Pilots Weren't Told How to Fix 737 Max System's Problems

Indonesia releases details on Lion Air investigation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2019 6:45 AM CDT
Pilots Weren't Told How to Fix 737 Max System's Problems
National Transportation Safety Committee investigator Nurcahyo Utomo holds a model of an airplane during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.   (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

An Indonesian investigation found that a combination of design flaws, inadequate training, and maintenance lapses doomed a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet that crashed a year ago, killing 189 people, per the AP. A summary of the final accident report released Friday said Lion Air flight 610 from Indonesia's capital Jakarta went down partly because the pilots were never told how to quickly respond to malfunctions of the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet's automated flight-control system. But investigators told reporters that nine critical problems were responsible for the tragedy. "If one of the nine hadn't occurred, maybe the accident wouldn't have happened," chief investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said at a news conference. Five months after the Indonesia crash, a similar malfunction caused a Max jet to crash in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board.

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee said the MCAS on the Lion Air flight relied on a single "angle of attack" sensor that gave erroneous information, automatically shoving the nose of the Max jet down. "The investigation considered that the design and certification of this feature was inadequate," according to a statement issued by the head of the committee, Soerjanto Tjahjono. Indonesian aviation expert Gerry Soejatman says most of the blame for the crash should be placed on Boeing. "How Boeing could allow the MCAS to rely on a single source of data and act upon that single source without cross checking the other angle of attack indicator is anyone's guess," he said. More details on the missteps discovered are here.

(Read more Boeing 737 stories.)

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