Lion Air pilots struggled to control plane that crashed in Indonesia

In this Nov. 1, 2018, file photo, members of the National Transportation Safety Committee lift a box containing the flight data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet onboard a rescue ship anchored in the waters of Tanjung Karawang, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Fauzy Chaniago, File)
Updated 28 November 2018
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Lion Air pilots struggled to control plane that crashed in Indonesia

  • The latest version of Boeing’s popular 737 jetliner includes an automated system that pushes the nose down if a sensor detects that the nose is pointed so high
  • The new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board.
JAKARTA, Indonesia: Black box data show Lion Air pilots struggled to maintain control of a Boeing jet as its automatic safety system repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down, according to a draft of a preliminary report by Indonesian authorities investigating last month’s deadly crash.
The investigators are focusing on whether faulty information from sensors led the plane’s system to force the nose down. The new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people on board.
Information from the Lion Air jet’s flight data recorder was included in a briefing for the Indonesian Parliament.
Indonesian authorities were due to release the findings Wednesday but not to draw conclusions from the data they present.
Peter Lemme, an expert in aviation and satellite communications and a former Boeing engineer, wrote an analysis of the data on his blog.
The MAX aircraft, the latest version of Boeing’s popular 737 jetliner, includes an automated system that pushes the nose down if a sensor detects that the nose is pointed so high that the plane could go into an aerodynamic stall.
Lemme described “a deadly game of tag” in which the plane pointed down, the pilots countered by manually aiming the nose higher, only for the sequence to repeat about five seconds later. That happened 26 times, but pilots failed to recognize what was happening and follow the known procedure for countering incorrect activation of the automated safety system, Lemme told The Associated Press.
Lemme said he was also troubled that there weren’t easy checks to see if sensor information was correct, that the crew of the fatal flight apparently wasn’t warned that similar problems had occurred on previous flights, and that the Lion Air jet wasn’t fixed after those flights.
“Had they fixed the airplane, we would not have had the accident,” he said. “Every accident is a combination of events, so there is disappointment all around here,” he said.
Boeing did not immediately respond to two emails and a phone call requesting comment. The company said last week that it remains confident in the safety of the 737 MAX and had given airlines around the world two updates to “re-emphasize existing procedures for these situations.”
Pilots at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines complained this month that they had not been given all information about the new system on the MAX. More than 200 MAX jets have been delivered to airlines around the world.
The Indonesian investigation is continuing with help from US regulators and Boeing. Searchers have not found the plane’s cockpit voice recorder, which would provide more information about the pilots’ actions


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 9 sec ago
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time
TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.