Boeing Tumbles as Bad News Multiplies for Cash Cow 737 Max

Governance       Boeing didn’t warn of 737 feature tied to deadly crash US pilots say
       
       	        Alan Levin and Mary Schlangenstein         13 November 2018

"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, reiterating previous comments about the October 29 crash.

Boeing Co. and US aviation regulators are weighing whether to issue a software fix for the 737 Max, the aircraft type involved in a deadly crash in Indonesia last month, to ensure that the plane won't dive aggressively without pilot commands.

Even though this problem was - according to investigators - not covered in the operating manual, pilots did have access to a checklist created to turn off errant systems when the plane started nosing downwards at the wrong time, said Soejono, a Lion Air instructor who like many Indonesians goes by one name. The pilots were attempting to deal with several malfunctions when the crash occurred, the investigators said.

Boeing has delivered versions of the new plane to numerous largest airlines, including American and Southwest, according to the company's website.

Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said pilots were not made aware of the issue until last week when Boeing sent out an advisory over the issue.

Experts say investigators will be examining whether the crew examined this checklist and if so whether they had time to cut off the automated nose-down system while flying at a relatively low altitude of 5,000 feet. The FAA ordered airlines to add an explanation into flight manuals.

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. Boeing shipped just 43 last month. The FAA followed up the next day with an emergency airworthiness directive covering the same ground.


A stall is a risky situation where the lift from an aircraft's wings no longer is enough to counter the weight of the plane, causing it to lose control and fall. 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.

Boeing and regulators have underscored the steps pilot can take to disable the pitch-trim system, as it's known, in bulletins to 737 Max operators over the past week.

John Cox, a former 737 pilot and now a safety consultant to airlines, said Boeing's steps since the crash "have been exactly correct".

Indonesian authorities confirmed last Wednesday that the angle of attack (AOA) sensor was replaced after a flight from Manado, in North Sulawesi, to Denpasar, Bali, on October 28.

Indonesian transportation officials have said repeatedly that the Max 8 manual being used in the country did not contain crucial information about the new anti-stall mechanism.

Air New Zealand has been hit with aircraft shortages due to Dreamliner engine problems but so far the LAX accident has not affected the rest of its network. The FAA on November 7 issued an emergency airworthiness directive ordering USA airlines to incorporate information about the feature in their pilot manuals.

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