Report faults Indonesian airline's safety measures in crash

29 November, 2018, 08:00 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee sub-committee head for air accidents Nurcahyo Utomo speaks during a news conference on its investigation into a Lion Air plane crash last month in Jakarta

The plane was intact with its engines running when it crashed, at more than 450 miles per hour (720 kph), into the Java Sea, Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, said at the time.

Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator for Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Commission, told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday that four of the crashed aircraft's previous flights had experienced technical problems, with two showing no such difficulties.

The preliminary report does not assign responsibility for the crash but confirms that it occurred after faulty measurements of airflow by instruments mounted on the wings...

Members of the National Transportation Safety Committee lift a box containing the flight data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet. It activates automatically in manual, flaps-up flight at high angles of attack and high load factors, adding nose-down stabilizer trim at a rate of 0.27 degrees per second to a maximum of 2.5 degrees.

Moss said that aircraft makers seek market advantage by convincing buyers that new generations of planes can be easily flown by existing pilots, without expensive new training.

After the crash, Lion Air instructed pilots to provide a "full comprehensive description" of technical defects to the engineering team, the KNKT said.

'Too Early'Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator at KNKT, said on Wednesday that it was too early to say whether issues with an updated Boeing 737 anti-stall system contributed to the crash.

The new 737 MAX 8 faced struggles immediately during takeoff from Jakarta on October 28 that may have overwhelmed the pilots, according to black box data revealed in the Indonesia National Transportation Safety Commission's report.

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The Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea was "no longer airworthy", Indonesian officials said.

Before the final dive, the flight crew asked the controller to "block altitude 3,000 feet above and below" to avoid traffic.

The pilots made attempts to regain control of the aircraft, but investigators said they did not hit two cutoff switches that would have deactivated the automated system - as was done by pilots on the plane's previous flight.

The Oct. 29 struggle against the automatic system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, was unsuccessful. Shortly after the Lion Air crash, the FAA published an emergency AD (PDF) detailing potential fault indications in the AoA, airspeed and control feel systems used on the 737 MAX. It also pointed to maintenance work and procedures that had failed to fix the aircraft's repeated problems.

That end came after a battle between its flight crew and a computerized control system that repeatedly tilted the plane downward because of a malfunctioning sensor, according to the report.

Data showed the 737's pilots managed to pull the jet's nose back a total of 26 times from takeoff until its plummet into the sea in what Lemme has called a "deadly game of tag".

Lemme said he was troubled that there weren't easy checks to see if sensor information was correct, that the crew of the fatal flight apparently wasn't warned about the problems on previous flights and that the Lion Air jet wasn't fully repaired after those flights. Because the MAX aircraft have heavier engines, the center of gravity is biased more forward than on previous models and MCAS is meant to improve pitch feel and provide stall protection. "Every accident is a combination of events, so there is disappointment all around here". The airliner was just a few months old.

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

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