Lion Air pilots battled doomed jet’s computerized safety system, black box shows
Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Black box data from the Lion Air jet that crashed in October reveals the pilots struggled to fight the plane’s malfunctioning safety system from takeoff to the moment it nose-dived into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board.
Information that surfaced Tuesday from the flight data recorder, scheduled to be released by Indonesian authorities on Wednesday, indicates the new model Boeing 737 MAX 8’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, or MCAS, falsely believed the plane was entering a stall, sparking a reaction from the safety system.
The captain’s stick vibrated, alerting the pilot to a perceived stall, and the jet initiated a nose down maneuver, designed to recover airspeed.
This occurred more than two dozen times with the pilots batting the aircraft’s misreadings instead of shutting off the system, a solution ABC News consultant and former NTSB Director of the Office of Aviation Safety Tom Haueter said is straightforward and part of commercial pilot training.
“The crew wasn’t handling the aircraft correctly,” Haueter told ABC News, adding that the pilots should have returned to the airport upon the first sign of trouble.
Search officials are still scouring the sea floor for the cockpit voice recorder. That black box’s pings are expected to die within the next few days.
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