FAA issues emergency directive on Boeing 737 Max after Lion Air crash

FAA issues emergency directive on Boeing 737 Max after Lion Air crash

Boeing initially issued a safety warning on Tuesday that stated how "erroneous input from an AOA sensor" played a role in the deadly Lion Air crash.

Investigators had found significant evidence that the crash of Lion Air flight J610 last week was likely caused by problems with this AOA display.

The news comes as the US Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive on how to handle incorrect data from the sensor which investigators believe malfunctioned on the jet.

The condition can even lead to "excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain", the official noted. That sensor is meant to maintain air flow over a plane's wings but if it malfunctions it can cause the plane's computers to erroneously think it is in a aerodynamic stall - which can then cause aircraft to abruptly dive.

Indonesia's Garuda airlines said it had not received any bulletins from Boeing, either. 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.

The Boeing 737 MAX is a more fuel-efficient version of the manufacturer's popular single-aisle jet.

Authorities have yet to recover the jet's cockpit voice recorder from the sea floor, just northeast of Jakarta, where the plane crashed 13 minutes into its flight.


The Lion Air crash was the first involving the type of plane, which airlines introduced into service past year.

Shortly after Boeing's bulletin, the FAA, also issued a follow-up directive, mandating that the Boeing recommendations be used by pilots and carriers of the 737 Max.

In that incident the plane had experienced airspeed indicator malfunctions on its four previous flights, data from the retrieved black box has revealed.

The plane was forced to return to the departure terminal, and passengers were placed on another aircraft that left for Jakarta at about 10.10pm, reported CNN Indonesia.

That angle-of-attack sensor is meant to measure the direction of air flow over wings so that they maintain lift.

False readings from the sensor can cause the aircraft to pitch downward in an attempt to avoid a stall when the plane is not being flown on autopilot.

Pilots raise and lower the nose of Boeing jetliners by pushing and pulling on a yoke in the cockpit, which controls panels at the tail known as elevators. United Technologies supplies the angle-of-attack sensors and indicator for the 737 Max, according to Airframers.net.

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