Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Indonesia crash

Charlene Craig
November 9, 2018

A crucial sensor was swapped on a Lion Air jet just one day before it plunged into the sea, killing all 189 people on board.

Indonesian low-priced carrier Lion Air needs to think of a new slogan for "we make people fly" is not what they are doing.

Images distributed on social media showed passengers on the runway observing the broken part of the plane.

The directive gives regulatory weight to Boeing's safety bulletin that it sent to operators of Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 planes based on findings from the ongoing Indonesian investigation into the October 29 crash of a Lion Air jet.

"We are issuing this AD (airworthiness directive) because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design".

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The pilot had requested to return to the airport, before connection was lost.

The FAA directive applies to about 250 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft operating worldwide.

One of the puzzling things about the accident is that the plane was flying in clear skies during daylight, so pilots should have been able to handle the issues they faced with airspeed and erroneous sensors, Cox said.

However, it's unclear whether the warning is being issued because investigators have conclusively determined that a flight-monitoring system error was the cause of the crash.

"Lion Air apologises to all passengers for any inconvenience... it has sent a team to inspect the aircraft", the spokesman said.

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Airlines using the 737 MAX include the Singapore Airlines offshoot SilkAir, Garuda Indonesia and Canada's WestJet, but none had received a bulletin from Boeing.

"But it is quite straightforward and we train for this all the time", the captain said.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 had its first flight in January 2016.

However, Bloomberg wrote that the pilots in the Lion Air crash reported an "erroneous airspeed indication" after taking off from Jakarta airport and before they slammed into the water at around 966km per hour, according to Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee. Chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said the airspeed indicator and sensor problems are related.

Boeing said it is cooperating fully and providing technical assistance as the investigation continues. Boeing has more than 4,500 orders for the airliners, which feature larger engines, more aerodynamic wings and an upgraded cockpit with larger glass displays.

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A search for the cockpit voice recorder, the second so-called black box, remains underway.

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