USA issues directive after Boeing alerts pilots following Indonesia crash

Crashed Lion Air jet flew four times with damaged airspeed gauge

A brand new Boeing 737 Max 8 jet operated by the Indonesian budget carrier plunged into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff from the nation's capital on October 29, killing 189 people.

Boeing said it had issued an "Operations Manual Bulletin" addressing flight crew procedures in cases where there is "erroneous input from an [Angle of Attack] sensor".

This measures at what angle an aircraft is flying and air is passing over the wings.

When these sensors break down, the plane can go into what's known as "aerodynamic stall", a status in which its wings can't produce enough lift and the aircraft starts to dive.

The FAA says the AD is an interim action, and "if final action is later identified, we might consider further rulemaking then".

The operations-manual bulletin was issued Tuesday, Boeing said in a statement posted to Twitter, and tells flight crews to use existing guidelines when dealing with erroneous inputs from the so-called angle of attack sensor.

The issue only occurs when a plane's autopilot is switched off, Boeing said.

On Monday Nov. 5, CNN published an update on the crash investigation from Capt. Nurcahyo Utomo of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) noting that the FDR review also concluded that the aircraft's airspeed indicator had been malfunctioning on four consecutive flights prior to the crash.

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According to Bloomberg, the safety warning is linked to the crash of a Lion Air aircraft last week off the coast of Indonesia, killing an estimated 189 people. Boeing released a bulletin about the issue on November 6.

The pilots union at Southwest Airlines Co., the biggest customer of the 737 Max, hasn't received any reports from its members of problems with faulty sensor readings, said Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.

Attempts to fix the issues were unsuccessful, NTSC chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono has said, with the pilots of the 737's second-to-last flight experiencing conflicting information despite an AOA sensor being replaced.

In the United States, Southwest Airlines now has 26 737 MAX planes in operation; American Airlines has 16.

The next day, during the deadly crash, the plane hit the water at very high speed just 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta. The error erroneously tells pilots that there's a stall in airflow, triggering an automated system that points the plane downward in an effort to regain speed.

Boeing has delivered 219 Max planes - the latest and most advanced 737 jets - since the models made their commercial debut past year with a Lion Air subsidiary.

The newspaper said the findings suggest investigators could be looking at a software problem or a mistaken interpretation by flight crew as having played key roles in the Lion Air crash.

Body parts are still being recovered and divers continue to hunt for the cockpit voice recorder.

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