Doomed Lion Air jet's airspeed indicator failed on last four flights

Rusdi Kirana

Rusdi Kirana

The flight data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet shows it had an airspeed indicator problem on its last four flights, investigators say, after distraught relatives of victims confronted the airline's co-founder at a meeting organized by officials.

Authorities looked at the size of the debris field, and the fact that the engine blades were gone, to determine the new Boeing 737 MAX 8 was in "good shape" when it crashed October 29, killing all 189 people on board.

Mr Soerjanto told reporters the safety committee was asking Boeing and air safety authorities in the United States what action to take to prevent similar problems on this type of plane around the world. The NTSB, which conducts accident investigations and is assisting Indonesia in the probe, didn't respond to a request for comment.

The Lion Air investigation comes after Indonesia's government ordered an inspection of all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in the country. The committee said they were dealing with an erroneous airspeed indication. "People panicked. It dropped about 400 feet", said Gaharu, adding that he had confirmed the height of the drop on a flight-tracking website.

Tjahjono and investigator Nurcahyo Utomo told a news conference that the new information is consistent with earlier reports that the plane's speed and altitude were erratic, the Associated Press reported.

Data from the black box of the Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea with 189 people onboard has offered a clue about what went wrong by confirming an issue with the plane's airspeed indicator.

"Lion Air has failed". If malfunctions continue to occur on a component and routine maintenance procedures don't solve it, airlines are supposed to have a process to bring greater scrutiny to the issue, Cox said.

With the data recorder in the hands of investigators, the NTSC has recovered about 69 hours of flying data by the crashed jet during its last 19 trips. However, the Times noted, there has been no evidence of widespread problems with airspeed indicators in the Max 8 fleet. "This is what we do not know yet and we will find it out", he said.

Family members and friends have farewelled loved ones who died in the Lion Air plane crash in an emotional memorial service at the crash site in Indonesia.

Flight JT610 sped up as it suddenly lost altitude and then vanished from radar 12 minutes after take-off, with witnesses saying the single-aisle jet plunged into the water.

Meanwhile, divers continued to search for the aircraft's missing cockpit voice recorder, or "black box", which could help investigators piece together the doomed flight's final moments.

Authorities have yet to recover the jet's cockpit voice recorder from the sea floor, just northeast of Jakarta, where the plane crashed 13 minutes after taking off from the Indonesian capital.

"The plane was intact when it plunged to the sea, it did not explode in the air, and the aircraft engine was running when it touched the water at high RPM - it's marked by the loss of all blades of the turbine", KNKT agency head Tjahjono said.

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