Boeing Didn’t Disclose 737 Safety Problem Before Lion Air Crash

November 13, 2018, 3:35 PM UTC

Boeing knew about a potentially dangerous flaw in a flight-control feature suspected in last month’s Lion Air crash but didn’t inform the airline, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Lion Air Flight 610 plummeted into the Java Sea 11 minutes after takeoff late last month, killing all 189 people on board, the New York Times reported.

Some updated models of the Boeing 737—like Flight 610—had automated stall prevention. The system was supposed to help the crew keep from raising the nose too high, which can cause an aerodynamic stall in which the wings no longer provide lift. But under unusual conditions, it can push the nose down with such force that crews can’t pull it up again.

There is evidence that the system worked with wrong information about the angle at which the plane was flying, according to the New York Times. That has raised questions of whether this safety feature caused the accident.

Boeing sent a global safety bulletin out a week after the accident, warning about the potential flaw, the Guardian reported.

But the company hadn’t previously let airlines know of the potential problem, according to safety experts, mid-level FAA officials, and pilots, according to the Journal.

“It’s pretty asinine for them to put a system on an airplane and not tell the pilots who are operating the airplane, especially when it deals with flight controls,” Capt. Mike Michaelis, chairman of the safety committee for union that represents American Airlines pilots, told the Journal. ” Why weren’t they trained on it?”