Lion Air plane had same fault on four previous flights

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On October 29, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed in the sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 people on board.

PREMIUM Indonesia has been shocked by the plane crash involving Lion Air flight JT610.

Boeing Co said on Wednesday it had issued a safety bulletin reminding pilots how to handle erroneous data from a key sensor in the wake of last week's crash in Indonesia.

These sensors measure the angle of attack of planes when climbing to ensure that they do not attempt to fly too steeply and stall.

The jet dove into the Java Sea at high speed on October 29, minutes after its takeoff from Jakarta in Indonesia.

The "black box" data recorder from a crashed Lion Air jet shows its airspeed indicator malfunctioned on its last four flights, investigators said on Monday, just hours after distraught relatives of victims confronted the airline's co-founder at a meeting organised by officials.

It was not immediately clear whether the problem with the crashed jet stemmed from a mechanical or maintenance issue.

Boeing declined to comment.

Frozen pitot tubes were blamed for the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, which killed all 228 people on board.

Indonesian accident investigators said an airspeed indicator of a Boeing Co 737 MAX plane that crashed last week was damaged for its last four flights, but United States authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks. The year before, the U.S. Air Force said moisture in sensors caused the 2008 crash of a B-2 stealth bomber on Guam; both pilots ejected safely.

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While victims' relatives are desperate to know what happened, the first crash of a Boeing 737 MAX is also the focus of scrutiny by the global aviation industry.

Boeing has an existing procedure that allows pilots to continue flying in the event that angle of attack readings become erroneous.

Boeing has more than 4,500 orders for the airliners, which feature larger engines, more aerodynamic wing and an upgraded cockpit with larger glass displays.

Many wept when they saw search personnel working. But the urgency of a fatal accident can trigger a flurry of such notices.

In addition, aviation regulators such as the US Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency often follow such actions by mandating that carriers follow the bulletins.

"Lion Air said the problem was fixed, is it true the problem was cleared?" asked Bambang Sukandar, whose son was on the flight.

"We are still focusing on handling the families of the victims, including returning their remains to their home", Sirait said by phone.

Representatives of 737 Max operators, Singapore Airlines offshoot SilkAir, Garuda Indonesia and Canada's WestJet, said they had not yet received a bulletin from Boeing, Reuters reports.

"As an initial step we conducted ramp checks for 11 Boeing 737 Max 8", said transport minister Sumadi, adding that authorities were also conducting a special audit to include operating procedures and crew qualifications.

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