Lion Air families told of fatal Boeing 737 crash causes

Workers look at parts of the wreckage of crashed Lion Air flight JT610Image copyright EPA

Mechanical and design problems with the flight control system were among the causes of last year’s Lion Air crash, families of the victims have been told.

Indonesian investigators focused on a system used to improve handling and prevent stalling on the Boeing 737 Max which crashed, killing 189 people.

The 737 Max model was grounded after an Ethiopian Airlines crash in March 2019.

On Tuesday, Boeing’s Kevin McAllister was ousted, the most senior executive to go in the wake of the crashes.

Boeing did not comment ahead of formal publication of the report in to the Lion Air crash, which took place 13 minutes after take off from Jakarta on 29 October.

The US company’s third quarter results, due later on Wednesday, are expected to be dominated by the fall-out from the two fatal crashes and the financial impact from the continued grounding of the 737 Max

On Tuesday, Boeing said Mr McAllister, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplane was leaving, becoming most senior official to leave since the two crashes which killed a total of 346 people.

Boeing’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg was stripped of his title as chairman by the board this month and under pressure to explain what the company knew about issues with the 737 Max.

The final report by Indonesian investors into the Lion Air crash is expected to published on Friday but an outline provided to families affected highlights issues with the MCAS (Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System), which was designed to make the aircraft easier to fly.

According to reports, families have been told that there were incorrect assumptions about how the MCAS control system would behave and that the “deficiencies” had been highlighted during training.

Slides from the briefing to the families showed that there was a lack of documentation about how a “stick shaker” – warning pilots of a loss of lift – would work.

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