Lion Air Jet Was 'Not Airworthy' on Flight Before Crash

Lion Air Jet Was 'Not Airworthy' on Flight Before Crash

Lion Air Jet Was 'Not Airworthy' on Flight Before Crash

The data supported the theory that a computerized system Boeing installed on its latest generation of 737 to prevent the plane's nose from getting too high and causing a stall, instead forced the nose down because of incorrect information from sensors.

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 pilot of a doomed Lion Air flight "fought continuously" against malfunctioning computers that were trying to force the plane's nose down before it crashed off Indonesia killing all 189 people on board, according to a preliminary report. In fact, before the penultimate flight, engineers had replaced one of the angle-of-attack sensors.

"In our opinion, the pilot should not have flown the aircraft in its condition", investigator Nurchahyo Utomo said.

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

The report said erroneous AOA data affected measurements of speed and altitude, contributing 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.

However, Lion Air's safety record does come into question in the 78-page report, which says the plane was not airworthy.

They repeatedly told air traffic control they had a flight control problem.


Pilots flying the same plane a day earlier had experienced a similar problem until they used switches to shut off the system, KNKT said in its statement today.

Concerns have been raised by news that Lion Air kept putting the plane back into service despite repeatedly failing to fix the problem in the days leading up to the fatal flight.

But each time, the problem was indicated as rectified and the plane cleared to fly, Mr Nurcahyo said at a press conference on the committee's preliminary report on the doomed flight. The computer system that failed, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, sought to make the 737 MAX operate as similarly as possible to the older 737s, despite having larger engines placed farther forward on the wings.

The preliminary report did not assign blame, but did list new safety recommendations to Lion Air - "on top of earlier recommendations about the flight manual that have already been implemented by Boeing", Reuters reports.

The plane that crashed is the newest type of Boeing's popular 737 jetliner.

In a statement, Boeing said it's taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of the accident and continues to maintain that the 737 MAX 8 is a safe aircraft.

The Lion Air crash is the world's first involving the 737 MAX jet, a fuel-efficient version of Boeing's workhorse narrow-body introduced into service globally a year ago.

Boeing's statement did not make any reference to a revised anti-stall system introduced on the 737 MAX which US pilots say and Indonesian investigators say was missing from the operating manual. That will take time still - KNKT said it plans to finish a complete study within 12 months of the accident.

"What they were focused on was keeping the airplane in the air", said Clint R. Balog, a pilot and aeronautics expert at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Pilots at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines complained this month that they had not been given all information about the new automated anti-stall safety system on the MAX.

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