Boeing Plane Crashed in Indonesia After Key Sensor Replaced

Boeing’s first 737 MAX 8 rolls out of the final assembly building in Renton in December 2015. More than 200 MAXs are in service around the world

This comes in the wake of a new Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashing into the sea not long after leaving Jakarta, Indonesia, and killing all 189 passengers on board.

Boeing said it had issued an "Operations Manual Bulletin" addressing flight crew procedures in cases where there is "erroneous input from an [Angle of Attack] sensor".

The FAA has issued a new airworthiness directive (AD) on the Boeing 737 MAX after Lion Air flight JT610 crash investigators found the aircraft's angle of attack (AOA) sensors are capable of generating erroneous inputs, potentially making the aircraft hard for pilots to control.

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.

Boeing is planning to write to airlines using its 737 MAX jet about how to deal with erroneous cockpit readings that could cause the airliner to dive, according to reports.

Boeing says that the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in the company's history, with over 4,700 orders to date.

Boeing said in its statement that it had issued an operations manual bulletin (OMB) to 737 Max operators that advised flight crews to turn to existing procedures "where there is erroneous input from an AOA sensor".

Southwest issued a statement saying it has thoroughly reviewed Boeing's guidance.

The sensor on the doomed plane had been replaced the day before, after it failed on a previous trip, the Indonesia National Transportation Safety Committee said in a briefing.

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The jet dove into the Java Sea at high speed on October 29, minutes after its takeoff from Jakarta in Indonesia. Boeing released a bulletin about the issue on November 6.

"There were four flights in all that suffered a problem with the airspeed indicator", NTSC head Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters.

WestJet also has 9 of the 737 MAX jets in its fleet, but the airline did not immediately respond to a query about the Boeing bulletin from CBC News.

"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".

On the fatal flight, the plane hit the water at very high speed after the flight crew had been cleared to return to the airport several minutes after takeoff.

Airline safety experts said pilots are trained to handle a plane safely if those crucial sensors fail and backup systems are generally in place as well.

Chief of National Search and Rescue Agency Muhammad Syaugi (L) shows part of the black box of Lion Air's flight JT610 airplane, on Baruna Jaya ship, in the north sea of Karawang, Indonesia, Nov. 1, 2018. They are now combing the seas for the voice recorder.

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.

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