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By Timothy Tomasik

Investigators determined that Boeing’s 737 Max jet, operated by Lion Air jetliner, experienced erroneous AOA readings causing pilots to battle the jet plunging at approximately 600 miles an hour into the Java Sea. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to order airlines to follow Boeing’s Operations Manual Bulletin (OMB), an advisory on how pilots should handle false readings from an AOA (Angle of Attack) sensor. Tragically, this catastrophe took the lives of 189 passengers and crew on October 29, 2018.

The AOA sensor determines whether the airplane, or its wings, are properly angled against oncoming wind in order to maintain lift and prevent the airplane from falling out of the sky. If the sensor malfunctions, however, the airplane’s control system erroneously reacts to an aerodynamic stall – as if the airplane were falling out of the sky – causing the plane to take corrective measures, such as abruptly diving.

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