Boeing to issue safety warning to pilots for 737 Max jets

Eileen GuzmanNov 09, 2018

But Boeing said in its statement Wednesday that it was directing airlines to "existing" flight crew procedures to address angle of attack sensor problems.

The US Federal Aviation Administration issued an "emergency airworthiness directive" warning that problems with the angle-of-attack sensor, which prevents the plane from stalling and diving, could cause pilots problems in controlling the aircraft and lead to "excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with the terrain".

The problem is centered around the 737 MAX's Angle of Attack sensor which may "tell" the pilots and the plane's computers that it's about to stall (aerodynamic) and put the 737 into a dive.

Lion Air said in a statement: "The Boeing 737-900ER registered PK-LGY which was due to take off at 18.20 from Bengkulu, the departure was cancelled".

A US aviation regulator plans to mandate that airlines follow an advisory issued by Boeing Co.

Airline safety experts said pilots are trained to handle a plane safely even if those crucial sensors fail.

Boeing has issued a bulletin to companies that operate its 737 Max planes a week after one crashed into Indonesia's Java Sea and left 189 people dead.

There are also procedures for pilots to follow in the event of missing data from damaged sensors on the fuselage skin, but it remains unclear how much time the crew of Flight JT610 had to respond because they were only a few thousand feet in the air. It is believed the plane plunged at over 600mph, but the cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Transport safety committee chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono said airspeed indicator malfunctions on the jet's last four flights, which were revealed by an analysis of the flight data recorder, were intertwined with the sensor issue.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and global destinations.

It seems patently obvious to say that such situations shouldn't happen in this day and age-and clearly the investigation is still in its earliest stage-but it is troubling to see something so deadly transpire in the most modern aircraft in the Boeing fleet.

"A "ping" has been detected from the second black box but the signal was very weak, possibly because it was encased in mud", said Nurcahyo Utomo, an air accident official at the transportation safety committee (KNKT).

Indonesia's search and rescue agency extended the search effort on Wednesday for a second time, saying it would continue until Sunday.

Meanwhile, the search operation to recover the passengers, crew and the airplane's cockpit voice recorder is ongoing.

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