The Jakarta Post
Following scrutiny over a defect in one of its best-selling aircrafts, United States plane manufacturer Boeing said it was confident about the safety of the 737 MAX, of which thousands have been sold worldwide.
Lion Air JT610, which used a 737 MAX 8, plummeted into the sea minutes after takeoff from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, nosing downward so suddenly that it may have hit speeds of 965.6 kilometers an hour before slamming into the water.
It was the first crash involving a MAX 8, raising concerns about the popular model, which is equipped with the latest technology, including an automated flight control that allows nose-down tail movements.
The National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), which is investigating the Lion Air crash, found that the plane had experienced an erroneous input from one of its Angle of Attack (AOA) sensors, which is suspected to be the result of the automated flight control feature, which had not been incorporated in previous models.
Boeing later issued a manual bulletin to notify pilots about the possible false input from the sensors and how to respond to it. This has only fueled the controversy surrounding the aircraft, with pilot unions arguing that they should have been notified earlier.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently looking into a possible design flaw in the aircraft design, The Seattle Times reported.
Boeing spokesperson Caroline Hutcheson said the company was taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of the Lion Air accident, as it was working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved.
“We are confident in the safety of the 737 MAX. Safety remains our top priority and is a core value for everyone at Boeing,” she told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
Earlier, CEO Dennis Muilenburg told Fox Business Network that the aircraft was safe to fly as the company had spent “thousands of hours of testing and evaluating and simulating.”
“As the Indonesian authorities have pointed out, initially there were some indications of an inaccurate angle attack signal that was being sent to the airplane,” he said. “And of course, the airplane has the ability to handle that and we have the procedures in place.”