Crashed Lion Air Jet's History of Faults
Boeing Co. is preparing to send a safety warning to operators of its new 737 Max jets in response to the investigation of last week’s fatal crash off the coast of Indonesia that left 189 dead, said a person familiar with the matter.
The bulletin from Boeing will alert airlines that erroneous readings from a flight-monitoring system can cause the planes to abruptly dive, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing details of the manufacturer’s plans. Boeing will warn pilots to follow an existing procedure to handle the problem, the person said.
The warning is based on preliminary findings from the accident involving a Lion Air jetliner, the person said. Under some circumstances, such as when pilots are manually flying, the Max jets will automatically try to push down the nose if they detect that an aerodynamic stall is possible, the person said.
The Lion Air 737 Max 8 dove into the Java Sea on Oct. 29 minutes after takeoff, nosing downward so suddenly that it may have hit speeds of 600 miles an hour before slamming into the water. The pilots radioed a request to return to Jakarta to land, but never turned back toward the airport, according to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee and flight-track data. The committee said they were dealing with an erroneous airspeed indication.
Lion Air Jet’s Final Plunge May Have Reached 600 Miles Per Hour
Indonesia’s transport ministry has scheduled a briefing at 3 p.m. in Jakarta on Wednesday to share updated information on the Lion Air accident.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the airspeed issue had any connection with the angle-of-attack matter. A spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
In a statement Nov. 5, the Indonesian transportation-safety committee called on the U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board and Boeing “to take necessary steps to prevent similar incidents, especially on the Boeing 737 Max, which number 200 aircraft all over the world.” The committee, charged with finding the cause of the crash, is set to hold a briefing at 4 p.m. in Jakarta.