Boeing signals flight control system problem may have contributed to 737 crash

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The doomed jet was a Boeing 737-Max 8, one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes, and there is still no answer as to what caused the crash.

Boeing said it had issued an "Operations Manual Bulletin" addressing flight crew procedures in cases where there is "erroneous input from an [Angle of Attack] sensor".

Boeing has issued a safety message to pilots on how to handle erroneous data from a key sensor on its 737 MAX aircraft in the wake of last week's deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

A Lion Air plane clipped a pole as it taxied to the runway at Bengkulu airport on Sumatra island on Wednesday (Nov 7), causing its left wing to tear and forcing all passengers to disembark. If the flow is disrupted by a plane going too slowly or climbing too steeply, that can cause the plane to lose the lift required for flight and plummet.

On Tuesday, Boeing issued a bulletin to all airlines and pilots who operate the 737 MAX.

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According to a company statement as of September 30, Boeing had 4,783 firm orders from 98 identified customers for the 737 Max.

Southwest issued a statement saying it has thoroughly reviewed Boeing's guidance. Following the protocol should be routine for well-trained pilots, though may be more challenging in the heat of the moment when equipment is malfunctioning and alarms are sounding.

All passengers on board the Lion Air 737 Max 8 were killed when the plane nosedived into the Java Sea on October 29 just minutes after taking off from Jakarta.

According to reports, the initial investigation into the flight pattern of JT610 has suggested that the sensor was producing incorrect data which the flight computer processed to trigger further errors.

This affects almost 250 aircraft flown by USA airlines like Southwest, American and United, the FAA said.

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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".

Investigators are likely focused on how a single sensor's failure resulted in a faulty command that didn't take into account information from a second sensor, said John Cox, CEO of Safety Operating Systems.

Indonesian investigators on Monday said an airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on the plane's last four flights.

He said the pilot had landed the plane safely on that occasion.

Body parts are still being recovered and divers continue to hunt for the cockpit voice recorder.

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The new details - gleaned from a recovered flight data recorder - come after the government said it was launching a "special audit" of the budget carrier's operations.

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