• FAA issues directive after 737 MAX crash

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    The Federal Aviation Administration Wednesday issued an Emergency Air Worthiness Directive for the Renton-built Boeing 737 MAX after a Lion Air crash in Indonesia killed 189 people.

    The directive warns a malfunctioning sensor could cause the stabilizers to trim unnecessarily and send the plane into a nose dive.    

    The problem involves what's called the angle of attack sensor, which tells a pilot if the nose is up or down.

    If the sensor malfunctions, a pilot needs to quickly intervene.

    "Most pilots are trained to handle that situation very easily," said Capt. Ross Aimer, a former United Airlines pilot.

    Scott Hamilton, an aviation industry consultant with Leeham Company, said he didn't know what kind of training the Indonesian pilots had, but says it's clear Boeing has known about this problem and that U.S. pilots are trained to prevent it.

    "I'd have no qualms whatsoever about getting on the planes, certainly here in this country," Hamilton said.

    Three U.S. airlines currently fly the Boeing 737 MAX -- Southwest, American and United.

    "Based on what we know right now, I don't see any possibility that the planes would be grounded," Hamilton said.

    Boeing has delivered more than 200 737 MAX planes and has orders for some 4,500 more.

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