen the owners of this airline (their culture was) just keep the show on the road, do what you're told, if you don't you'll get sacked". "Is this true? If it's like that, it seems that the report is finished". "Every accident is a combination of events, so there is disappointment all around here".

Information from the recovered black box showed that the pilots struggled with a safety system that was broken. That makes it more prone to failure, he said.

Some pilots have also complained that they were not given all the relevant information about the differences between the latest anti-stall system, and older models, USA media report.

"It's a pretty serious issue for Boeing", Cox said.

KNKT also acknowledged actions to improve safety had been taken by Boeing, Lion Air, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Indonesia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

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