Thursday, 15 November, 2018

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

Lion Air jet had damaged airspeed indicator on last 4 flights Report Boeing to issue safety warning to pilots for 737 Max jets: Report
Ellis Copeland | 08 November, 2018, 20:21

The Chicago-based manufacturer said investigators probing the crash of Flight JT610, in which all 189 on board were killed, had found that one of the "angle of attack" sensors on the brand new plane had provided incorrect readings.

Experts say the Boeing notice could be about the "angle of attack", which is the angle of the wing relative to oncoming air stream, a measure that indicates if a plane is likely to stall.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive on Wednesday to address how to handle erroneous data from a sensor on the new Boeing 737 MAX jet in the wake of last week's Indonesian jetliner crash.

On Tuesday, Boeing issued a bulletin to all airlines and pilots who operate the 737 MAX.

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.

A Boeing spokesman said an investigation into the deadly crash revealed the faulty sensor. However, in rare instances, accidents have been caused by what investigators call a "startle factor".

The committee has said they were dealing with an "erroneous airspeed indication". Pilots flying with an AOA sensor generating erroneous inputs to the system can experience the inability to engage the aircraft's autopilot system, among other problems.

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The angle of attack readings are fed into a computer that in some cases will attempt to push down the nose using the elevator trim system.

The pilot on the crashed Lion Air flight had asked shortly after takeoff to return to the airport in Jakarta but lost contact with air traffic controllers afterward.

"We're going to learn from this just like we learned from the A330", he said, referring to a 2009 incident in which an Airbus A330 crashed off the coast of Brazil with 228 people on board due to electronics failures.

Given the situation's fluid nature, Lion Air Group Managing Director Daniel Putut told local media on Monday, November 5, that talks with Boeing over a new order for fifty B737-10s have now been suspended pending the outcome from the Ministry's review. The Boeing bulletin only reminds operators of the plane to follow the procedure and doesn't require any physical fixes that could take the aircraft out of service.

Some modern aircraft have systems created to correct the posture of the aircraft automatically to keep flying safely.

Boeing said it is continuing to work with the Indonesian investigation. The system alerts pilots if it senses a possible malfunction.

Currently, Jet Airways and SpiceJet fly Boeing 737 MAX planes in India. Once that happens, it may try to right itself by pushing the nose down, reports the Straight Times.

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