Lion Air jet’s air­speed in­di­ca­tor mal­func­tioned on 4 flights

Daily Southtown - - NATION & WORLD - By Niniek Karmini

JAKARTA, In­done­sia — The “black box” data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet shows its air­speed in­di­ca­tor mal­func­tioned on its last four flights, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said Mon­day, just hours after dis­traught rel­a­tives of vic­tims con­fronted the air­line’s co-founder at a meet­ing or­ga­nized by of­fi­cials.

Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Com­mit­tee chair­man So­er­janto Tjahjono said the prob­lem was sim­i­lar on each of the four flights, in­clud­ing the fa­tal flight on Oct. 29 in which the plane plunged into the Java Sea min­utes after tak­ing off from Jakarta, killing all 189 peo­ple on board.

Er­ratic speed and al­ti­tude on the plane’s pre­vi­ous flight, from Den­pasar on Bali to Jakarta, were widely re­ported and “when we opened the black box, yes in­deed the tech­ni­cal prob­lem was the air­speed or the speed of the plane,” Tjahjono told a news con­fer­ence. “Data from the black box showed that two flights be­fore Den­pasar-Jakarta also ex­pe­ri­enced the same prob­lem,” he said. “In the black box there were four flights that ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems with the air­speed in­di­ca­tor.”

In­done­sian in­ves­ti­ga­tors, the plane’s man­u­fac­turer, Boe­ing, and the U.S. Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board are for­mu­lat­ing a more spe­cific in­spec­tion for Boe­ing 737 MAX 8 planes re­lated to the air­speed prob­lem, Tjahjono said.

“If there are ur­gent find­ings to be de­liv­ered, we will con­vey them to the op­er­a­tors and to the man­u­fac­turer,” he said.

Lion Air has said a tech­ni­cal prob­lem with the jet was fixed after prob­lems with the Bali to Jakarta flight.

In­ves­ti­ga­tor Nurc­ahyo Utomo said in­ves­ti­ga­tors need to re­view main­te­nance records, in­clud­ing what prob­lems were re­ported, what re­pairs were done in­clud­ing whether com­po­nents were re­placed, and how the re­pairs were tested be­fore the 2-mon­thold plane was de­clared air­wor­thy.

“Cur­rently we are look­ing for the cause of prob­lem,” he said “Whether the trou­ble came from its in­di­ca­tor, its mea­sur­ing de­vice or sen­sor, or a prob­lem with its com­puter. This is what we do not know yet and we will find it out,” he said.

At the meet­ing with fam­ily mem­bers, Tjahjono had said that in­for­ma­tion down­loaded from the jet’s flight data recorder was con­sis­tent with re­ports that the plane’s speed and al­ti­tude were er­ratic after take­off on its fi­nal flight.

Searchers are still try­ing to lo­cate the cock­pit voice recorder.

Rusdi Ki­rana, Lion Air’s co-founder, was not in­vited to speak by Trans­port Min­is­ter Budi Karya Su­madi, who mod­er­ated the meet­ing be­tween rel­a­tives and the of­fi­cials who are over­see­ing the search ef­fort and ac­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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