Crashed Lion Air jet had air speed indicator glitch on fatal flight

An official from Indonesia's transportation safety agency examines a turbine engine from the crashed Lion Air plane

Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, with the help of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, has downloaded the previous 69 hours of flight data from the Flight Data Recorder for the planes' last 19 trips.

However, on November 5, the Indonesian Transportation Safety Committee, which is responsible for investigating the tragedy, pleaded with the US National Transportation and Safety Board as well as Boeing "to take necessary steps to prevent similar incidents, especially on the Boeing 737 Max, which number 200 aircraft all over the world".

Lion - always been dogged by safety problems - has said the Boeing 737-Max 8 suffered a technical issue on the flight just prior to its deadly crash Monday and that it was fixed.

In order to dispel rumors, "we want to clarify that in the black box there were four flights that experienced problems with the airspeed indicator", agency head Soerjanto Tjahjono said.

A spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Bloomberg News is quoting an unnamed source as saying Boeing plans to warn operators of its 737 MAX jets that erroneous readings from a flight monitoring system could cause the planes to dive aggressively.

Airspeed indicators have been around for decades to tell pilots how fast they are flying. "Data from the black box showed that the two flights before Denpasar-Jakarta also experienced the same problem".

On that flight the aircraft had erratic speed and altitude changes for about 10 seconds before the 737 stabilised.

Black box data recovered from the crashed Lion Air jet showed the plane had an airspeed indicator problem on its four flights.

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Investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said investigators need to review maintenance records, including what problems were reported, what repairs were done including whether components were replaced, and how the repairs were tested before the 2-month-old plane was declared airworthy. "These are the things we are trying to find out: what was the damage and how it was fixed".

The focus of continuing efforts will be to recover additional victim remains and to locate the CVR, he said.

"After 10 minutes in the air the plane dropped as if it was losing power".

Investigators have also revealed that the Lion Air 737 was intact when it hit the water with the engines running at high speed.

Pilots had reported a problem with one of the plane's instruments on a flight the day before the crash.

Divers have pulled the plane's flight data recorder from the water, but are still hunting for the cockpit voice recorder- a key device that could provide clues to what caused the nearly brand-new plane to plunge into the sea.

As the 270-square-mile search for debris widened over the weekend, Indonesian authorities broadened a review of Lion Air's operations, including the airline's standard operating procedures and flight-crew qualifications.

On Monday, Indonesian authorities said the aircraft was flying at high speed when it crashed into the sea on October 29, causing an enormous impact.

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