Boeing issues advice over sensors after Indonesia crash

Boeing 737/8 of Lion Air at Singapore Changi-SIN,13/10/14

The sensor had malfunctioned on four previous flights of the Lion Air aircraft and was replaced the day before the October 29 crash, according to Indonesian aviation officials.

Signs appear to point to an instrument failure in the brand-new Boeing 737 Max, specifically the angle-of-attack sensor, which is critical to determining the amount of lift generated by the wings.

All 189 people on board were killed and the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee has said that flight recorder data has so far revealed the plane's air speed indicator had not been working properly on its last four journeys, including on the fatal flight.

This comes in the wake of a new Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashing into the sea not long after leaving Jakarta, Indonesia, and killing all 189 passengers on board. If the flow is disrupted by a plane going too slow or climbing too steeply, that can cause an aerodynamic stall and a plane will plummet. However, in rare instances, accidents have been caused by what investigators call a "startle factor".

It turns out that the AOA sensor was replaced the day before the 737 crashed and possibly worsened the other airspeed indicator problems investigators suggest. The "angle of attack" is the angle of the airplane or its wings compared with oncoming air or wind.

There are also procedures for pilots to follow in the event of missing data from damaged sensors on the fuselage skin, but it remains unclear how much time the crew of Flight JT610 had to respond because they were only a few thousand feet in the air.

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Some modern aircraft have systems created to correct the posture of the wings automatically to keep flying safely.

The plane was said to be leaving the terminal and taxiing around 6.30 pm on Wednesday, November 7, readying for takeoff to Jakarta, when it hit the lamp post, reported the Australian.

Both Boeing and the FAA are continuing to assist Indonesian officials in investigating the accident. Aviation systems must account for possibility of misinterpretations of situations and foggy memories of procedures outlined in the manuals that come with these huge, complicated, and incredibly sensitive vehicles.

"There are some things that we ask for explanation and some that we ask to be removed, and there has been an agreement between the NTSC and Boeing to release a new procedure to all Boeing 737 MAX users in the world", he said.

"Any action that the FAA would take regarding that incident would have to wait until we have findings", agency acting Administrator Daniel Elwell said Monday after a speaking engagement in Washington. In addition, a system known as elevator trim can be changed to prompt nose-up or nose-down movement. Once that happens, it may try to right itself by pushing the nose down, reports the Straight Times.

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