Lion Air jet in another accident, a week after deadly crash

Marcus Newton
November 9, 2018

Boeing has issued a safety message to pilots on how to handle erroneous data from a key sensor on its 737 MAX aircraft in the wake of last week's deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

The jet's airspeed indicator malfunctioned on its last four flights, and that problem was related to the sensor issue, said Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, on Wednesday.

Exhibiting similar problems, a recently delivered Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 passenger plane crashed into the sea off Jakarta, Indonesia nearly two weeks ago with 189 people onboard.

The Boeing alert to 737 MAX operators to follow the manual when erroneous data problems are encountered from flight sensors raises more questions than it answers in relation to the Lion Air crash on Monday, October 29.

The newspaper said the findings suggest investigators could be looking at a software problem or a mistaken interpretation by flight crew as having played key roles in the Lion Air crash.

There are also procedures for pilots to follow in the event of missing data from damaged sensors on the fuselage, but it remained unclear how much time the crew of flight JT610 had to respond at the relatively low altitude of around 1,500 metres.

The FAA said the "erroneous inputs can potentially make the horizontal stabilisers repeatedly pitch the nose of the airplane downward, making the aircraft hard to control".

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But more importantly, the investigation-led by Indonesian authorities with the cooperation of Boeing and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board-will determine what changes should happen to not only prevent the sensor failure from reoccurring, but hopefully also prevent such a failure from spiraling so horribly out of control even when it does happen.

The review came a day after a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta.

The airline said at the time that it had 61 "firm orders" for the planes. But the urgency of a fatal accident can trigger a flurry of such notices.

A description of the unsafe condition that results from erroneously high single AOA notes that when repeated nose-down trim commands of the horizontal stabilizer occur, it can result in nose-down trim.

Boeing's advisory said the plane experienced "erroneous input from one of its [angle of attack] sensors". In the early days of the jet age, the pitch trim system was linked to several accidents.

"Over the last 40 years, Boeing and Chinese partners have built deep relations in all industrial chains, including the research of new technologies, parts manufacturing as well as flight maintenance and modification", the statement said. That case didn't involve the angle-of-attack system. There were more than 180 people on board.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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