Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Indonesia crash

Blanche Robertson
November 8, 2018

The Lion Air 737 Max 8 speared into the coastal waters off Java on October 29, just 13 minutes after takeoff.

Boeing's bulletin was the first indication that an error with the aircraft's systems may have caused problems for the Lion Air flight, which took off from Jakarta.

A spokesperson for the airline said in a statement that they had received a letter of apology from the airport's air traffic controller.

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

The probe into what happened with the Lion Air plane "is ongoing and Boeing continues to cooperate fully and provide technical assistance at the request and under the direction of government authorities investigating the accident", the company said in its statement.

Under the subject heading, the Boeing bulletin says: "Uncommanded Nose Down Stabilizer Trim Due to Erroneous Angle of Attack (AOA) During Manual Flight Only".

"If the nose is trimmed down on an aircraft, it becomes hard for the crew to hold it", said a person briefed on Boeing's bulletin, SeattleTimes reported.

Based on the preliminary data recovered from the wreckage of PK-LQP (msn 43000), the DJPU said that the aircraft's airspeed indicator malfunctioned during four flights prior to the doomed flight JT610 from Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta to Pangkalpinang.

Airplane manufacturer Boeing on Wednesday issued a bulletin to airlines worldwide warning of erroneous readings from flight-control software on its planes, after a Lion Air jetliner crashed into the sea soon after takeoff, killing the 189 people on board.

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

"The point is that after the AOA [sensor] is replaced the problem is not solved, but the problem might even increase. NTSC wants to explore this", he said.

"This is a tragedy, but (the safety bulletin) says absolutely nothing about the design of the plane and its major subsystems", TEAL Group aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia told Business Insider.

Boeing will caution its customers of "erroneous readings" from a flight-monitoring system can cause the planes to abruptly dive, Bloomberg quoted an anonymous source as saying.

According to The Seattle Times' aerospace reporter, if the AoA sensor falsely indicates that the plane's nose is too high, the automatic system response is to "trim" the plane's horizontal tail to begin putting the nose down.

Indonesian officials said on Wednesday they would extend the search by three days.

Divers have recovered one of the two "black boxes" - the flight data recorder - but are still searching for the cockpit voice recorder, in the hope it will shed more light on the cause of the disaster.

A Boeing spokesman said an investigation into the deadly crash revealed the faulty sensor.

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