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Behind the Lion Air Crash, a Trail of Decisions Kept Pilots in the Dark

By The New York Times

The story of a modification to the Boeing 737’s flight control system shows how competitive pressures and technological complexity can affect airliner safetyRead full story

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  • The trim system was identified as inoperative by the prior crew. This system is not on the MMEL (master minimum equipment list), hence it cannot be on lion air’s specific MEL. Therefore you cannot fly the aircraft with this know deficiency. You can only fly the aircraft if the system is specifically

    The trim system was identified as inoperative by the prior crew. This system is not on the MMEL (master minimum equipment list), hence it cannot be on lion air’s specific MEL. Therefore you cannot fly the aircraft with this know deficiency. You can only fly the aircraft if the system is specifically listed. This was not mentioned by the times.

    A runaway trim is not a new or necessarily unusual problem. Pilots are trained to deal with this problem as it has caused crashes before, like back in the 50s. The crew for the prior flight followed the appropriate procedure in shutting down the auto trim system, although they apparently brought it back on briefly, which they shouldn’t have done.

    The pilots of the crash aircraft apparently did not follow the emergency procedures. This is beyond unacceptable. Had they done so there would have been no issue.

    Two fatal mistakes. Taking off in an aircraft with an inoperative system when the aircraft is not allowed to be used with a known deficiency in that system. Not following approved emergency procedures for the aircraft.

    The lawyers and governments will beat the process to death. They’ll likely want to crucify Boeing as otherwise they’ll feel like they might have culpability. But there hasn’t been a major crash by a US carrier in a long time because of strict adherence to procedures. The last significant crash I can recall is the colgan air buffalo crash - where procedures were not followed by a regional airline resulting in a total loss of life.

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