Lion Air crash: Boeing’s safety alert to pilots raises more questions

Lion Air crash: Boeing’s safety alert to pilots raises more questions

Lion Air crash: Boeing’s safety alert to pilots raises more questions

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 plane is the latest generation of Boeing's workhorse narrowbody aircraft, with more than 200 delivered since it entered service a year ago and a total of 4,700 orders placed by airlines around the world.

Boeing Co said in a statement that it had alerted pilots to the issue.

Boeing said the "angle of attack" sensor, which identifies if a plane is about to stall, was faulty on the doomed flight.

A Lion Air 737 Max 8 carrying 189 people dove into the Java Sea at high speed on Oct 29 minutes after takeoff.

While the ultimate cause of the crash is still under investigation, Boeing has previously provided guidance on how pilots should deal with extreme nose down incidents. A spokesman for the Chicago-based planemaker couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Attempts to fix the issues were unsuccessful, NTSC chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono has said, with the pilots of the 737's second-to-last flight experiencing conflicting information despite an AOA sensor being replaced.

Authorities are yet to recover the jet's cockpit voice recorder from the sea floor, just northeast of Jakarta, where the plane crashed 13 minutes into its flight.

An aerodynamic stall is when the wings of an aircraft can't produce enough lift and the plane starts to dive.

United Technologies Corp. supplies the angle-of-attack sensors and indicator for the 737 Max, according to Airframers.net.

"I'm still of the opinion that losing airspeed on the airplane shouldn't result in losing the airplane", Cox said.

"We are formulating, with NTSB and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator", he said, referring to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

Experts have been puzzled about what could have caused the jet to go down in clear skies, unlike other major airplane disasters in which weather or older jets were major factors.

But he stood and bowed his head after angry and distraught family members demanded that Kirana - who with his brother Kusnan Kirana founded Lion Air in 1999 - identify himself.

"If you were driving down the interstate and the speedometer failed, would you expect to crash the vehicle?" said John Cox, a former airline pilot and now a safety consultant.

Black box data recovered from the crashed Lion Air jet showed the plane had an airspeed indicator problem on its four flights.

The head of Indonesia's Search and Rescue Agency said Sunday that after initially hearing a "ping" from the CVR on Saturday, divers could no longer hear a signal from the device, according to CNN.

The investigation is now focused on flight data from one of the black boxes, found last week. The aircraft's erratic behaviour during its final flight, and reports of an issue during a previous journey, had already prompted speculation that this could have been an issue.

Alan Diehl, a pilot and safety consultant, said the report that the same problem happened four times and was never fixed suggests that the problem may have been intermittent, making it harder to pin down.

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