FAA Issues Emergency Directive in Response to Indonesian Plane Crash
JAKARTA, INDONESIA – November 7, 2018 - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has issued an emergency airworthiness directive regarding erroneous sensor data in response to the Indonesian plane crash of October 29. The story is reported online at wsbradio.com.*
Lion Air Flight JT610 was bound for Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia, and departed from Jakarta at 6:20 a.m. local time on October 29. Not long after takeoff, the flight crew on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane asked for permission to return to the airport. Permission was granted, but before the plane could return, it crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board. Flight-tracking data shows the plane experienced abnormal drops in altitude and speed a few minutes after takeoff.
Investigators are starting to piece together what happened before the crash. The Bali-Nusa Tenggara Airport Authority said the plane had been experiencing issues during a flight the day before. On October 28, the 737 MAX 8 was bound for Jakarta from Bali, and not long after takeoff, the pilot requested to return to the airport. A short time later, the pilot said the issues on the plane had resolved, and the plane did not need to return.
Passengers interviewed after the plane landed in Jakarta said the aircraft had experienced several sharp drops in altitude after takeoff. These accounts have been confirmed by flight-tracking data and by the pilot.
Officials believe the plane’s airspeed indicator was malfunctioning, and the flight crews were receiving erroneous data from the “angle of attack” sensor, which assists in stalling and diving prevention. The sensor was replaced after the October 28 flight, which might have added to the plane’s issues the next day, Indonesian investigators say. The FAA directive gives guidance on handling erroneous data from a sensor and backs up a safety bulletin issued by Boeing. Investigation into the crash is ongoing.
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