Day before crash, off-duty pilot saved Lion Air Flight 610: Reports

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 22, 2019 13:14 hrs
Lion Air

Indonesia: An off-duty pilot reportedly saved the Lion Air Flight 610 that faced problems related to the flight control system, a day before the plane, with a different crew, plunged into the Java Sea with 189 people on board in October last year.

According to local media reports, the new investigation into the cockpit voice recorder of the doomed flight revealed that the pilots faced similar problems just before the Lion Air plane plunged off the coast of Indonesia.

The pilots reportedly struggled through pages of plane's instruction manual at the last moment to understand why the aircraft was lurching downwards.

The Indonesian authorities had found the cockpit voice recorder in the Java Sea on January 14 and it could take at least a year to publish a full report into the crash, reports said.

According to reports, the revelation of an extra pilot saving the plane before the crash was never made before. This is the first time where the contents of the Lion Air flight's voice recorder have been made public, according to three people familiar with the matter.

However, the presence of a third pilot in the cockpit of the doomed flight was not stated in the previous reports of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee.

The Indonesian authorities had confirmed earlier that the plane's angle of attack (AOA) sensor after the Lion Air Flight 610 completed a flight from Manado in North Sulawesi to Denpasar in Bali, both located in Indonesia. The same flight then made another flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang before the pilots reported further issues.

The AOA sensors send information to the aircraft's computers about the angle of the jet's nose relative to the airflow over and under the wings to help determine whether the plane is about to stall, as per reports.

The pilots of the ill-fated jet tried hard to pull the plane up but kept on descending before it ultimately plunged into the Java Sea. According to a preliminary report, the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 was blamed due to erroneous data from a sensor which was causing the plane's new automated stabiliser system to push the aircraft's nose down.

Less than five months later, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board on March 10.

Initial data from the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines jet showed an erratic flight course when the plane was in the air for about six minutes before it crashed into a field just outside Addis Ababa.

Satellite information revealed that the plane had been ascending and descending at times while flying at speeds beyond what was mandated during the normal takeoff procedure.

The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which has been involved in two major crashes in the last five months, has been grounded by scores of governments and airlines citing safety concerns.

Investigators have said they found similarities in both the plane crashes which resulted due to drastic speed fluctuations during ascent.

Boeing, in a statement, had said that it remains confident in the safety of the jets, but that it recommended the shutdown itself "out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety."