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Investigators say crashed Lion Air jetliner 'not airworthy'

Investigators say crashed Lion Air jetliner 'not airworthy'

Nurcahyo Utomo, an investigator for Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Commission, told reporters in Jakarta on Wednesday that four of the crashed aircraft's previous flights had experienced technical problems, with two showing no such difficulties.

Information from the Lion Air jet's flight data recorder was included in a briefing for the Indonesian Parliament.

"In our opinion, the plane was no longer airworthy and it should not have continued", he said.

"That didn't cause the crash, but it can cause other problems in the environment they're working in".

Unions representing pilots at Southwest and American airlines said they were not properly informed about the new system during training.

The warning was followed by the US Federal Aviation Administration, which sent out its own emergency directive on Boeing's best-selling 737 Max series.

Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas called the report "very comprehensive" and said that he could not understand why Lion Air had deemed the plane suitable for service.

During pre-flight check, the Captain of the October 28, 2018, Denpasar-Jakarta flight had discussed with Lion Air's maintenance on what had been performed on the plane, including the replacement of an AoA sensor.

It is unclear why the pilots did not employ procedures to disable the automated system.

After the aircraft's flaps retracted following takeoff, the automatic trim problem noted on the previous night's flight returned, until the flight data recorder stopped recording when the plane crashed. The information can be critical in preventing an aircraft from stalling.




The report also seems to focus onto Lion Air's safety culture and the pilots' actions, including the decision to continue flying the malfunctioning aircraft. Investigators say the plane hit the water at 450 miles per hour.

The plane's cockpit voice recorder, which would provide more information about what happened in the cockpit, has yet to be found.

The Seattle Times reported that the flight data readings raise questions about a potential design flaw in the anti-stall system, about the failure of the pilots to shut off the automatic control system, and about the failure of Lion Air to fix the faulty angle-of-attack sensor system. They were able to complete the flight and land the plane safely.

During the early morning flight, one of the pilots asked flight controllers to confirm the altitude and speed of the aircraft.

"Boeing has said that the proper steps for pulling out of an incorrect activation of the system were already in flight manuals, so there was no need to detail this specific system in the new 737 jet".

The MAX aircraft that crashed is the latest version of Boeing's popular 737 jetliner.

Boeing's statement did not make any reference to a revised anti-stall system introduced on the 737 MAX which US pilots say and Indonesian investigators say was missing from the operating manual.

The findings will heighten concerns there were problems with key systems in one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes.

Boeing said Tuesday that it "continues to work closely with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board as technical advisers to support the ongoing investigation" by the Indonesian authorities.

Indonesia's aviation safety record has improved since its airlines, including national carrier Garuda, were subject to years-long bans from United States and European airspace for safety violations, although it has still recorded 40 fatal accidents over the past 15 years.

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