FAA Issues Emergency Directive for Boeing 737s Affecting 246 Planes

Doomed Indonesia Jet Had Damaged Airspeed Indicator On Last 4 Flights

The sensor keeps track of the angle of the aircraft nose relative to oncoming air to prevent the plane from stalling and diving.

The announcement follows analysis that Boeing has done since the crash of Lion Air flight JT610 last week into the sea off Java. A separate procedure involving a specific sequence of actions can be used to disengage the sensor from feeding information to the plane's computer system to address the issue for the duration of a flight.

On that flight, from Bali to Jakarta, the pilot's and co-pilot's sensors disagreed. They essentially instruct pilots to use "higher control forces" to overcome the dive-meaning, pull back hard on the controls-but then to disable the automatic trim system and set the trim manually.

They were all moved to a second plane on Wednesday night, which eventually brought them to their destination, Jakarta, with a four-hour delay.

A problem would occur if the AOA sensor input is erroneous.

KNKT said that there was a problem with the sensor on the last flight taken by the doomed plane, from the island of Bali to Jakarta, even though one sensor had been replaced in Bali.

There are audio signals and physical warnings that can alert the pilot to malfunctioning equipment or other dangers, said Todd Curtis, director of the Airsafe.com Foundation.

More news: Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Indonesia crash

Southwest and American said operations have not been impacted by the new advisory.

The airworthiness directive covers all 737-8 and 737-9 aircraft and is similar to a service bulletin issued by Boeing, after the manufacturer conducted an analysis in the wake of the fatal Lion Air crash on October 29.

"On November 6, 2018, Boeing issued an Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB) directing operators to existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an [angle of attack] sensor", a spokesperson for the company said. A spokesman for the Chicago-based planemaker couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

It seems patently obvious to say that such situations shouldn't happen in this day and age-and clearly the investigation is still in its earliest stage-but it is troubling to see something so deadly transpire in the most modern aircraft in the Boeing fleet.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency on Wednesday extended the search effort for a second time, saying it will continue until Sunday.

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.

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