Boe­ing is­sues ad­vice over sen­sors after In­done­sia crash

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

JAKARTA: Boe­ing is­sued a spe­cial bul­letin on Wed­nes­day ad­dress­ing a sen­sor prob­lem flagged by In­done­sian safety of­fi­cials in­ves­ti­gat­ing the crash of a Lion Air 737 that killed 189 peo­ple last week.

The plane­maker said lo­cal avi­a­tion of­fi­cials be­lieved pi­lots may have been given wrong in­for­ma­tion by the plane’s au­to­mated sys­tems be­fore the fa­tal crash.

“The In­done­sian Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Com­mit­tee has in­di­cated that Lion Air flight 610 ex­pe­ri­enced er­ro­neous in­put from one of its AOA (An­gle of At­tack) sen­sors,” Boe­ing said.

“Boe­ing is­sued an Op­er­a­tions Man­ual Bul­letin (OMB) di­rect­ing op­er­a­tors to ex­ist­ing flight crew pro­ce­dures to ad­dress cir­cum­stances where there is er­ro­neous in­put from an AOA sen­sor.”

An AOA sen­sor pro­vides data about the an­gle at which wind is pass­ing over the wings and tells pi­lots how much lift a plane is get­ting. The in­for­ma­tion can be crit­i­cal in pre­vent­ing the plane from stalling. Lion Air JT610 plunged into the Java Sea less than half an hour after tak­ing off from Jakarta on a rou­tine flight to Pangkal Pi­nang city. There were no sur­vivors.

The doomed jet was a Boe­ing 737-Max 8, one of the world’s new­est and most ad­vanced com­mer­cial pas­sen­ger planes, and there is still no an­swer as to what caused the crash. A pre­lim­i­nary re­port is ex­pected at the end of the month.

In­done­sian in­ves­ti­ga­tors said that the plane had ex­pe­ri­enced in­stru­ment fail­ures on four flights, in­clud­ing on one jour­ney where both the AOA sen­sor and the air­speed in­di­ca­tor were af­fected. So­er­janto Tjahjono, head of In­done­sia’s Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Com­mit­tee told re­porters that after one flight from Bali to Jakarta — the last flight be­fore the crash — the left and right AOA sen­sors were found to dis­agree by 20 de­grees.

He said the pi­lot had landed the plane safely on that oc­ca­sion.

“The pi­lot’s suc­cess be­came our ref­er­ence to give a rec­om­men­da­tion to Boe­ing so they could is­sue an ad­vice for other air­lines to fol­low the same pro­ce­dures if the same sit­u­a­tion oc­curs,” So­er­janto said.

He added that the bro­ken sen­sor from the Bali-Jakarta flight would be sent to the man­u­fac­turer in Chicago for fur­ther ex­am­i­na­tion.“We also plan to con­duct a flight re­con­struc­tion to see the im­pact of the AOA sen­sor dam­age in the engineering sim­u­la­tor at the Boe­ing fa­cil­ity in Seat­tle.”

44 vic­tims iden­ti­fied

Search teams comb­ing the wreck­age of JT610 have filled 186 body bags with re­mains, but only 44 vic­tims have been iden­ti­fied so far. In­done­sian of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day they would ex­tend the search by three days.

Divers have re­cov­ered one of the two “black boxes” — the flight data recorder — but are still look­ing for the cock­pit voice recorder, in the hope that it will shed more light on the cause of the ac­ci­dent.

The ac­ci­dent has res­ur­rected con­cerns about In­done­sia’s poor air safety record, which un­til re­cently saw its car­ri­ers fac­ing years-long bans from en­ter­ing Euro­pean Union and US airspace.

-Reuters file photo

DE­BRIS: An In­done­sian res­cue team mem­ber hold­ing de­bris of crashed Lion Air flight JT610 at Tan­jung Priok port in Jakarta.

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