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Boeing 737 Max ‘sensor’ issues flagged 216 times to the US FAA

The Thaiger

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Boeing 737 Max ‘sensor’ issues flagged 216 times to the US FAA | The Thaiger
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A small sensor, sitting just outside the cockpit of the Boeing 737 Max jets, was previously flagged in more than 200 incident reports submitted to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

But Boeing admits it did not flight-test the scenario which may have caused the crashes of two of its brand new jets – one in Ethiopia and one in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The angle-of-attack sensor sends data to a 737 Max software system that would push down the nose of the aircraft if it sensed that the jet may stall. That software, the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), triggered by erroneous data from the outboard sensors, is believed to have contributed to the crashes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines jets.

Now it emerges that the US FAA had received at least 216 reports of the same sensors failing or having to be repaired, replaced or adjusted since 2004. This is according to data from the FAA’s Service Difficulty Reporting website.

Those reports, about one-fifth of which involve Boeing planes, include incidents in which Angle-Of-Attack (AOA) sensors were frozen, improperly installed, struck by lightning or even hit by flying birds. In some cases, faulty sensors led to stall warnings, forcing pilots to abort takeoffs or perform emergency landings.

In one 2011 case, the flight crew on a Boeing 737-800 reported that the “angle of attack and airspeed failed” and declared an emergency. The FAA also issued two directives for various Boeing aircraft models before the 737 MAX was released, indicating that Boeing was aware of the potential for the sensors to cause problems in its planes.

Another FAA directive published in 2016 warned that AOA sensors on Boeing MD-90-30 airplanes needed to be modified and tested to address “the unsafe condition on these products.”

In a statement to US cable network CNN, a Boeing spokesperson says the 737 Max and its stall-prevention system, called MCAS, were certified in accordance with all FAA requirements, and that Boeing’s analysis for the plane determined that in the event of erroneous inputs from an AOA sensor, pilots would be able to maintain control of the plane by following established procedures.

A preliminary report by Ethiopian government officials suggests that a malfunctioning AOA sensor on Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in March fed erroneous data to the MCAS, which repeatedly forced the nose of the plane down as pilots struggled in vain to regain control.

Following the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crash, the family of an American woman who died has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines and Rosemount Aerospace, which allegedes they made a faulty AOA sensor believed to have played a role in the crash, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit accuses Boeing of putting “profits over safety,” and rushing the 737 Max 8 to market to compete with rival Airbus and that company’s A320 family of aircraft.

Boeing 737 Max 'sensor' issues flagged 216 times to the US FAA | News by The Thaiger

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Visa

Make an appointment online for tourist visa extensions – Thai Immigration

Caitlin Ashworth

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Make an appointment online for tourist visa extensions – Thai Immigration | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

For those who need to extend their tourist visa, the Thai Immigration Bureau asks that applicants make an appointment online to reserve their spot in line. The bureau says the online appointments are aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 by reducing overcrowding and making sure people abide by social distancing practices.

Applicants who need to extend a tourist visa, or the new Special Tourist Visa, should make an online reservation queue at bangkokimmigration.com. Walk-in services are still available at Muang Thong Thani Temporary Services Centre.

When making a queue reservation, fill in the required information, print out the confirmation email and bring it to the appointment.

Make an appointment online for tourist visa extensions - Thai Immigration | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Thai police arrest 3 people for allegedly tricking women into prostitution work overseas

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai police arrest 3 people for allegedly tricking women into prostitution work overseas | The Thaiger
Stock photo via Google

Police arrested 3 people for allegedly recruiting Thai women to work overseas in the United Arab Emirates where they were forced into prostitution. The suspects allegedly told the women that they would work as masseuses, promising of good pay and assuring them that the work did not involve sex, according to the Department of Special Investigations deputy director general Supat Thamthanarug.

The women signed an agreement before travelling to the UAE, promising to pay back their travel expenses. Once they arrived, they went straight to a massage parlour in Dubai and their passports taken away. Some were taken to a brothel in Abu Dhabi, Supat says.

The suspects, whose names were withheld, were charged with colluding to violate anti-human trafficking regulations as well as detaining or depriving others of their freedom. Police say a suspect was arrested in Chon Buri and the other 2 were arrested in Ubon Ratchathani.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

Stop the burn – Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste

The Thaiger

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Stop the burn – Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste | The Thaiger

Provincial governors in Thailand’s farming areas are being told to mitigate the burning off of agri-business waste by farmers in their provinces. The annual burn-offs are the biggest cause of the December to April air pollution in Bangkok and Central Thailand which lie in the wake of the light north-easterly breezes this time of the year. The burn-offs partly co-incide with the lighter annual north-easterly monsoons.

Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, a spokesman for Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, has been one of the first to openly admit that the agri-fires are the common denominator in the capital’s annual smog woes. Over recent decades Bangkok’s Pollution Control department has trotted out any number of PR stunts, including water-spraying drones and asking temples to stop lighting josh sticks.

Now that spokesperson says that the accumulation of PM2.5 micron dust in the atmosphere… “mainly caused by outdoor burning of waste, especially on farms, combined with poor air circulation, has been posing a health risk for the past several days”.

Deputy PM Prawit has now ordered all provincial governors to send teams to warn farmers to stop the burning or face prosecution. It’s not the first order from the top directed at farmers trying to find cheap ways to get rid of agri-waste and prepare their plantations for the next crop. But, despite the ‘warnings’ in the past the practice has continued largely unenforced.

Thai farmers conduct the burn-off activities to reduce the amount of leftover materials – biowaste – like stalk tops, leaves and refuse left after the harvesting. Rice farmers also routinely burn rice stubble – the residual plant waste to prepare fields for the next season of crops.

Around 70-75% of Thailand’s sugar production is sent overseas and the country ranks second in exports just behind Brazil. It’s a big industry. The government also introduced a quota, distribution and price support system between growers and millers which has helped to artificially keep a ceiling on the export prices. Most of Thailand’s sugarcane plantations are in the Central and Northeast regions, some of them, evidenced by the fire maps, are less than 100 kilometres north of the capital.

But the Natural Resources and Environment Minister Woravut Silpaarcha is resorting to the old government narrative, repeating that officials at the Pollution Control Department will have to coordinate with the Interior Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to “intensify efforts to reduce emissions of PM2.5 dust from vehicles and factories”.

He’s also suggested that companies should allow employees to work from home to reduce the amount of vehicles on the city’s roads.

The Pollution Control Department is now estimating that the biomass burn-off contribution to the PM2.5 levels could vary between 24 – 38%, with the majority of it coming from sugarcane and rice burning. Most of the concentrations of agri-burning is around Northern Thailand and in the farmlands north of Bangkok. These areas also suffer considerably from the direct effects of the smoke. Fire maps also indicate that an even worse problem exists in northern Cambodia and north-west Myanmar where the burning carries on un-abated.

Stop the burn - Thai Governors told to stop farmers burning off agricultural waste | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHICS: firms2.modaps

The Thaiger has waged a long campaign to provide fire maps and air-pollution readings over the past 3 years as evidence of the contribution of the agri-burning to Bangkok’s annual smog problem. But officials have kept beating the same drum, blaming factories, vehicle traffic and old diesel buses (which certainly need to be regulated as well but are not the main cause of the December to April haze and smog).

 

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