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Lion Air ends search for black box, Indonesian investigators plan own probe


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Lion Air ends search for black box, Indonesian investigators plan own probe

By Cindy Silviana and Fanny Potkin

 

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An Indonesian National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT) official carries debris from the crashed Lion Air flight JT610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, Indonesia, November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta/Files

 

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Lion Air has ended its search for the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from its Boeing 737 MAX jet that crashed into the Java Sea in October, but Indonesian investigators said they plan to launch their own probe as soon as possible.

 

The crash, the world's first of a Boeing Co 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018, killed all 189 people on board.

 

Contact with flight JT610 was lost 13 minutes after it took off on Oct. 29 from the capital Jakarta heading north to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.

 

The main wreckage and the CVR, one of two so-called black boxes, were not recovered in an initial search. Lion Air said in December it was funding a 38 billion rupiah ($2.64 million) search using the offshore supply ship MPV Everest.

 

The search using the ship ended on Saturday, Danang Mandala, the spokesman for Lion Air Group, told Reuters.

 

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Commission (KNKT), however, said on Thursday the agency would start its own search for the black box as soon as feasible.

 

The CVR is likely to hold vital clues that could give investigators insight into the actions of the pilots.

 

The KNKT spokesman said negotiations with the Indonesian navy were under way to use a navy ship to relaunch the search for the second black box as soon as possible.

 

"It might be as soon as next week. It won't be as fancy as the (Lion-subsidized) MPV Everest but will be equipped with a CVR detector and we already have a remote-operated vehicle," the commission's spokesman said.

 

The clock is ticking in the hunt for acoustic pings from the L3 Technologies Inc CVR fitted to the jet. It has a 90-day beacon, the manufacturer's online brochure shows.

 

A preliminary report by KNKT focused on airline maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor but did not give a cause for the crash.

 

"While we appreciate the fact Lion Air Group brought out the MPV Everest ship, we are disappointed because there's no actual results," Anton Sahadi, a relative of a victim of the plane crash, told Reuters by a text message.

 

"It has been a waste of money, of time and of a sophisticated ship ... for several weeks, we the families of victims were given only fake promises by Lion Air," he said, adding he was not confident in the government's efforts.

 

The family of the Indonesian co-pilot of the flight filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Friday against Boeing in Chicago, adding to litigation piling up against the planemaker.

 

The lawsuit alleges that the Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX jet was unreasonably dangerous because its sensors provided inconsistent information to both the pilots and the aircraft.

 

At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Boeing in Chicago by relatives of victims.

 

There has also been some debate among experts over Indonesian authorities' decision to ask Lion Air to pay for the search that ended on Saturday.

 

Safety experts say air accident investigation agencies typically lead the search for black boxes with public funding to ensure the independence of the process and that it is unusual to hand the task to one of the parties to the investigation.

 

Indonesian investigators previously said that bureaucratic wrangling and funding problems had hampered the search for the Lion Air CVR and they had turned to the airline for help.

 

In 2007, efforts to recover the black boxes from a crashed Adam Air jet were delayed by disagreements between the Indonesia and the airline over who should bear the cost.

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-1-3
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20 minutes ago, natway09 said:

Boeing may just be a little nervous about this one 

 

No news alerts when I look at my Boeing news in my portfolio so far. Last I heard the the plane had issues and Lion Air's maintenance ignored it and cleared the plane to fly knowing it wasn't airworthy.  The families may or may not win this suit but for Boeing it really doesn't matter it is business as usual. Perhaps the Indonesian government should do a more thorough search instead of making Lion Air fund the recovery which is not usually how crash investigations are carried out. 

 

It also appears that the victims families feel that Lion Air has been dishonest with them. if they find the black box it would likely vindicate Boeing. Boeing is one of the most respected  companies in the aviation industry, Lion Air not so much.

 

 

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As usual, an intersection of issues to bring a modern airliner down and plenty of shoulders share the blame.

