The Lion Air Max 8 plane's angle-of-attack sensor, which helps aircraft maintain the correct pitch to stay airborne, was replaced the day before the October 29 crash after erroneous readings on a previous trip, the Indonesia National Transportation Safety Committee said Wednesday.
To find out how serious the risks are due to the malfunction of the sensor, the Indonesian investigator would carry out a flight reconstruction in the Boeing facility in the United States.
Boeing, the maker of the two-month old 737 Max plane, issued a safety bulletin directing pilots on what to do whenever there is an erroneous AOA sensor. The condition can even lead to "excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain (plane crash)".
This emergency AD was prompted by analysis performed by the manufacturer showing that if an erroneously high single angle of attack (AOA) sensor input is received by the flight control system, there is a potential for repeated nose-down trim commands of the horizontal stabilizer.
Both Boeing and the FAA are continuing to assist Indonesian officials in investigating the accident.
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The DGCA official said that within three days after receipt of FAA AD, changes to airplane flight manual have to be done, for procedures which have to be followed by flight crew.
Boeing has delivered 219 Max planes - the latest and most advanced 737 jets - since the models made their commercial debut past year with a Lion Air subsidiary.
Going forward, Tjahjano said, the KNKT investigators have to recover the cockpit voice recorder to find out what was happening in the last minutes before the plane crashed into the waters.
A Lion Air plane carrying 145 passengers was forced to abort its take-off from Indonesia's Bengkulu City on Wednesday night, after its left wing hit a pole.
One of the critical ways a plane determines if a stall is imminent is a measurement known as angle of attack, which is a calculation of the angle at which the wind is passing over the wings.
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The jet reported a discrepancy in its angle of attack sensor during a flight from Bali to Jakarta the day before it crashed.
False readings from the sensor can cause the aircraft to pitch downward in an attempt to avoid a stall when the plane is not being flown on autopilot.
Boeing is preparing to send a warning to all the operators that have taken delivery of its new 737 Max aircraft, according to an anonymous source cited by Bloomberg.
Pilots raise and lower the nose of Boeing jetliners by pushing and pulling on a yoke in the cockpit, which controls panels at the tail known as elevators.
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