Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Indonesia crash

The Boeing 737 MAX 8

Boeing has issued a safety message to pilots on how to handle erroneous data from a key sensor on its 737 MAX aircraft in the wake of last week's deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

The day before the crash, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 - which had only around 800 flying hours on the clock - had experienced a significant drop in altitude on a flight from Bali to Jakarta, passenger Robbi Gaharu said.

This isn't to say that the Lion Air crew was necessarily in the latter group-despite safety problems in the past with this airline, this specific crew may have absolutely been first-rate aviators, yet still suffered the same fate-but the fact is that we're in an era of increasing automation in aviation that's still 100 percent overseen by human pilots.

Under some circumstances, a 737 MAX jet could automatically push down its nose if it detects that a stall is possible, based on the angle of attack.

One of the critical ways a plane determines if a stall is imminent is a measurement known as angle of attack, which is a calculation of the angle at which the wind is passing over the wings.

Anugrah Satria, one of the passengers on the flight from Denpasar to Jakarta on the night before the crash, said that it was obvious that the plane was experiencing some problems as the flight kept getting delayed. The US manufacturer has delivered 219 737 MAX jets to customers globally, its website shows, with 4,564 orders for jets yet to be delivered.

Boeing issues an operational update for 737.

"When there was a problem, the pilot would write it down and the mechanic would do (a repair).Then the plane would be declared airworthy".

Representatives of 737 Max operators, Singapore Airlines offshoot SilkAir, Garuda Indonesia and Canada's WestJet, said they had not yet received a bulletin from Boeing, Reuters reports.

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"We are formulating, with NTSB (US National Transportation safety board) and Boeing, detailed inspections regarding the airspeed indicator", he said. The committee said they were dealing with an erroneous airspeed indication.

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said today the airspeed indicator was damaged for the last four flights of the Boeing Co. The cause of the crash is still unclear. Boeing has an existing procedure that allows pilots to continue flying in the event that angle of attack readings become erroneous.

"We're going to learn from this just like we learned from the A330", he said, referring to a 2009 incident in which an Airbus A330 crashed off the coast of Brazil with 228 people on board due to electronics failures.

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

Searchers sort through debris from the Lion Air crash.

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.

Pramintohadi Sukarno, the Ministry of Transportation's acting director general for air transportation, said Flight No. JT633 had been canceled and the pilots grounded after the accident.

Alan Diehl, a pilot and safety consultant, said the report that the same problem happened four times and was never fixed suggests that the problem may have been intermittent, making it harder to pin down.

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