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Boeing withheld information on plane that crashed in Indonesia


Washington/Jakarta, Nov 15 (IANS): Boeing was facing mounting pressure over last month's Indonesia plane crash as the owner of the doomed jet joined a US pilots' group in alleging that the company failed to warn pilots about potential hazards of a new safety feature.

Zwingli Silalahi, Lion Air's operational director, told CNN on Wednesday that the manual for Boeing's 737 MAX 8, the model that crashed into the Java Sea last month killing all 189 on board, did not include a warning about a critical feature that could cause the plane to dive.

Zwingli said the manual did not tell pilots that in certain situations, the plane's stall-prevention system could automatically trigger a response, such as lowering the airplane's nose, to prevent or exit a stall.

"We don't have that in the manual of the Boeing 737 MAX 8. That's why we don't have the special training for that specific situation," he said.

Investigators were examining whether a sensor on the outside of the plane transmitted incorrect data that could have triggered the stall-prevention system.

The airline's claims come after Boeing was similarly accused on Tuesday by the Allied Pilots Association (APA) of withholding information about the potential danger of the plane's new features.

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed shortly after taking off from Jakarta on October 29. Investigators believe the MAX 8 plane may have experienced problems with several sensors.

Boeing said last week that a safety bulletin issued to aircraft operators in the wake of the crash was merely meant to reinforce existing procedures.

Both Lion Air and the APA have now rejected the company's assertion.

Zwingli added that Boeing's safety bulletin did not suggest additional training for pilots operating that aircraft.

"We didn't receive any information from Boeing or from regulator about that additional training for our pilots," he told CNN.


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