Lion Air Crash Report Due Next Week, Boeing 737 Max in Focus
(Bloomberg) -- With the cockpit voice recorder of the crashed Lion Air jet still elusive almost a month after the disaster, Indonesian investigators are set to rely on the flight data recorder, interviews of technicians and pilots for a preliminary report due next week.
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee’s early findings may be released on Nov. 28, Chairman Soerjanto Tjahjono told lawmakers in Jakarta on Thursday. The report will contain possible causes of the fatal dive by the Boeing Co. 737 Max jet into the Java Sea off Jakarta with 189 people on board.
Indonesian investigators have indicated that a faulty system may have caused the nation’s worst aviation disaster in two decades, prompting Boeing to reinforce its pilot manual to airlines operating the latest generation of its best-selling model. Airlines with Max planes in their fleets and outstanding orders have been eager for information about the little-known anti-stall feature of the Max that has emerged as an area of focus.
The report will detail facts and description of what investigators have learned from the flight data. One missing piece from the investigation has been the cockpit voice recorder which contains the conversation between the pilots and the air traffic controller. Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed within minutes after take off into the shallow waters of the sea.
In the past week, Boeing has stepped up its response by pushing back on suggestions that the company could have better alerted its customers to the jet’s new anti-stall feature. The three largest U.S. pilot unions and Lion Air’s Operations Director Zwingly Silalahi have voiced concern over what they said was a lack of information about the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System on the Max, which would in limited circumstances, lower the jet’s nose without any input from pilots.
U.S. airline manuals for new 737 models offer inconsistent or confusing details of another automated anti-stall feature linked to the control yoke, called the elevator feel shift, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Boeing has said it is confident in the safety of the 737 Max and is taking every measure to “fully understand all aspects of this incident, working closely with the investigation team and all regulatory authorities involved.”
Lion Air and Boeing executives are set to meet on Nov. 30 to discuss delivery schedule of the pending Max jets the carrier has ordered,” Daniel Putut, a director at the Indonesian airline,, told reporters in Jakarta on Thursday. The delivery schedule hasn’t been affected by the crash, he said. The airline has ordered a total of 272 Max jets, of which 11 have been delivered, he said.
Indonesian safety committee’s Tjahjono said the agency was still trying to locate the so-called angle of attack sensor, while the search for the cockpit voice recorder is on. An undersea oil pipeline passing through near the crash site and lack of equipment to sweep the seabed were making the search for the black box difficult, he said.
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