The aircraft used for Lion Air flight JT610, which crashed into the Java Sea during a flight to Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung Islands, from Jakarta on Oct. 29 was in bad condition during previous flights, the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) has revealed.
The fact was revealed after the committee’s investigation into the downed aircraft’s flight data recorder (FDR), investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said on Wednesday upon releasing the KNKT’s preliminary report on the accident.
“The FDR recorded that the plane’s stick shaker was active prior to and during the flight from Denpasar, Bali, to Jakarta the night before the accident,” Nurcahyo said. A stick shaker is a device that gives a pilot warning of an imminent stall.
Apart from the stick shaker, the pilot of the Denpasar flight noted several other warning signs that appeared on the flight display, including one concerning the difference in the indicated airspeed.
The pilot also noticed that the airplane experienced an automatic trimming nose down. The copilot reacted by turning off the autopilot and flying the aircraft manually until it safely landed in Jakarta.
“In our opinion, the pilot should not have flown the aircraft in its condition,” Nurcahyo said.
After landing, the pilot reported the malfunction to the engineers, who performed a number of maintenance checks on the aircraft before it was used for the Pangkalpinang flight.
The JT610 flight was carrying 189 people, comprising eight flight crew and 181 passengers, including three minors.
The preliminary report, which contains the facts and evidence gathered by KNKT, was released 30 days after the accident.