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20 Mar, 2019 10:28

Off-duty pilot reportedly saved Boeing 737 MAX from crashing day before disaster

Off-duty pilot reportedly saved Boeing 737 MAX from crashing day before disaster

An extra pilot, who hitched a ride on a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX a day before its crash in October, saved it during an emergency strikingly similar to the one that proved fatal, Bloomberg reports.

The new airliner plunged into the Java Sea killing all 189 people on board apparently due to a malfunction in an anti-stall system which pushed the nose of the aircraft down.

A day before the crash the same aircraft experienced a similar problem but was saved by an off-duty pilot who realized what was happening and instructed the crew on how to stop the system from affecting the flight, the agency said.

Also on rt.com French air crash investigators say ‘clear similarities’ between Boeing 737 MAX crashes

Indonesian air authorities earlier reported the incident itself and said a checklist of procedures were followed to handle the situation. But the presence of a third pilot in the cockpit or how the disaster was averted was not mentioned in the preliminary report into the crash, which was released in November. Bloomberg cites two people familiar with Indonesia’s investigation as sources for its story.

The Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, is designed to prevent the crew from accidentally lifting the nose of the jet too high which may result in stalling.

Before the crash a faulty sensor apparently indicated this was happening while in reality the plane was safe. The system pushed the nose of the 737 MAX down, plunging it into the sea.

Also on rt.com Boeing 737 MAX pilots frantically searched manual as craft flew into water – report

According to a separate Reuters report, the crew members – who were different from those at the helm of the plane during the averted disaster – failed to find a way to address the problem in their handbook.

Five months later, another Boeing 737 MAX crashed in Ethiopia. Preliminary reports indicate that the same system may have been the culprit. The second disaster led to a global wave of groundings of the model and an ongoing scandal over Boeing safety practices.

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