Boeing warns of sensor issue on 737 MAX that causes plane to nosedive
Boeing has issued a warning to airlines using the company’s 737 MAX that some models may issue “erroneous data” to pilots that could cause the plane to nosedive.
This comes in the wake of a new Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashing into the sea not long after leaving Jakarta, Indonesia, and killing all 189 passengers on board.
The prevalent theory right now is that the crash was caused by the error Boeing is currently warning airlines about.
In its warning, the company cautioned that incorrect readings in “limited circumstances” could lead to the 737 MAX pitching straight down into a nosedive. The error erroneously tells pilots that there’s a stall in airflow, triggering an automated system that points the plane downward in an effort to regain speed.
Boeing’s safety bulletin also instructs flight crews on the potential malfunction, and the ways in which pilots should respond should the error occur. According to the company, the instructions are routine for trained pilots.
The Federal Aviation Administration also plans to issue an airworthiness directive for the plane in question.
In the United States, Southwest Airlines currently has 26 737 MAX planes in operation; American Airlines has 16.
Bloomberg reports that while Boeing’s bulletin instructs pilots on how to react to the error rather than repairing it entirely, the possibility remains that the malfunctioning equipment or software could be redesigned in the wake of the ongoing investigation into the Lion Air crash.