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Boeing issues advice to airlines on 737 Max sensors after Indonesia crash

The planemaker said local aviation officials believed pilots may have been given wrong information by the plane's automated systems before the fatal crash

AFP | PTI  |  Jakarta 

A relative cries during a prayer service for victims in the crashed Lion Air flight 610 aboard an Indonesia Navy ship in the waters where the airplane is believed to have crashed in Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia (Photo: AP/PTI)
A relative cries during a prayer service for victims in the crashed Lion Air flight 610 aboard an Indonesia Navy ship in the waters where the airplane is believed to have crashed in Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia (Photo: AP/PTI)

Boeing issued a special bulletin Wednesday addressing a sensor problem flagged by Indonesian safety officials investigating the crash of a Lion Air 737 that killed 189 people last week.

The planemaker said local aviation officials believed pilots may have been given wrong information by the plane's automated systems before the fatal crash.

"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," Boeing said.

"Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) directing operators to existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an AOA sensor."

An AOA sensor provides data about the angle at which wind is passing over the wings and tells pilots how much lift a plane is getting. The information can be critical in preventing the plane from stalling.

Lion Air JT610 plunged into the Java Sea less than half an hour after taking off from Jakarta on a routine flight to Pangkal Pinang city.

There were no survivors.

The doomed jet was a Boeing 737-Max 8, one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes, and there is still no answer as to what caused the crash.

ALSO READ: Lion Air crash: Indonesian divers retrieve black box from Java sea

A preliminary report is expected at the end of the month.

Search teams have filled some 186 body bags with remains found after the devastating crash, but only 44 victims have been identified so far.

Indonesian officials said on Wednesday they would extend by three days the search for bodies.

Divers have recovered one of the two "black boxes" -- the flight data recorder -- but are still searching for the cockpit voice recorder, in the hope it will shed more light on the cause of the disaster.

Indonesian investigators said this week the plane had an air-speed indicator problem on the doomed flight and on three previous journeys.

ALSO READ: Lion Air plane crash: Indonesia extends search for bodies by 3 days

The glitch had been repeatedly serviced and Lion Air's technical team declared the plane to be airworthy.

The new details -- gleaned from the flight data recorder -- came after the government said it was launching a "special audit" of Lion Air's operations.

The accident has resurrected concerns about Indonesia's poor air safety record, which until recently saw its carriers facing years-long bans from entering European Union and US airspace.

First Published: Wed, November 07 2018. 16:30 IST
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