Boeing withheld information on plane that crashed in Indonesia

A Boeing 737 MAX sits outside the hangar during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton Washington

The family of a victim of the Lion Air crash has started legal action against Boeing, after pilots and airlines said the manufacturer had not made them aware of new features in its 737 Max-8 aircraft that could be linked to the disaster.

"It is particularly surprising to hear from safety experts and the heads of pilots unions that Boeing failed to warn its customers and the pilots of its new 737 MAX aircraft about this significant change in the flight-control systems and failed to include appropriate instructions in its instruction manuals", said Austin Bartlett, one of the lawyers representing Pratama's parents.

The FAA and Boeing are studying the need for software changes, as well as revisions to training and operating procedures on the 737 MAX, the regulator said.

It is the latest headache for Boeing, which has faced mounting pressure in the wake of the crash.

"We value our partnership with Boeing, but were unaware of some of the functionality of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System installed on the MAX 8", an American Airlines spokesman said in a statement.


The 737-MAX in question had only begun service for budget carrier Lion Air in August. "That's why we don't have the special training for that specific situation", Zwingli said.

The anomalies were allegedly prompted by glitch in the plane's air stream censor of Angle of Attack (AOA) that led the system to push the nose down, which eventually could not be controlled by the pilots.

This news comes after the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Boeing withheld information about the potential dangers related to the new flight-control feature. On Thursday, American Airlines backed up their pilots' claims.

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Dennis Tajer, a pilot for American Airlines, which flies the new 737 Max 8 plane and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the pilot's union at American Airlines. Investigators can not say yet if that's what caused the crash, but Boeing immediately issued a safety bulletin about how to regain control if such a unsafe event occurs.

Pilots on the Lion Air flight were receiving erroneous speed readings, a problem that had occurred on three previous flights, according to the Indonesia National Transportation Safety Committee. "The bulletin is not reaffirming, it's enlightening and adding new info". "As of now, we can only guide our pilots on things that are not related to MCAS, because Boeing manual has not told us how to deal with this", he said. The fault was discovered after analysing the flight data recorder (FDR) of the plane which plunged into the Java Sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta on October 29 with 189 people on board.

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