Did faulty sensor cause Indonesia air crash?

Did faulty sensor cause Indonesia air crash?

Boeing said its bulletin, sent to airlines on Tuesday, reiterates guidelines on how pilots should respond to erroneous data from an "angle of attack" sensor following the Oct 29 crash that killed 189 people.

Data from the black box of the Lion Air 737 Max that fell into the sea with 189 people onboard has confirmed there was an issue with the plane's airspeed indicator.

Even if an angle of attack sensor on a jet is faulty, there's generally a backup system in place for the critical component, and pilots are trained to handle a plane safely if those sensors fail, airline safety experts said.

Indonesian investigators said Wednesday that an AOA sensor on the jet was replaced the day before the doomed flight, on October 28, when a pilot flying the same aircraft on a different route, from Bali to Jakarta, reported problems with it.

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.

Anugrah Satria, one of the passengers on the flight from Denpasar to Jakarta on the night before the crash, said that it was obvious that the plane was experiencing some problems as the flight kept getting delayed. A spokesman for the Chicago-based planemaker couldn't immediately be reached for comment. Boeing has more than 4,500 unfilled orders for the 737 Max on its books.

Bambang Sukandar, whose son was on the flight, said: "Lion Air said the problem was fixed, is it true the problem was cleared?"

Such bulletins are routinely issued by aircraft and engine manufacturers, particularly in the wake of major events, and this one does little except to remind crews that the procedures for addressing this situation already exist.

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said today the airspeed indicator was damaged for the last four flights of the Boeing Co. If the angle is too extreme it can cause the wings to lose lift and the aircraft to stall.

A week after the disaster, there is still no answer as to what caused the crash.

The angle of attack readings are fed into a computer that in some cases will attempt to push down the nose using the elevator trim system. The committee said the pilots were dealing with an erroneous airspeed indication.

While search teams scouring the waters managed to bring up the flight data recorder, a separate recorder that captures cockpit conversations and background noise is still buried in the seabed where the plane plunged. "This is what we do not know yet and we will find it out, ' he said".

Earlier this week, the Indonesian authorities extended by three days search and rescue operations in search for the victims and the second black box of the jet.

At one stage during the conference, relatives urged Lion Air founder Rusdi Kirana, who was in the audience, to stand up. An issue arose in 2016 at Rostov-on-Don Airport in Russia when a FlyDubai 737-800 nosed over and slammed into the runway at a steep angle, according to an interim report by Russian investigators. Once that happens, it may try to right itself by pushing the nose down, reports the Straight Times.

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