Boeing’s safety analyses under review after deadly Lion Air crash

Arturo Kim
November 15, 2018

Boeing Co. and US aviation regulators are weighing whether to issue a software fix for the 737 Max, the aircraft type involved in a deadly crash in Indonesia last month, to ensure that the plane won't dive aggressively without pilot commands.

The Journal also reported on Tuesday that when Boeing made a decision to install the flight-control feature, the company determined that it was fail-proof because it was impossible for the combination of sensor failure, pilot actions, and automated nose-down commands to cause any serious safety hazards.

The control feature - known as the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, or MCAS - is created to guard against a stall by automatically pushing down the plane's nose under potentially hazardous aerodynamic conditions. Investigators believe the system may have been triggered on inaccurate data transmitted or processed from sensors on the fuselage, causing the plane to nosedive into the water.

Few details have been released about the underlying causes of the Lion Air crash October 29 in the sea near Jakarta, but Indonesian investigators say that an erroneous sensor prompted the plane's computers to push the aircraft into a steep dive. Dennis original competition, spokesman for the American pilots ' Union, Allied Pilots Association (APA), told the Reuters news Agency: "We have not been informed by Boeing that there is this new function".

Operating procedures and training for the 737 MAX could also change as the FAA and Boeing learn more from the investigation, the regulator said in a statement.

The exact cause of the flight has so far not been determined but Indonesian investigators said the airspeed indicator for Lion Air flight 610 malfunctioned during its last four flights, including the fatal flight on October 29.

'It is something we did not have before in any of our training.

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"[Syari] said: 'We were supposed to do this together, there's supposed to be Rio here'".

It was Indonesia's worst aviation disaster since a Garuda Indonesia plane crashed in Medan in 1997, killing all 234 people on board.

A detailed report on the reasons behind the crash, and the technical problems of the Boeing 737 Max can be found here. American, the world's largest airline, has outstanding orders for 85 of the planes.

Crews are usually trained to deal with this kind of failure and Boeing "has drawn the airlines' attention to it", he explained.

Boeing said the operational bulletin pointed crews to "existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input" from the sensors involved in the Indonesia incident, the AOA sensors. The FAA on November 7 issued an emergency airworthiness directive ordering USA airlines to incorporate information about the feature in their pilot manuals.

"As we have previously said, we have issued an (airworthiness directive) and will continue to take appropriate action based on what we learn from the investigation".

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