A plane owned by low-priced Indonesian airline Lion Air has torn a wing on a runway in Indonesia just days after one of its flights crashed into the Java Sea, leaving 189 dead.
The FAA has issued a new airworthiness directive (AD) on the Boeing 737 MAX after Lion Air flight JT610 crash investigators found the aircraft's angle of attack (AOA) sensors are capable of generating erroneous inputs, potentially making the aircraft hard for pilots to control.
A Boeing 737-900ER operated by PT Lion Mentari Airlines clipped a pole late Wednesday while taxiing at Bengkulu airport in southern Sumatra, shearing the tip of its left wing, the carrier said in a statement.
Signs appear to point to an instrument failure in the brand-new Boeing 737 Max, specifically the angle-of-attack sensor, which is critical to determining the amount of lift generated by the wings. The AD now affects 246 total Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in service globally. Boeing's bulletin said it was directing flight crews to existing guidelines.
To avoid having the problem repeat, pilots may deactivate the stabilizer trim system, according to The Air Current's explanation.
Minutes after takeoff on October 29, a Boeing 737 Max belonging to the budget Indonesian carrier Lion Air dove into the Java Sea at more than 600 miles an hour, shattering into pieces and killing all 189 passengers and crew.
It was found that on the flight that crashed in Asia this sensor was giving off incorrect data, meaning the pilots weren't flying in the right position. "It has sent a team to inspect the aircraft", the spokesman said.
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Problems were reported on a Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea off Jakarta even after technicians replaced a sensor on board the aircraft, investigators said.
Black box investigations into the incident by Indonesian authorities have indicated that the flight "experienced erroneous input from one of its AoA (Angle of Attack) sensors".
If something goes wrong in the sensor and it registers a false positive, it's possible for a plane to enter into a nosedive, similar to what happened on the Lion Air flight.
The Lion Air jetliner plunged into the Java Sea minutes after takeoff from Jakarta airport, nosing downward so suddenly that it may have hit speeds of 600 miles an hour before slamming into the water. Capt Mohan Ranganathan, air safety expert, said, "If all AOA sensors are erroneous, it puts a big question mark on the air-worthiness of the aircraft".
The accident also led to flight delays involving airlines such as Batik Air, local media reported.
Boeing has warned about improper readings from the plane's monitoring system - which have the potential to force the aircraft to take a sharp dive.
"Over the last 40 years, Boeing and Chinese partners have built deep relations in all industrial chains, including the research of new technologies, parts manufacturing as well as flight maintenance and modification", the statement said.