Boeing cites airline error in Indonesian crash

Reports: Readings show Lion Air pilots struggled with Boeing 737 system before crash

Pilots experienced several problems with the aircraft in the days leading up to the October 29 crash, investigators said - including a faulty airspeed sensor, altitude indicators and angle-of-attack sensors that should have grounded the plane.

The findings by the National Transport Safety Committee (KNKT) suggest that Lion Air put the plane back into service despite it having had problems on earlier flights.

KNKT investigator Nurcahyo Utomo on Wednesday said the safety committee had not yet determined if the system was a contributing factor.

"That didn't cause the crash, but it can cause other problems in the environment they're working in". Earlier this month, pilots at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines complained that they had not been given all information about the new automated anti-stall safety system on the MAX.

The report stopped short of making any recommendations to Boeing but the U.S. planemaker has come under fire for possible glitches on the 737 MAX - which entered service just previous year.

Boeing said existing runaway trim procedures-essentially using the stabilizer trim cutouts-could address these problems.

The pilots of that flight reported problems to Lion Air's maintenance team, which checked the jet and cleared it for take-off on the doomed flight the next morning.

The data also shows that the aircraft automatically tried to push the plane of the nose down, then the flight crew tried to push the nose back up.

It is unclear why the pilots did not employ procedures to disable the automated system.

"In our opinion, the plane was no longer airworthy and it should not have continued", he told reporters.

Lion Air must take steps "to improve the safety culture and to enable the pilot to make [a] proper decision to continue the flight", said the safety agency.




When the sensors transmitted faulty data to the cockpit of Flight 610, the new MCAS system sensed a stall - that point at which a plane is so vertical that it is in danger of falling from the sky - and sought to correct for it by repeatedly pointing the nose of the aircraft down. Before crashing, the pilot asked to return to the airport, but couldn't.

The preliminary report details what is known by authorities about the short time the plane was in the air, but investigators said it did not give a definitive cause for the accident.

Investigators have not located the jet's cockpit voice recorder, which could provide insight into the pilots' last actions.

The parents of one passenger is suing Boeing, alleging the 737 MAX 8 had an unsafe design.

Records on the replacement of a key component, an angle-of-attack, or AOA sensor, shortly before the aircraft's final flight were incomplete, the report said. They each have flaps - called elevators - that help to control the elevation the plane.

The plane experienced technical problems in four earlier flights.

Boeing's statement did not make any reference to a revised anti-stall system introduced on the 737 MAX which USA pilots and Indonesian investigators say was missing from the operating manual.

"When it comes to faulting, I don't know, our job isn't to find faults", National Transportation Safety Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said at a news conference Wednesday.

Overall, Indonesia's aviation safety record has improved a lot since the days when even its national carrier Garuda was blacklisted from European and United States airports over safety concerns.

The Indonesian investigation is continuing with help from US regulators and Boeing.

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