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Crashed B737: Pilots struggled to maintain control

Written by: mottaman | 28 Nov 2018 16:20
Picture from AP
Written by:
28 Nov 2018 16:20
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The pilots of the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 Boeing 737 MAX 8 had struggled to maintain control of the aircraft as it's safety system repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down.

According to a preliminary investigation into last month’s disaster, this was the information received from data collected from the black box.

The investigators are focusing on whether faulty information from sensors led the plane’s system to force the nose down. The new 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board.

The MAX aircraft is the latest version of Boeing’s popular 737 jetliner. It is equipped with an automated system that pushes the nose down if a sensor detects that the nose is pointed so high that the plane could go into an aerodynamic stall.

It was apparently “a deadly game of tag” in which the plane pointed down, the pilots countered by manually aiming the nose higher, only for the sequence to repeat about five seconds later. That happened 26 times during the 11-minute flight, but pilots failed to recognise what was happening and follow the known procedure for countering incorrect activation of the automated safety system

According to the Associated Press, the crew of the fatal flight apparently wasn’t warned that similar problems had occurred on previous flights, and that the Lion Air jet wasn’t fully repaired after those flights.

Experts said that had they fixed the airplane, there would not have been an accident.

A Boeing spokesman said the company is “taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident.”

The company said last week that it remains confident in the safety of the 737 MAX and had given airlines around the world two updates to “re-emphasise existing procedures for these situations.”

Pilots at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines complained this month that they had not been given all information about the new system on the MAX. More than 200 MAX jets have been delivered to airlines around the world.

The Indonesian investigation is continuing with help from U.S. regulators and Boeing. Searchers have not found the plane’s cockpit voice recorder, which would provide more information about the pilots’ actions.

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