Friday, 22 March, 2019


Doomed Lion Air jet's airspeed indicator failed on last four flights

Rusdi Kirana Rusdi Kirana
Bennie Garza | 08 November, 2018, 05:17

Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Transport Safety Committee, told media that that airspeed indicator malfunctions on the jet's last four flights, and that this issue was intertwined with the AOA sensor issue. That sensor is meant to maintain airflow over a plane's wings but if it malfunctions can lead to an aerodynamic stall - which can cause aircraft to abruptly dive.

The Lion Air flight with 189 people on board crashed into the sea moments after taking off from Indonesia's capital on October 29, marking the first crash involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft.

Indonesian accident investigators said on Monday that an airspeed indicator on the crashed jet was damaged for its last four flights, but USA authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks. "NTSC wants to explore this", he said.

The damage to the device, which tells pilots how fast their planes are travelling, was revealed after the recovery of a "black box" recorder. "We will leave the investigation of the accident to KNKT", he said, referring to the Indonesian transportation safety committee.

The newspaper said the findings suggest investigators could be looking at a software problem or a mistaken interpretation by flight crew as having played key roles in the Lion Air crash.

Boeing, based in Chicago, is preparing to issue a safety bulletin to companies operating its new 737 MAX airliners, the model involved in the recent deadly crash in Indonesia, as Bloomberg reports, citing its sources. In 2015, a wasp nest plugged the sensors on an Allegiant Air jet leaving St. Petersburg, Florida, forcing pilots to cut the flight short and land in Orlando.

Rescuers inspect part of the landing gears of the crashed Lion Air jet they retrieved from the sea floor in the waters of Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia, Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018.

The crash caused its left wing to tear, as well as flight delays involving airlines such as Batik Air, according to Channel News Asia.

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

The KNKT added that the FDR's recordings were 69 hours from 19 flights and the last date of recording was from the date of the crash and corresponded with public data available on flight-tracking websites.

Boeing, the manufacturer of the 737 MAX 8, and United States aviation investigators at the NTSB have been working with Indonesian experts on the analysis of the flight data recorder in Indonesia. Officials from the navy, search and rescue agency and Lion Air threw wreaths into the sea.

Bambang Sukandar, the father of one of the victims, asked, "Lion Air said the problem was fixed, is it true the problem was cleared?"

There are audio signals and physical warnings that can alert the pilot to malfunctioning equipment or other dangers, said Todd Curtis, director of the Airsafe.com Foundation.

The Boeing 737 MAX has three such blade-shaped sensors.

The warning prompted the US Federal Aviation Administration to issue its own emergency airworthiness directive, telling airlines with Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to follow correct procedures if pilots receive erroneous information from an AOA sensor.

The Lion Air crash was the first involving the type of plane, which airlines introduced into service a year ago.

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