The system, which wasn't on earlier versions of the popular 737, is a focal point of investigators probing the October 29 crash of Lion Air Flight 610. "We will always be eager and aggressive in gaining any knowledge of new aircraft". "The bottom line here is the 737 MAX is safe and safety is a core value for us... we ensure that airplanes are safe".
"At the present time, we have found no instances of AOA anomalies with our 737 Max 8 aircraft", the APA bulletin said, referring to angle of attack as AOA.
The MCAS system relies on readings from sensors on the plane, including devices that monitor how air is flowing over the wings.
Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, said Boeing's manual, which was used by carriers worldwide to instruct pilots on how to fly the Max 8, did not adequately describe how this automatic anti-stall system worked and what to do if it was triggered incorrectly.
United is one of three USA airlines that fly the Max, Boeing's newest model. But if pilots did not know exactly what system was in place, or that the data being fed into the system was wrong, their reactions could be fatally muddled, aviation experts said.
"It is something we did not have before in any of our training".
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The airline said the Boeing 777-300 was at the gate and ready for boarding when the horizontal stabiliser on its tail was clipped by another aircraft being towed causing significant damage.
"We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this incident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved", the company said, reiterating previous comments about the October 29 crash. The sensor helps to determine whether the plane is about to stall and dive.
Even though this problem was-according to investigators-not covered in the operating manual, pilots did have access to a checklist created to turn off errant systems when the plane started nosing downwards at the wrong time, said Soejono, a Lion Air instructor who like many Indonesians goes by one name. "Everyone on the 737 had to go through differences training for the MAX and it was never mentioned there either".
However, as training and documentation regarding this facility were excluded from the inductions to the new aircraft, the pilots of the Lion Air flight would not have stood a chance.
Boeing Co and United States aviation regulators are weighing whether to issue a software fix to the 737 Max, the aircraft type involved in a recent crash in Indonesia to ensure that the plane won't dive aggressively without pilot commands. However, the chief sensor used to predict a loss of lift - known as an angle-of-attack vane - was malfunctioning on the Lion Air flight.
Other major customers for the 737 MAX include FlyDubai with 7 in operation out of an order of 251, Jet Airways with a fleet of 5 out of a total of 220 on order and Lion Air who had received 13 of their order of 201. "That is positive news, but it is no assurance that the system will not fail". "But the pilots don't know this and are not trained on this".