Archive for the ‘Lion Air Flight 610’ Category

Ethiopian Air pilots turned off 737 MAX anti-stall system. Then it turned on again

April 3rd, 2019
Parts of an engine and landing gear lie in a pile after being gathered by workers during the continuing recovery efforts at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 11, 2019 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Enlarge / Parts of an engine and landing gear lie in a pile after being gathered by workers during the continuing recovery efforts at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on March 11, 2019 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

The pilots of Ethiopia Airlines Flight 302 apparently followed the proper steps to shut down an errant flight control system as they struggled to regain control of the 737 MAX aircraft shortly after takeoff. But according to multiple reports, data from the ill-fated aircraft’s flight recorder revealed that the anti-stall feature of the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was triggered at least three times—and at least one time after the pilots followed the correct steps to shut it down.

Both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal report that the air crew followed procedures laid out by Boeing following the crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX in October, according to officials briefed on the initial findings of the investigation. But the pilots failed to regain control of the system, and the MCAS was reactivated again—triggering yet another automated correction of the aircraft’s stabilizers that would have pushed the nose of the plane down.

Boeing’s safety notice following the Lion Air crash noted that the MCAS’ automated adjustments to a 737 MAX’s stabilizers—the control surfaces on the tail of the aircraft that are used to change the direction of the aircraft’s flight—could be “stopped and reversed” with a thumb switch on the pilot’s yoke but “may restart 5 seconds after the [switch] is released.”

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Boeing 737 MAX, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, Federal Aviation Administration, Lion Air Flight 610, MCAS | Comments (0)

Boeing delays 737 MAX software fix delivery

April 2nd, 2019
The 737 MAX cockpit's layout is nearly identical to this 737-800's.  The software behind the glass isn't.

Enlarge / The 737 MAX cockpit's layout is nearly identical to this 737-800's. The software behind the glass isn't. (credit: Cory W. Watts)

Delivery of Boeing’s promised fix to the flight system software at the center of two 737 MAX crash investigations has been pushed back several weeks after an internal review by engineers not connected to the aircraft raised additional safety questions. The results of the “non-advocate” review have not been revealed, but the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed on April 1 that the software needed additional work.

“The FAA expects to receive Boeing’s final package of its software enhancement over the coming weeks for FAA approval,” an FAA spokesperson said in a statement. “Time is needed for additional work by Boeing as the result of an ongoing review of the 737 MAX Flight Control System to ensure that Boeing has identified and appropriately addressed all pertinent issues.”

The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was developed by Boeing to mitigate changes in the handling of the 737 MAX from other 737 designs. It included a more aggressive anti-stall feature intended to counter the modified aircraft’s inherent tendency to “nose up” during flight—automatically correcting the position of the aircraft’s stabilizers to bring the nose back down. Evidence from the crashes of a Lion Air 737 MAX off Indonesia in October and an Ethiopian Airlines flight last month indicates that a single faulty sensor input caused the anti-stall system to activate in error, pushing both aircraft into a dive shortly after take-off. Lack of diagnostic information and a change in how pilots would normally disable the software also contributed to the Lion Air crash; the investigation of the Ethiopian Airlines crash is still in progress.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Boeing 737 MAX, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, Lion Air Flight 610, MCAS | Comments (0)

Initial findings put Boeing’s software at center of Ethiopian 737 crash

March 29th, 2019
The Boeing 737 MAX's MCAS software was officially linked by FAA investigators to the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight earlier this month. The software was intended to compansate for the aerodynamic differences caused by the aircraft's larger engines.

Enlarge / The Boeing 737 MAX's MCAS software was officially linked by FAA investigators to the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight earlier this month. The software was intended to compansate for the aerodynamic differences caused by the aircraft's larger engines.

At a high-level briefing at the Federal Aviation Administration on March 28, officials revealed "black box" data from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 indicated that the Boeing 737 MAX's flight software had activated an anti-stall feature that pushed the nose of the plane down just moments after take-off. The preliminary finding officially links Boeing's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to a second crash within a five month period. The finding was based on data provided to FAA officials by Ethiopian investigators.

MCAS was partly blamed for the crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX off Indonesia last October. The software, intended to adjust the aircraft's handling because of aerodynamic changes caused by the 737 MAX's larger turbofan engines and their proximity to the wing, was designed to take input from one of two angle of attack (AOA) sensors on the aircraft's nose to determine if the aircraft was in danger of stalling. Faulty sensor data caused the MCAS systems on both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights to react as if the aircraft was entering a stall and to push the nose of the aircraft down to gain airspeed.

On March 27, acting FAA Administrator Daniel Ewell told the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee's aviation subcommittee that there had been no flight tests of the 737 MAX prior to its certification to determine how pilots would react in the event of an MCAS malfunction. He said that a panel of pilots had reviewed the software in a simulator and determined no additional training was required for 737-rated pilots to fly the 737 MAX.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Boeing, Boeing 737 MAX, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, FAA, Federal Aviation Administration, fly-by-wire, Lion Air Flight 610, MCAS, Policy | Comments (0)

Simulations show Lion Air 737 crew had little time to prevent disaster

March 26th, 2019
A passenger jet emblazoned with Lion Air logos taxis down a runway.

