Sunday, 16 December, 2018

New questions over Boeing 737 model that crashed in Indonesia

Governance       Boeing didn’t warn of 737 feature tied to deadly crash US pilots say
       	        Alan Levin and Mary Schlangenstein         13 November 2018 Governance Boeing didn’t warn of 737 feature tied to deadly crash US pilots say Alan Levin and Mary Schlangenstein 13 November 2018
Nellie Chapman | 14 November, 2018, 08:06

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration issued directives last week telling flight crews about the system, which is created to provide extra protection against pilots losing control.

"We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this incident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved", the company said in a statement by email.

Boeing allegedly failed to warn pilots about the potential dangers associated with a new flight-control feature that is suspected of playing a role in the Lion Air crash which plunged the jet into the Jakarta Sea shortly after takeoff, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Boeing sells the single-aisle Boeing 737 aircraft in two versions, the classic Boeing 737 NG and the new generation Boeing 737 MAX.

"We don't like that we weren't notified", said Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.

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.

The pilot of Flight 610 had more than 6,000 flying hours while the co-pilot had more than 5,000 hours, according to the airline.

A search for the jet's missing cockpit voice recorder is continuing and could provide important information about human factors relating to the crash, Soerjanto said. The FAA followed up the next day with an emergency airworthiness directive covering the same ground.

Last week, Boeing released a statement acknowledging that Indonesian officials had told the aircraft manufacturer about repeated errant data readings experienced by the plane. At three different airports, Lion Air maintenance crews tried to fix various problems concerning erroneous airspeed and other data, declaring the plane fit to fly. Lion Air was one of Boeing's primary foreign customers for the MAX, which is also flown by Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Air Canada.

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which was added to the Max to make it less likely that pilots point the plane's nose so high that the wings lose lift, takes data from sensors and in limited circumstances commands a dive. Which is what is supposed to have happened with Lion Air B737MAX.

"At the present time, we have found no instances of AOA anomalies with our 737 Max 8 aircraft", the APA bulletin said, referring to angle of attack as AOA. As a result, Boeing chose not to include a description of it in the extensive manuals it prepared for the Max models, said the memo.

The failure of an air safety system is exceedingly rare but not unheard of for new aircraft.

In a parallel move, the newspaper quoted an unnamed high-profile Boeing representative as saying that the company had made a decision to leave out some details about the new models of aircraft so as to not feed pilots with excessive information.