Even as Lion Air jet’s black box is found, some answers may be back in US


Posted on: November 1st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

PRADITA UTAMA/AFP/Getty Images(JAKARTA, Indonesia) — Representatives from Boeing, the manufacturer of the ill-fated Lion Air 737 that crashed Tuesday in the Java Sea and presumably killed all 189 people on board, have arrived in Indonesia to gather information and assist in the investigation.

Soon, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will join the probe.

The American presence in Indonesia is focused on uncovering any potential problems with the 21st-century aircraft. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the manufacturing giant’s best-seller and one of the most recent versions of the 737, considered the workhorse of the U.S. aviation system.

Officials in Indonesia on Thursday said they’d recovered Flight 610’s data recorder from the bottom of the sea, but there could be more answers already back in the United States.

This aircraft type has a high-tech data system designed to send hundreds of gigabytes worth of information to the ground as it flies, including flight deck displays, maintenance data, software information and engine health.

It’s called the Onboard Network System and every MAX 8 has a server installed in the aircraft, according to an article posted on Boeing’s website.

Boeing, the airline carrier and CFM — the engine maker on the MAX 8 — typically would receive this data.

But it’s up to each airline to decide to “subscribe” to the data downloads. It remains unclear whether or not Lion Air subscribes to the downloads. An airline representative did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

A Boeing representative declined to comment on whether or not Boeing successfully received data from this flight.

A representative of General Electric, which partially owns engine maker CFM, also declined to answer the question.

Anatashya Mengko, a mother of three who lives near the Jakarta airport, told ABC News that she saw smoke billowing from the underside of Flight 610 shortly after takeoff.

After seeing the plane leave the airport, she dropped her children at school and went to work. It was only later she learned the plane had crashed.

In 2014, Rolls Royce, another engine maker, was getting data from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 as it flew astray over the Indian Ocean; even though Malaysia Airlines was not a subscriber.

That aircraft and its 239 people on board are still missing.

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