Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Boeing to issue safety warning to pilots for 737 Max jets

Boeing to issue safety warning to pilots for 737 Max jets: Report Lion Air Investigation Continues
Patty Aguilar | 08 November, 2018, 20:19

Minutes after takeoff on October 29, a Boeing 737 Max belonging to the budget Indonesian carrier Lion Air dove into the Java Sea at more than 600 miles an hour, shattering into pieces and killing all 189 passengers and crew.

The Boeing 737 MAX has three such sensors but erroneous readings could cause it to point the nose down sharply in order to keep air under the wings and avoid a stall, according to a person briefed on the matter.

"The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee has indicated that Lion Air flight 610 experienced erroneous input from one of its AOA (Angle of Attack) sensors", said a statement released by Boeing on Wednesday.

There are a total of 49 Boeing 737 Max planes in service across the USA, including 26 737 Max 8 planes in service at Southwest Airlines, 16 at American Airlines and seven Max 9 planes at United Airlines.

Boeing issues an operational update for 737.

The problem with the planes is in the "angle of attack" sensor which calculates the position of the plane relative to the air current.

A preliminary report on the cause of the accident is expected at the end of the month. However, the Times noted, there has been no evidence of widespread problems with airspeed indicators in the Max 8 fleet.

Pilots are trained to disengage the angle-of-attack sensors from the plane's computers when they get false readings.

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Safety investigators said the plane may have hit speeds of 600 miles per hour before hitting the water. If it proves true that the AoA sensor was indeed at fault, the investigation will reveal much about what the pilots knew and suspected when confronted with the situation, what their training was like, and what their responses to the incident not only were, but also should have been.

While modern jetliners primarily operate on autopilot, the computerized system can disengage when airspeed indicators malfunction, forcing pilots to manually fly the aircraft.

Boeing is still investigating why the sensor malfunctioned but in the meantime, pilots are being warned to take extra safety precautions when flying those models.

"The bulletin reinforces existing procedures which all Air Canada crews are now trained on", Fitzpatrick said.

"Boeing has now introduced two aircraft that have had significant problems", said Henry Harteveldt, an analyst with the consultancy Atmosphere Research Group.

And in this case the procedure for dealing with the problem it is what is called a "memory item" - pilot's commit them to memory.

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 (C-FSJH) single-aisle narrow-body jet airliner airborne on short final approach for landing at Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, B.C. on Wednesday, August 29, 2018. "What will have to be found is, is Boeing pushing itself too hard?" The aircraft system that handles the nose up and down movement (called stabilizer trim system) will put the nose down in response to the erroneous AOA sensor.

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