Boeing issues bulletin in wake of 737 MAX crash

Lion Air 737 MAX
An artist’s conception shows the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet. (Boeing Illustration)

Boeing says it has issued an operations manual bulletin to address concerns about erroneous readings from a sensor that has been implicated in last week’s fatal crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX 8.

The jet dove into the Java Sea at high speed on Oct. 29, minutes after its takeoff from Jakarta in Indonesia. All 189 people aboard the plane were killed. Safety investigators said that pilots on the plane were dealing with inaccurate airspeed readings and asked to return to the airport just before the crash.

Boeing’s newly issued bulletin focuses on the 737 MAX’s angle-of-attack sensors, or AOA sensors, which are supposed to provide data about the angle at which wind is passing over the airplane’s wings. Boeing said the action was taken after the Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee indicated that the Lion Air jet experienced erroneous input from one of those sensors.

In a statement released late Nov. 6, Boeing said the bulletin directs operators to “existing flight crew procedures to address circumstances where there is erroneous input from an AOA sensor.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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