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With Boeing in Cross Hairs, Lion Air Gets a Pass on Poor Safety Record

A focus on Boeing after two fatal crashes has given cover to an Indonesian air carrier with global ambitions — a company that will neither fully admit to, nor swiftly address, its safety issues. ( More...

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indy2001 10
Lion Air isn't out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination. While they may be improving some areas now I seriously doubt whether those improvements will last very long. In a year or two they will slip back into their shoddy ways because that's in their corporate culture. No matter how hard they try, they won't be able to cover up their past. During the court trials that are yet to be held the truth -- on all sides -- will come out. And you can bet the Boeing lawyers will focus on Lion Air's many weaknesses. Unfortunately one of the root causes is the corruption that is rampant in all parts of the Indonesian government and that won't change any time soon.
Kent Anderson 7
A major contributor, IMO was that maintenance did not do their job properly after the Bali flight. I would bet they pencil whipped the sign-off on the night shift so they could go home early.
patrick baker 6
boeing ought to think again about sellling any more airliners to this Lion Air misfit bunch: they do have the ability to have more incidents based on poor maintenance, incompetent flight officers, and tired pilots flying too many hours in too few days, week after week. Let Airbus sell them their next airplanes and bid them good riddance.
Edward Bardes 2
Low cost airlines usually operate one type of airplane.
Greg S 4
Well, anybody who reads the report will come to two conclusions: Boeing fucked up big time and Lion Air is so very unsafe that nobody should be willing to fly on their planes. We know what Boeing did, now let's review Lion Air's (does it bother anybody that it rhymes with Ryan Air?) safety culture. #1) Not just a pilot but an entire flight crew somehow did not think it important to report erroneous MCAS activation which led to severe control problems. If I recall correctly they didn't report the stick shaker activation either. It boggles the mind how such a thing is possible. Their utter stupidity and unthinking attitude help kill everyone on the next flight. #2) Mechanic takes a misaligned AoA sensor (yes, misaligned by an American company) and fails to follow the installation guidance. The tests in the guidance would have discovered the misalignment. Then, after the crash, the mechanic supplies a video to investigators purportedly showing the test instruments reading proper alignment. Investigators then investigate and discover the video is of test done on another airplane. Incredible! #3) First officer is utterly unqualified to be anywhere near an airplane, let alone a 737. CVR indicates that during the period of maximum workload while the captain was trying to desperately to diagnose the problem the first officer performed no better than if there were hamster there instead. Was the captain also incompetent? We'll never be sure because he had to do both PF and PM jobs during the most critical moments. The previous flight crew had three hands working to solve their MCAS problem, this crew had essentially one. And there's more, read the report.
patrick baker 4
member airlines within the European Union and all north american companies and their governments should make an emphatic statement about denying rights to this misfit company to fly within their markets and cities and countries due to the rest of the defficiencies of this company not related to the bad design of the Boeing max aircraft resulting in the crash in question and other incidents of the last few years. Let us prevent Lion air from crashing their airliners in other parts of the world too. Inept company, corrupt airline regulation , pilots flying way too many hours makes Lion Air unsafe at any speed... with apologies to Ralph Nader....
M20ExecDriver 2
Corruption? It's not corruption as they see it. It's normal. Dysfunction as defined by Western mores is normal to not only Indonesia but the rest of the third world countries' air carriers AND governments. We can look at it through Western eyes but it will never be the same through their eyes. If anyone thinks the traveling public in those countries doesn't know what's going on and that they're taking a chance flying their home countries' airlines, doesn't understand the culture. As far as it changing? Fuggeddaboutit. It'll never happen, no matter how many crashes or deaths.We can sit and wonder how and why they get away with their behavior. It's because they can.
cowboybob 3
wow....good article...and from the NYTimes no less...shocking. But this has been and still is the gorilla in the room. Yes Boeing shoulders a good part of the blame on this one, but there are many other factors involved here which are dodging attention in this mess.
linbb -2
Figures as they never focused on the main cause of the crash. Piot error.
Torsten Hoff 10
Pilot error was just one factor in a chain of events that ultimately led to the crash.