Enlarge / A Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed in October 2018 because of problems with a sensor and a failure of flight control software. The crew had little time to react, data shows. (credit: PK-REN, Jakarta, Indonesia )

In testing performed in a simulator, Boeing test pilots recreated the conditions aboard Lion Air Flight 610 when it went down in the Java Sea in October, killing 189 people. The tests showed that the crew of the 737 MAX 8 would have only had 40 seconds to respond to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System’s (MCAS’s) attempts to correct a stall that wasn’t happening before the aircraft went into an unrecoverable dive, according to a report The New York Times. by

While the test pilots were able to correct the issue with the flip of three switches, their training on the systems far exceeded that of the Lion Air crew—and that of the similarly doomed Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed earlier this month. The Lion Air crew was heard on cockpit voice recorders checking flight manuals in an attempt to diagnose what was going on moments before they died.

One of the controls—the electric stabilizer trim thumbswitch on the pilot’s control yoke—could temporarily reset MCAS’s control over stabilizers. The Lion Air pilots hit this switch over 24 times, buying them some time—but MCAS’ stall prevention software kicked in afterwards each time because of faulty data coming from the aircraft’s primary angle of attack sensor.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Boeing 737 MAX, Lion Air Flight 610 | Comments (0)

Safety feature that could have prevented 737 MAX crashes sold by Boeing as an option

March 21st, 2019
Boeing passenger jet shortly after takeoff.

Enlarge (credit: Marian Lockhart / Boeing)

The crashed Lion Air 737 MAX and the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX aircraft had more in common than aircraft design and the apparently malfunctioning flight system that led to their demises. Both of the planes lacked optional safety features that would have alerted the pilots to problems with their angle of attack (AOA) sensors—the input suspected of causing the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software to put both aircraft into a fatal dive.

The New York Times reports that both vehicles lacked an "AOA disagree" light—a warning light that indicates when the aircraft's two AOA sensors provide different readings—and an angle of attack indicator. Since the MCAS system relied only on one of the aircraft's AOA sensors, the disagree light and AOA indicator would have given the flight crew visible evidence of a sensor failure and prompted them to disable the MCAS. But both of these features were sold by Boeing as expensive add-ons. And many discount and smaller airlines declined to purchase them, as they were not required by regulators.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in air safety, Biz & IT, Boeing 737 MAX, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, flight control systems, Lion Air Flight 610, MCAS | Comments (0)

737 MAX crashes “linked” by satellite track data, FAA says

March 14th, 2019
Relatives of the victims of the Sunday plane crash take a picture next to a pile of airplane fuselage at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines operated Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, at Hama Quntushele village in the Oromia region, on March 13, 2019. - A Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019, killing all eight crew and 149 passengers on board, including tourists, business travelers, and "at least a dozen" UN staff. Families of the victims were taken to the remote site on March 13, 2019, where the plane smashed into a field with 157 passengers and crew from 35 countries, leaving a deep black crater and tiny scraps of debris.

Enlarge / Relatives of the victims of the Sunday plane crash take a picture next to a pile of airplane fuselage at the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines operated Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, at Hama Quntushele village in the Oromia region, on March 13, 2019. - A Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019, killing all eight crew and 149 passengers on board, including tourists, business travelers, and "at least a dozen" UN staff. Families of the victims were taken to the remote site on March 13, 2019, where the plane smashed into a field with 157 passengers and crew from 35 countries, leaving a deep black crater and tiny scraps of debris. (credit: TONY KARUMBA / AFP / Getty Images)

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on March 13, citing new data that showed a possible link between the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight and the crash of a Lion Air flight off the coast of Indonesia last October. In an interview with NPR's David Greene this morning, acting FAA Director Dan Ewell said that "newly refined satellite data" from a flight telemetry system had led the agency to make the move.

Both Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) and Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610) were recently acquired 737 MAX 8 aircraft, and both were lost with all aboard just minutes after take-off. According to the emergency order issued by the FAA, "new information from the wreckage concerning the aircraft's configuration just after takeoff that, taken together with newly refined data from satellite-based tracking of the aircraft's flight path, indicates some similarities between the ET302 JT610 accidents that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause for the two incidents that needs to be better understood and addressed."

The source of the data in question is a combination of telemetry feeds from the flights' Automatic Dependent Surveillance(ADS) system. Introduced in the US in 2001 and more widely worldwide in the wake of the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 in 2014, Europe has required most aircraft to carry the UHF-band ADS-Broadcast (ADS-B) system since 2017, and the FAA has mandated ADS-B for most aircraft by 2020.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in ADS-B, aviation mishaps, Biz & IT, Boeing 737 MAX, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, FAA, Lion Air Flight 610 | Comments (0)

Indonesia 737 crash caused by “safety” feature change pilots weren’t told of

November 13th, 2018
SONY DSC

Enlarge / SONY DSC (credit: PK-REN, Jakarta, Indonesia )

On November 6, Boeing issued an update to Boeing 737 MAX aircrews. The change, directed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), came because Boeing had never provided guidance to pilots on what to do when part of an updated safety system malfunctioned—the very scenario that the pilots of Indonesia's Lion Air Flight 610 faced on October 29. Not knowing how to correct for the malfunction, the aircrew and their passengers were doomed. All aboard were lost as the aircraft crashed into the Java Sea.

First approved for commercial operation by the FAA on March 8, 2017, the MAX is just beginning to be delivered in large volumes. Lion Air was one of Boeing's primary foreign customers for the MAX, which is also flown by Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and Air Canada. The Lion Air aircraft lost in the accident was virtually brand new, delivered by Boeing in August; this was the first accident involving an aircraft touted for its safety.

But Boeing never told pilots about one key new safety feature—an automated anti-stall system—or how to troubleshoot its failure. The manual update raised an outcry from pilots in the US.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in aircraft accidents, airline accidents, American Airlines, automated safety systems, Biz & IT, Boeing, Boeing 737 MAX, Indonesia, Lion Air Flight 610, southwest airlines | Comments (0)