Lion Aia has a history of maintenance issues and as a rapidly expanding low-cost carrier with a history of cutting corners. Boeing definitely has/had an issue with the training manual/bulletins on the issue experienced by this flight. Easy to blame the local pilots and airline but the US pilots/airlines are saying the same thing. This plane was essentially brand new, almost off the showroom floor. I shouldn't have been experiencing any problems but it was. As a new plane with news systems Boeing simply has some shortcomings in its operating manual. The pilots also share some blame. They are the last line of safety in the system. They are under tremendous pressure to fly from the airline and the passengers as well. If the plane was not fully and properly functioning they should have grounded the flight. The Indonesian government also is guilty. They need to support the pilots when they are getting pressure from the airline companies to just fly the plane, rather than rubberstamping airline company practices and operating parameters. 

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On 1/3/2019 at 11:38 AM, snoop1130 said:

Indonesian investigators previously said that bureaucratic wrangling and funding problems had hampered the search for the Lion Air CVR and they had turned to the airline for help.

Maybe there's some financial considerations getting in the way of officialdom. You know, an Indonesian company and an American plane manufacturer and someone, somewhere not being 101% honest and transparent about their obligations towards providing a safe travel environment.

 

7 hours ago, Cryingdick said:

Perhaps the Indonesian government should do a more thorough search instead of making Lion Air fund the recovery which is not usually how crash investigations are carried out. 

No perhaps about it. Something stinks and this distinct conflict of interest is just a part of it.

 

7 hours ago, Cryingdick said:

if they find the black box it would likely vindicate Boeing. Boeing is one of the most respected  companies in the aviation industry, Lion Air not so much.

Lion Air's reputation does cloud the issue but a truly open mind wouldn't suggest that Boeing is too good to fail. I wasn't too impressed with the Boeing's after-the-fact update of some calibration or maintenance procedure that if I recall correctly, also blindsided other operators of this new aircraft with a better safety reputation than Lion Air.

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2 hours ago, NanLaew said:

Maybe there's some financial considerations getting in the way of officialdom. You know, an Indonesian company and an American plane manufacturer and someone, somewhere not being 101% honest and transparent about their obligations towards providing a safe travel environment.

 

No perhaps about it. Something stinks and this distinct conflict of interest is just a part of it.

 

Lion Air's reputation does cloud the issue but a truly open mind wouldn't suggest that Boeing is too good to fail. I wasn't too impressed with the Boeing's after-the-fact update of some calibration or maintenance procedure that if I recall correctly, also blindsided other operators of this new aircraft with a better safety reputation than Lion Air.

 

If something is wrong on Boeing's end it is in their interest to figure it out and fix it ASAP. Boeing can't put out faulty planes if it wants to stay in business very long. To try cover anything up on their end would be a crazy move.

 

Lion Air had some trouble and knew the airplane wasn't airworthy. They chose to fly anyway. BA is up nicely this morning.

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16 hours ago, Cryingdick said:

Lion Air had some trouble and knew the airplane wasn't airworthy.

That would be libelous in Thailand maybe in Indonesia as well but since it's just your opinion, we'll let it go. AFAIK, the accident investigation is far, far from over.

 

The aircraft's flight data systems apparently reported a problem with the AoA sensors and a technician in Bali replaced one of them. I will speculate here that he probably was following a manufacturer-issued troubleshooting procedure when he did this. However, the issue persisted for at least 3 other flights including the final, fatal one.

 

This 737 derivative has significantly different aerodynamics from all previous versions due to the physically larger engines. This change in aerodynamics destabilises the aircraft in pitch at higher angles of attack; to deal with this, the MCAS flight control augmentation system is fitted to the 737 MAX. The question has been raised whether sufficient training on this has been featured in 'difference' pilot training. On 12th November 2018 (2 weeks after the crash), Aviation Week reviewed the 737 MAX flight crew operations manual and found that it did not mention the MCAS. American Airlines' Allied Pilots Association and Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association were also caught unaware. The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing had "decided against disclosing more details to cockpit crews due to concerns about inundating average pilots with too much information."

 

It would appear that Boeing may have chosen to leave out some fairly relevant information from both the manual and pilot training that left passengers lives at risk. But this may only be a concern when 'less than average' pilots are in the cockpit?

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