Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Lion Air crash fallout: DGCA issues advisories to Jet Airways, SpiceJet for operating Boeing 737 Max

New Delhi: India’s aviation regulator has asked Jet Airways and SpiceJet to land their Boeing 737 Max at the nearest suitable airport in case this new plane shows any problem with its onboard “maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS)". Post Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air’s Boeing 737 Max crash on October 29 soon after take off from Jakarta, killing all the 189 people on board, there have been concerns about lack of awareness of the functions of MCAS, a software on the B737 Max to prevent it from stalling. Indonesian investigators also said that this system was not detailed in Lion Air’s flight manual.
As of now India has 10 B737 Max, five each with Jet Airways and SpiceJet. “In case of any snag or feared snag with the MCAS, pilots will revert to manual trimming (not depend on or use MCAS) and then land at nearest suitable airport. If any repairs are carried out on MCAS of a B737 Max, that aircraft should first do a verification flight (without passengers) and after that begin commercial flights with passengers,” said a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation official Wednesday.
The DGCA has held several discussions with all stakeholders regarding this plane. These additional safety measures, say officials, have been taken in light of the preliminary probe report of Lion Air crash issued recently by Indonesian authorities. Once the final report is out along with recommendations for corrective measures to be taken, the DGCA will then issue the next set of instructions.
“While so far the Max in India have not given any cause for concern, we have asked the two airlines to report about any issue with MCAS on their Max to us and we are doing a daily monitoring,” said the official.
The last flight before the crash of Lion Air's Max 8 (registration PK-LQP) was from Bali to Jakarta on Sunday. The aircraft flight maintenance log for this flight JT 43 reported some malfunctions like its indicated airspeed (IAS) and altitude indicators had “disagree shown after take off”. This ill-fated Max had been inducted in Lion Air fleet on August 15, 2018, and had done less than 800 hours.
05/12/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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