Indonesia Orders National Inspection Of All Boeing 737 MAX Planes
Two days after a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashed into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia, the national government has ordered an inspection of all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in service for national carriers in Indonesia.
Transportation ministry official Capt. Avirianto said Lion Air has 11 of the aircraft in service. Garuda, another carrier in Indonesia, has one Boeing 737 MAX. The transportation official said Garuda’s MAX was inspected already, but did not provide details of the inspection. The inspection for the Lion Air fleet is ongoing.
The move by the government of Indonesia is likely only a precautionary one. This is the first accident of a Boeing 737 MAX since Boeing made its first delivery of the aircraft in May 2017. The aircraft is used across the globe, including American airline companies that have purchased the aircraft.
Passenger Describes “Roller Coaster” Ride
Yesterday, a flight log showed an instrument error with the same Boeing 737 MAX that crashed on Monday morning into the Java Sea. Today, there are reports being put out from passengers who recall the flight the day before that seemed to have its own mechanical issues.
JT43, the flight on Sunday that used the same doomed aircraft, supposedly experienced trouble shortly after takeoff. According to Alon Soetanto, who was on that flight, “About three to eight minutes after it took off, I felt like the plane was losing power and unable to rise. That happened several times. We felt like in a roller coaster. Some passengers began to panic and vomit.”
The data from that flight seems to match the account of that passenger. It also seems to match similar data from JT610, the flight that plunged into the sea 13 minutes after takeoff. Indonesia National Transport Safety Committee (NTSC) deputy chief Haryo Satmiko confirmed that unreliable airspeed readings were reported on Sunday’s flight.
Another passenger onboard the Sunday flight, Conchita Caroline, said the flight returned to the gate before takeoff because of a mechanical issue. Passengers sat in the hot plane for over an hour as they awaited a maintenance check. The issue was supposedly fixed and the plane continued on its flight.
The President of Lion Air said in a statement that the problem associated from Sunday’s flight was fixed and the plane was cleared for flying the following day.
Instrument Error in Log
BBC is reporting that a maintenance log that they obtained and reviewed found that an instrument error occurred on a Sunday flight on the same Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX that crashed off the coast of Indonesia on Monday morning. The report suggested it was an issue with the altimeter and an unreliable airspeed indicator. Control was handed over to the first officer the day before during a flight en route to Jakarta.
Lion Air JT 610 lost contact with air traffic control 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta on a short one-hour flight. The plane reportedly asked for permission to return to the airport before the plane with 189 passengers and crew members crashed into the sea. All 189 people onboard are believed to be dead.
The pilot and first officer of the flight had over 11,000 combined flight hours. The aircraft was put into service August 15, 2018 and only had 800 hours of flight time.
It is not known if this instrument error had anything to do with the tragic crash that happened Monday morning. The investigation into the incident will likely be lengthy, and it will be sometime whether we know the cause of the accident for sure.