Published: Wed, November 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Boeing Kept Pilots In Dark About 737 MAX Auto Trim System

Boeing Kept Pilots In Dark About 737 MAX Auto Trim System

Boeing (BA -1.4%) plunges as much as 4% after making fewer 737 deliveries than expected and news that the company had failed to advise pilots of new safety systems on the 737 MAX, which may have played a role in the recent Lion Air crash.

While the problem is not entirely new, it is unclear how Boeing had tackled it, according to Giemulla.

Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu says the firm's estimate "assumes deliveries of the 737 reach an average rate of 70/month in Nov. -Dec., which appears feasible, but rather hard".

Boeing didn't tell airline pilots about features of a new flight-control system in its 737 MAX that reportedly is a focus of the investigation into last month's deadly crash in Indonesia, according to pilots who fly the jet in the U.S.

The exact cause of the crash, however, remains unknown. Learmont argued that this is not a problem with the aircraft as such but a problem with a sensor system installed on other planes.

They are trying to understand the implications of an October 29 crash near Jakarta, Indonesia, in which a Boeing 737 MAX8 jet operated by Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea with 189 people on-board.

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Preliminary findings from investigators looking into the October 29 crash of the Lion Air 737 MAX 8 suggest that faulty angle-of-attack data contributed to the drastic ups and downs that preceded the loss of the plane and all 189 people who were aboard. "But the pilots don't know this and are not trained on this".

Indonesian investigators said on Monday a system created to deal with the accident scenario was not described in the flight manual. Still, the response from regulators and pilot representatives hints at a broader reckoning in the commercial aerospace industry over one of Boeing's marquee jets, the 737 MAX8.

Information recovered from the jet's flight data recorder last week led the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue an emergency airworthiness directive urging airlines to update their flight manuals.

In the Lion Air crash, which killed all 189 aboard, automated systems likely erroneously believed the aircraft was in a stall and needed to dive to increase airspeed, investigators have said. Investigators say there is a possibility that inaccurate readings fed into the MAX's computer could have sent the plane into a sudden descent. Other factors, such as maintenance on the plane and the pilots' performance, may also become factors in the accident.

Soerjanto said on Tuesday that the pilot of that flight, which was travelling from Bali to Jakarta, reacted quickly to the data discrepancy and switched off the tail trim mechanism that might have caused the plane to nose-dive.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines were the two the biggest consumers of Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

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Feinstein said American updated its pilot manuals on Friday.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, suggested something similar in a message to its members.

It is not clear whether the quick thinking of the pilot on that flight was relayed to the captain of the plane's final flight.

"This is the first description you, as 737 pilots, have seen", APA safety committee chairman Mike Michaelis told pilots in a November 10 advisory note obtained by The Washington Post and reported earlier by the Seattle Times.

The FAA is not conducting a probe separate from the ongoing Lion Air accident investigation that the agency, the National Transportation Safety Board and Indonesian officials are a part of, the FAA said.

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