Economy

US FAA launches high-priority probe of Boeing's safety analyses

US FAA launches high-priority probe of Boeing's safety analyses

In the case of Lion Air flight 610, a sensor that measures which way the plane's nose is pointing apparently fed erroneous data into the system, something that could have sent the plane into a nose dive. "But the pilots don't know this and are not trained on this".

A spokesperson for Air New Zealand said the Boeing 777-300 aircraft was parked on the gate and waiting for boarding when it was clipped from behind. "If it's true, it is beyond comprehension that Boeing did not tell the airline and pilots about this", said CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest.

MCAS stands for maneuvering characteristics augmentation system. "It is information that we were not privy to in training or in any other manuals or materials", Tajer told Reuters.

"We did not know this was on the [Boeing 737] MAX models", Weaks said in a Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time) interview, referring to a new automated flight control feature created to prevent the plane from stalling by automatically nudging its nose downward in response to externally collected flight data.

Indonesian transportation officials have said repeatedly that the Max 8 manual being used in the country did not contain crucial information about the new anti-stall mechanism.

The FAA, which certified the plane, said in a statement it couldn't comment on the matter while the investigation in Indonesia remains open.

Stalls are one of the most common causes of airplanes crashes.

"The companies and the pilots should have been informed", Weaks said. The manual update raised an outcry from pilots in the US.

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Boeing and the FAA last week issued directives to airlines to alert their pilots that they can resolve such a problem using an existing emergency procedure.

To counteract the anti-stall system, pilots are advised to switch off electric motors in the aircraft's tail that are causing the plane's nose to pitch downward.

The change, directed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), came because Boeing had never provided guidance to pilots on what to do when part of an updated safety system malfunctioned-the very scenario that the pilots of Indonesia's Lion Air Flight 610 faced on October 29. The company also needs to speed deliveries of its high-margin Max planes, "which affect profit disproportionately", Ferguson said.

"The pilot thought about it and improvised, though it was not in the manual", Soerjanto said.

It is not clear whether the quick thinking of the pilot on that flight was relayed to the captain of the plane's final flight.

Indonesian investigators say that the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 experienced malfunctions with sensors that indicate the angle of the nose on four recent flights, including the fatal one.

Boeing Co. dropped after weak deliveries for its 737 jetliner compounded a troubling report about a safety feature linked to a deadly crash in Indonesia last month.

Lion Air officials said on Monday that they had followed a training regime approved by both U.S. and European regulators.


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