Flight control problems reported before Lion Air crash: investigators

- A Monitor Report 28 Nov, 2018  |    -      +
JAKARTA: The doom Lion Air crashed in the Java Sea last month was due to technical problems which seized the aircrafts multiple controls and inbuilt computers had shown erratic information, which further confused the cockpit crew.

One of the pilot of the beleaguered Lion Air jet told air traffic control (ATC) that the plane was experiencing a “flight control problem” shortly before it crashed into the Java Sea, Indonesian investigators said.

Ahead of the release of its first report, transport safety committee KNKT gave more details on the problems the pilots faced in controlling the Boeing Co 737 MAX flight before it crashed on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board.

Bloomberg, citing a source said the pilots were fighting an anti-stall system on their B737 MAX as they attempted to diagnose multiple apparent failures.

That is in line with information recovered from the flight data recorder that was released to Indonesia’s parliament by the country’s transport safety committee.

During the early morning flight, one of the pilots asked flight controllers to confirm the altitude and speed of the aircraft. The pilot then reported that they were experiencing a “flight control problem,” the statement said.

Last week, KNKT investigator Nurcahyo Utomo told parliament that the jet’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) - an automated modification new to the model that crashed - activated and directed the jet’s nose down to prevent a stall.

The jet’s systems had detected it was in a stall due to a faulty indicator and gave the captain a warning through a “stick shaker” that vibrated the controls, he said.

Another set of pilots flying the same plane, a day earlier had experienced a similar problem until they used switches to shut off the system.

Bloomberg, citing its source, said the report stopped short of concluding what caused the crash but provided new data about the jet’s maintenance, the airline’s instructions for pilots, Boeing’s flight manuals, the local weather and efforts to recover the wreckage.

KNKT acknowledged actions to improve safety had been taken by Boeing, Lion Air, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

At Indonesia’s request, Boeing issued an advisory about MCAS to airlines earlier this month. That was quickly followed by a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration directive making that mandatory.

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