Boeing 737 MAX: Indonesia recommends redesign, training …With another 737 brand grounded in S/Korea over cracks

 

Indonesia has recommended closer scrutiny of automated control systems, better design of flight deck alerts and accounting for a more diverse pilot population after last year’s fatal crash of a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX, the Seattle Times reported on Friday.

The newspaper received an advance copy of the final report on the October 29 crash in which all 189 people on board were killed.

Less than five months after the Lion Air accident, an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX also crashed, leading the plane to be grounded worldwide and sparking a corporate crisis at Boeing, the world’s biggest plane maker.

Indonesian investigators on Wednesday told families of the victims that a mix of factors contributed to the crash, including mechanical and design issues and a lack of documentation about how systems would behave.

“Deficiencies” in the flight crew’s communication and manual control of the aircraft contributed to the crash, as did alerts and distractions in the cockpit, according to slides presented to the families.
The final report said the first officer was unfamiliar with procedures and had shown issues in his handling of the aircraft during training, according to the Seattle Times.

When the aircraft encountered airspeed-reading problems after take-off, the first officer had to be asked twice by the captain to perform the checklist and it took him four minutes to find it in the quick reference handbook, the newspaper said.

The report also found that a critical sensor providing data to an anti-stall system had been miscalibrated by a repair shop in Florida and that there were strong indications that it was not tested during installation by Lion Air maintenance staff.

Lion Air should have grounded the plane following faults on earlier flights; the report said and added that 31 pages were missing from the airline’s October maintenance logs.

Lion Air did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s transport ministry on Friday said nine Boeing Co 737 NG planes in the country had been grounded after checks found structural cracks requiring repairs.

The suspension follows an order from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month for aircraft operators to inspect older Boeing 737 NGs for structural cracks.

Boeing on Oct. 11 said inspections of 810 of the planes globally had led to 38 requiring repair.

South Korea said it found nine planes with cracks among 42 planes examined.

Among the nine grounded planes are five operated by Korean Air Lines (003490.KS), according to transport ministry.

The 737 NG is the third-generation 737 and version before the now-grounded 737 MAX, which is not impacted by the cracking issue.

A Korean Air spokesman said the carrier has eighteen 737 NG aircrafts and will replace the five short-range airplanes with other jets.

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