The FAA doesn’t ground an aircraft type due to pilot error, they ground it due to design deficiencies. If the crashes were solely due to the actions of the four pilots at the controls during the crashes, the MAX would be in the air right now.
Kobe Hunte 7
Well said. The definitely would not ground it because of pilot error. There has to be a definite problem with the aircraft.
Kobe Hunte 2
They definitely* sorry.
alex hidveghy 5
Wrong, wrong!
As ANY aircraft accident investigator knows, a crash has more than one reason. Always. In the vast majority of cases it takes several circumstances coming together to produce an accident. The only time you can definitely point at the crew is when it’s a deliberate pilot suicide like the Eurowings A320.
As has already been pointed out on both the NYT article and other comments here, it’s bad maintenance, non-regulation of pilot duty and flight times, the aircraft itself and other factors not mentioned. In other words, multiple factors coming together.
Dubslow 8
Pilot error wasn't even in the top ten reasons that plane crashed. Did it help, no obviously not. But even with perfect airmanship it would have been an extremely tough situation to recover from. The pilots on the previous flight managed mostly because they had talked with maintenance about the AoA issues -- the crashflight pilots had no such clue.
airuphere 6
Hence.. the flight in bound lived and the out bound died of pilot error. They should of had those runaway trim items committed to memory, and when trouble shooting leftt the trim disconnected, and the pilot shouldn’t of had the FO flying. Read the report - blind leading blind. Other factors did play a roll but had the pilots done their job - it wouldn’t of crashed.. like the many other mcas issues that survived around the world.
alex hidveghy -1
Should of? Should HAVE is the proper sentence construction.
Roll? We’re not talking ailerons here, in this context it’s ROLE.
Second error is partially accepted due autocorrect but no proof-reading. However, the first is just very bad grammar and lack of knowledge.
Greg S 3
Because every discussion needs an annoying busybody correcting spelling and grammar mistakes. Thanks for stepping up to play that role. Way to take one for the team!
alex hidveghy 1
Some people have standards. Others don’t care and are the rubes. Enough said. It also speaks volumes about the state of education and a whole lot more. I care, you might not.
Better the busybody than the ignorant. Any day.
Torsten Hoff 9
Agreed. But the Ethiopian Airlines crash should never have happened. By that time the Lion Air crash was the talk of the industry and the link to the MCAS system well understood. Any pilot flying the MAX should have been paying attention and have had a game plan in case he/she found himself/herself in the same situation.

The Ethiopian Airlines crew had more time than the Lion Air crew, and they still failed to act appropriately.
Actually, the Ethiopian crew followed the prescribed "runaway trim" procedures. The Indonesian Lion Air flight crashed after twelve minutes. The Ethiopian? It was in the air for half that time.
Torsten Hoff 1
Thanks for correcting me. The way I remembered it the Ethiopian Airlines flight had more time and unsuccessfully tried to return to the airport.
The pilot error in Ethiopian's crash was leaving the thrust levers at take-off setting. They built up so much airspeed so fast that they could not trim manually. They chose to reverse the trim cutout, and then MCAS took over to kill them and their passengers. Because of massive overload they lost situational awareness
airuphere 4
And also having a cadet FO with under 300 hours total timr..
Mike Dryden 3
Which isn't, as many seem to say, pilot error. It's a failure of the training syllabus, a desperate effort to get green pilots into airframes and hope experience grows faster than luck runs out.
Edward Bardes 4
"Pilot error is not an answer; it is merely a symptom of some underlying problems."

-- NTSB investigator Alan Diehl
Greg S 1
It's probably best to wait for the report rather than speculate. If you don't diagnose quickly enough and the MCAS has managed to set the stabilizer at maximum aircraft nose position you are in a world of hurt. I have this image (sorry for the stereotype) of two lean 98 pound Ethiopian pilots pulling back on the yoke with all their might with one hand while trying desperately to crank the trim wheel as fast as they can with other, all the time with warning stick shaker activation, bells, chimes and alarms going off telling them contradictory things. I might be tempted to just give up and say "fuck it, Boeing, you win, go ahead and kill us all".
Greg S 1
should have said "... maximum aircraft nose *down* position ...".
btweston 1
You’re right. Newspapers are only allowed to write articles about one thing, and you get to pick what it is.

That’s why the press is so important.


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