Published: Thu, November 29, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Pilot of doomed Lion Air flight 'fought continuously' against malfunctioning computers

Pilot of doomed Lion Air flight 'fought continuously' against malfunctioning computers

"Safety remains our top priority and is a core value for everyone at Boeing".

Coming from an aviation family, she said that Suneja's sister wanted to follow in his footsteps, but that the fatal accident had shaken her faith in the technology. Shortly after the Lion Air crash, the FAA published an emergency AD (PDF) detailing potential fault indications in the AoA, airspeed and control feel systems used on the 737 MAX.

Although it's not implicated as a crash cause, pilot unions in the USA have complained that Boeing provided no detailed documentation on MCAS and the system wasn't covered in differences training for crews transitioning from earlier 737 models.

The Boeing 737 MAX vanished from radar about 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta on October 29, slamming into the Java Sea moments after it had asked to return to the capital.

The report is the most detailed look yet from authorities at the 11 minutes the plane was in the air.

In an interview, Indonesia's director general of aviation, Polana Pramesti, said the agency planned to require pilots in Indonesia to be trained on simulators for the MAX series.

Members of the Lion Air flight crew repeatedly attempted to manually arrest the plane's dive, but the system reasserted itself each time. Because the CVR hasn't been found, it's unclear why the accident crew didn't do the same.

"We still don't know yet, if it contributed or not", he said in response to a question at a briefing. "That's always your first priority".

"You've got an airline here that in 2000 had no aircraft and in 2018 have over 300 with 500 on order". Pilots switched off the automatic system, and used manual controls to fly and stabilise the plane. The preliminary findings, based on the data retrieved from the flight data recorder, confirm that the jetliner experienced speed and altitude issues on its previous flights and states it was in an "un-airworthy" condition on the day it crashed. He also expressed concern that the plane had not been repaired after those flights.

She says her son, Capt. Bhavye Suneja told her there was no updated training simulation session when Lion Air started using the new aircraft.

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However, they managed to land the plane safely after requesting an uninterrupted descent, and the problems were logged.

"All those systems failed the crew and passengers", said Moss, of AeroPacific Consulting.

"The plane was airworthy", he added.

Nurcahyo Utomo, head of the Indonesia transportation safety committee, said it's clear the aircraft shouldn't have been permitted to leave the tarmac. One safety system pushes the nose of the plane down if it senses the nose is pointed too high and the plane is in danger.

Investigators initially suggested the aircraft which crashed had an issue with its angle of attack (AOA) sensors. The malfunctioning sensor is key to correct operation of the MCAS, which is charged with detecting and correcting risky stalls. The information can be critical in preventing an aircraft from stalling. But it will resume nose-down trimming after five seconds.

"What we do as a matter of practice when any manufacturer puts out a bulletin such as this, we put out what's called an Airworthiness Directive", said Gregory Martin, of the FAA, "which gives those instructions and procedures the full weight of the legal authority of the FAA to ensure that those bulletins are performed".

"The flight from Denpasar to Jakarta experienced stick shaker activation during the takeoff rotation and remained active throughout the flight", the committee said.

In 1988, an Airbus A320 crashed at a French air show, killing a woman and two children.

"This is a report of facts", said Mr Nurcahyo.

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