Lion Air Investigation Stalled By Lack Of Money

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Thanks to budget constraints and bureaucratic wrangling, investigators still haven’t recovered the cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air 737 MAX that crashed into the Java Sea off Jakarta six weeks ago. Indonesian investigators told Reuters this week that they need a specialized ship to find the CVR. “We don’t have further funds to rent the ship,” a source told the news agency.

Lion Air JT610 crashed into the Java Sea off Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people aboard. The 737 MAX’s flight data recorder was recovered quickly and an initial report based on its data was released in late November.

Investigators initially said the aircraft wasn’t airworthy but later clarified that claim by saying press reports misinterpreted the initial findings. The crash, the first of Boeing’s new MAX design, shed light on Boeing’s failure to fully document a new autotrim and stall protection system called MCAS. It automatically rolls in nose-down stabilizer trim if the aircraft flight computer senses impending stall angle of attack.

The initial report said the flight data showed that MCAS—Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System—was active during the minutes leading up the crash. Investigators say they need to retrieve the CVR to determine how the crew was diagnosing and reacting to what appears to be a faulty angle-of-attack sensor.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee says it needs a specialized ship to retrieve the wreckage believed to contain the CVR, but thus far hasn’t produced the money to pay for it. The airline may be asked to foot the bill.

Meanwhile, the airline is sticking to its plan to cancel $22 billion worth of orders to Boeing because it’s unhappy with the plane maker’s response to the crash. Still, the airline’s co-founder, Rusdi Kirana, told Bloomberg News that despite scrapping the Boeing orders, the company still plans to continue expanding its fleet.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Lion Air crash has prompted some airlines flying the MAX to reconsider their training programs and add tasks related to MCAS and runaway trim conditions. Pilot unions for at least two U.S. airlines complained that crews weren't adequately briefed about MCAS and Boeing responded by sending technical representatives to mend fences.

Comments (5)

So a discount airline with discount pilots and discount maintenance has a really bad accident.
Now we see that the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee is also a discount operation.

But hey, it's all Boeing's fault somehow.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | December 13, 2018 7:02 AM    Report this comment

Smells bad. Gofundme?

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 13, 2018 11:11 AM    Report this comment

To keep the PR dragons caged, Boeing might just want to step in and go get the CVR out of the ocean themselves... It's quite risky to jeopardize the Max program image due to a lack of organisation and funding in Indonesia, isn't it?

Posted by: Mauro Hernandez | December 13, 2018 11:27 AM    Report this comment

First off... since there is a left (Captain) and right (First Officer) AOA system there should be a comparator warning system. There also should be an aural warning for runaway if the clacking and motion of the trim wheel against your leg is not enough!!!! If you are going to automate put pilot proof safeguards in with back ups.

The Boeing Flight Crew Operating Manual (FCOM) describes the system. Airlines don't seem to listen to the Boeing Pilots or Tech Reps on any of their products. If the airline training departments do not include it in their training, particularly on a new aircraft....whose fault is it? Lack of knowledge kills. Particularly today in a very complex aviation environment.

Posted by: R T | December 14, 2018 6:47 AM    Report this comment

More like if you blame, you lame. Solve the technical problems, inform, instruct to prevent additional disasters.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 15, 2018 6:35 PM    Report this comment

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