Crashed Lion Air jet had damaged airspeed indicator on last 4 flights

Clay Curtis
November 7, 2018

The revelation came after data was downloaded from the plane's flight data recorder (an orange device known as a black box), said Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).

The brand new Lion Air jet that crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Indonesia's capital city one week ago had an airspeed indicator problem on its four previous flights, investigators revealed Monday.

A Boeing 737 MAX owned by an Indonesian low-coster fell into the Java Sea, killing all 189 on board, on October 29.

The damage was revealed after data had been downloaded from the plane's flight data recorder, KNKT chief Soerjanto Tjahjono told reporters, adding that it was asking Boeing and U.S. authorities what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world.

Boeing declined to comment.

Utomo confirmed to CNN that there were two airspeed indicators in the cockpit.

On Oct. 31, a Lion Air spokesman told Bloomberg that pilots had reported an issue calculating airspeed during that Oct. 28 flight.

Passengers who were on the plane's last flight before it crashed said the plane was climbing and dropping so wildly that people onboard were panicking, and some vomited.

An area that investigators will want to explore is how Lion Air addressed a recurring problem on the plane.

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Six black box experts from four different countries are now analyzing the flight data recorder to piece together the last moments of the 737 before it crashed.

The plane was only a few months old and had logged a total of 19 flights and 800 flying hours.

Divers are still searching for the cockpit voice recorder, which is also often called a black box.

Lion Air is one of Indonesia's youngest airlines but has grown rapidly, flying to dozens of domestic and global destinations. "These are the things we are trying to find out: what was the damage and how it was fixed". Tears flowed as flowers were thrown into the water in remembrance of the 189 lives lost on board Lion Air flight JT-610.

Lion's earlier admission that the jet had a technical issue - and the captain's request to turn back to the airport minutes before the crash - have raised questions about whether it had faults specific to one of the world's newest and most advanced commercial passenger planes.

Data transmitted from the plane and captured by indicates that the plane continued flying at high speed away from the airport to which they meant to return, which Cox said seemed unusual.

Lion Air is one of the youngest airlines in Indonesia but has rapidly grown, expanding its flights in Southeast Asia.

In addition, aviation regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency often follow such actions by mandating that carriers follow the bulletins.

"The plane was intact when it plunged to the sea, it did not explode in the air, and the aircraft engine was running when it touched the water at high RPM it's marked by the loss of all blades of the turbine", he said.

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