Crucial Sensor Most Likely Responsible For The Two Recent Boeing Crashes

Crucial Sensor Most Likely Responsible For The Two Recent Boeing Crashes | World War Wings Videos

Oleg V. Belyakov (top) / Public Domain | Bloomberg (bottom) / Instagram

In the wake of the latest tragedy involving a Boeing 737 Max 8, several countries have immediately put a ban on flying the aircraft until investigations are concluded. Ethiopia, Singapore, and China first pulled out from flying the aircraft but now bigger travel hubs such as France, Germany, Ireland and Australia followed suit. In the latest development, the United Kingdom and the United States grounded all their flights as well as other countries which are listed below.

View image on Twitter

The bans are a response to two Max 8s crashing within a span of just 5 months.

The Crashes

The first crash involved Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610 flying between two Indonesian islands. It crashed 12 minutes after takeoff on October 29th, 2018, killing all onboard.

PK-LQP, seen at Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. | Arvin Lienardi / Public Domain

Just 5 months later, another Max 8 crashed on March 11th, 2019, operated by Ethiopian Airlines. This time, the aircraft crashed only 6 minutes after takeoff, killing all onboard, onlookers saying in both cases the noses of both aircraft were pointed down before crashing.

AoA Sensor

Although these types of investigations take months if not years to officially conclude, it’s been apparent the problem in both crashes stemmed from the Angle of Attack (AoA) sensors sending erroneous information to the flight software.

A picture of an AoA sensor on an aircraft (bottom prong.) | Hunini / Public Domain

This system was designed to help pilots fly the aircraft as its center of gravity is different than previous models, so when the sensors pick up the plane pitching too quickly, it automatically brings the nose down to prevent a stall.

This is what allegedly happened during both flights with the pilots fighting the system for control. The wrong information was pitching the aircrafts’ noses down and when the crew tried to counter it, the automatic system won, causing the planes to crash. 

You can watch a more in-depth video of what happened in the PBS video below.

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