United Airlines is warning pilots to be vigilant to ensure they can regain control of the Boeing 737 Max 9 if its automated systems unexpectedly make the aircraft dive, the likely scenario on October 29 when a Lion Air airplane crashed after takeoff in Indonesia, according to a new internal bulletin reviewed by Skift.
"We did not know this was on the [Boeing 737] MAX models", Weaks said in a Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time) interview, referring to a new automated flight control feature created to prevent the plane from stalling by automatically nudging its nose downward in response to externally collected flight data.
To counteract the anti-stall system, pilots are advised to switch off electric motors in the aircraft's tail that are causing the plane's nose to pitch downward. MCAS intervenes at a threshold angle of attack and automatically trims nose down at a rate of 0.27 degrees per second to a maximum of 2.5 degrees.
An Indonesian woman who lost her fiance in last month's Lion Air plane crash near Jakarta went ahead with their planned wedding alone, to fulfil his last wish.
"We were just joking at that time", Ms Syari told The Associated Press overnight.
Pratama was one of 189 people killed in the Lion Air flight bound for Pangkal Pinang that crashed soon after taking off from Jakarta on October 29.
Captain Daniel Putut Kuncoro Adi, Managing Director of Lion Air Group, told CNN Wednesday that the airline is "collecting all information in our internal investigation, we were working with our experts in (operations and engineering) departments, but again we do respect the investigation process done by (Indonesian safety inspectors), and we look forward to the report".
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The crash is said to be a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and US.
And while the FAA investigates the situation and the families of victims await answers, it is no secret that Boeing has faced issues with its risk analysis procedures in the past, including when it failed to recognize or counteract potentially fire-prone rechargeable lithium batteries installed in the 787 aircraft. Southwest has also ordered 257 more and American, which was the world's largest airline, ordered 85 more of the model. "The bottom line here is the 737 MAX is safe and safety is a core value for us".
Crews are usually trained to deal with this kind of failure and Boeing "has drawn the airlines' attention to it", he explained.
In response, the Boeing 737 MAX flight controls will override the pilot and pull down the nose, even if the aircraft is being flown on manual mode and not on autopilot.
After the crash of Lion Air flight JT 610 aircraft manufacturer Boeing is under pressure.
Boeing said the operational bulletin pointed crews to "existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input" from the sensors involved in the Indonesia incident, the AOA sensors. The FAA's emergency directive required that USA carriers revise flight manuals and said the agency "will take further action if findings from the accident investigation warrant".
A detailed report on the reasons behind the crash, and the technical problems of the Boeing 737 Max can be found here.