Sunday, November 11, 2018

MAXimized danger: Are 200+ new Boeing 737s plagued with glitch that led to crash in Indonesia?

A technical issue that Boeing flagged in a safety warning after the deadly 737 MAX 8 crash in Indonesia could happen to any other aircraft, and it’s "not unlikely" that the manufacturer knew about it, aviation experts told RT.
Earlier this week, Boeing issued a safety update to pilots flying its newest 737 MAX airliner, warning of a possible fault in a sensor that could send the aircraft into a violent nosedive. That sensor measures air flow over a plane’s wings, but its failure can lead to an aerodynamic stall.
International aviation experts told RT that a problem of this kind could doom aircraft of any type. The tragedy that happened to Lion Air’s Boeing 737 MAX is not the first of its kind to involve a faulty “Pitot tube” – a critical air-speed sensor that measures the flow velocity – explained Elmar Giemulla, a leading German expert in air and traffic law.

“This is not unusual in the way it happened before,” he noted, mentioning incidents similar to the Lion Air crash. Back in 1996, a Boeing 757 operated by Turkey’s Birgenair stalled and crashed in the Caribbean because of a blocked pitot tube. Likewise, erroneous air-speed indications, coupled with pilot errors, led to the crash of an Air France Airbus A330 over the Atlantic in 2009.

While the problem is not entirely new, it is unclear how Boeing had tackled it, according to Giemulla. “It is not very unlikely” that Boeing knew about the problem, he said, warning that “more than 200 planes are concerned and this could happen tomorrow again.”

However, the expert doubted that there has been any cover-up of the issue, instead suggesting that “obviously gross negligence” had been involved.

A 737 MAX 8 servicing Lion Air flight 610 last week ploughed into the waters of the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board. Investigators say there is a possibility that inaccurate readings fed into the MAX’s computer could have sent the plane into a sudden descent.
10/11/18 RT
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