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Extra pilot averted disaster on previous (Illinois headquartered)Boeing 737 Max 8 flight - report
(CNN)An off-duty pilot in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet
jumped in to help crew disable a malfunctioning flight-control
system as it experienced difficulties in October, according to
The next day, with a different crew, the same plane crashed into
the sea off Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.
On doomed Lion Air Flight 610, pilots searched in a handbook for
a way to stop the plane from nosediving, according to an
exclusive Reuters report.
Reuters cites the information from three people with knowledge
of the contents of the cockpit voice recorder that has never
been made public.
Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) has
refused to comment to CNN on the content of the voice recorder
as the investigation is still ongoing. Boeing also refused to
comment to CNN on the matter Wednesday.
Indonesian authorities found the cockpit voice recorder in the
Java Sea on January 14 and said it could take up to a year to
publish a full report into the crash.
CNN contacted Lion Air Group Captain Daniel Putut for comment
and he directed questions to the KNKT.
Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of KNKT told CNN on Wednesday they
were not aware of the details in the Bloomberg report. CNN
continues to reach out to more officials at the KNKT.
Investigators said the jet experienced problems on its last four
flights -- including, crucially, the flight that crashed,
according to Tjahjono.
Indonesian authorities confirmed that the plane's angle of
attack (AOA) sensor was replaced after a flight from Manado, in
North Sulawesi to Denpasar, Bali on October 28. The Boeing 737
Max 8 then made another flight to Jakarta that same day, and the
pilots reported further problems.
The AOA sensors send information to the plane's computers about
the angle of the plane's nose relative to the airflow over and
under the wings to help determine whether the plane is about to
Software installed on Boeing's 737 Max 8 planes, called the
Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS),
automatically lowers the nose of the plane when it receives
information from the AOA sensors that the aircraft is flying too
slowly or steeply, and at risk of stalling.
A preliminary KNKT report said the crew of Air Lion Flight 610
struggled to override the plane's automatic systems in the
minutes before it plunged into the ocean. The system pulled the
plane's nose down more than two dozen times, the report said.
The report said the MCAS system was responding to incorrect data
transmitted by an AOA sensor. A different flight crew
experienced the same issue on a flight from Denpasar to Jakarta
the previous day, but had turned off the MCAS and took manual
control of the plane, the report said.
Once in Jakarta, a Lion Air technician checked the plane again
and gave it the green light to fly on its final flight, from
Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on the Indonesian island of Bangka.
The jet crashed 13 minutes after takeoff.
Experts have pointed to similarities between the Lion Air crash
six months ago and last week's Ethiopian Airlines crash, which
killed all 157 people on board. Both were Boeing 737 Max 8
planes that were equipped with the same automated flight
software and both crashed minutes after takeoff.
The Ethiopian Minister of Transport said preliminary data
recovered from the black boxes of the crash in Ethiopia showed
similarities to the Air Lion crash. But the investigation is
Following the Ethiopian Airlines crash -- the second crash of a
737 Max 8 plane in less than five months -- countries and
airlines around the world grounded their 737 Max planes.
Boeing insists that the 737 Max 8 is safe to fly.
"Safety is Boeing's number one priority and we have full
confidence in the safety of the Max," Boeing said in a statement
on March 12.
"We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made
decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home
It is also important to note that the Federal Aviation
Administration is not mandating any further action at this time,
and based on the information currently available, we do not have
any basis to issue new guidance to operators."
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