FAA issues airworthiness directive after Indonesia plane crash

FAA issues airworthiness directive after Indonesia plane crash

The doomed jet was a Boeing 737-Max 8, one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes, and there is still no answer as to what caused the crash.

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.

The Boeing 737 MAX has three such sensors but erroneous readings could cause it to point the nose down sharply in order to keep air under the wings and avoid a stall, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The FAA emergency directive warns that the "erroneous inputs can potentially make the horizontal stabilizers repeatedly pitch the nose of the airplane downward, making the aircraft hard to control".

This latest incident came just over a week after a Lion Air plane crashed into the Java Sea on October 29, killing everyone on board, prompting the Indonesian Transport Ministry to conduct a special investigation into the airline.

Virgin has ordered 30 of the fuel-efficient 737 Max 8 aircraft, which are due for delivery in November 2019, and will replace its existing 737-700/800 planes.

The company went on to say that the investigation into what happened with Lion Air flight 610 is ongoing and that it would "co-operate fully and provide technical assistance" as requested.

The Boeing 737-900 plane was on its way to the runway at Fatmawati airport in Bengkulu, Indonesia, when its left wing collided with a metal post.

Indonesian accident investigators said on Monday that an airspeed indicator on the crashed jet was damaged for its last four flights, but US authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks.

The flight procedure recommendations to Boeing were based on how the flight crew responded to problems on the Bali-to-Jakarta flight, said investigator Nurcahyo Utomo. There were no survivors of the 189 people on board the flight. Pilots flying with an AOA sensor generating erroneous inputs to the system can experience the inability to engage the aircraft's autopilot system, among other problems.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency said the search effort will continue until Sunday. There are now a little over 200 737 MAX jets in use.

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.

Boeing test pilot Jim Webb gives a thumbs-up from the cockpit of a 737 MAX 7 at Boeing Field, on March 16, 2018 in Seattle, Washington, after completing the plane's first flight.

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