Nov 7, 2018

Boeing warns sensor in 737 MAX could cause planes to nosedive

Photo: Stephen Brashear via Getty Images

In the wake of a Lion Air crash that left 189 people dead off the coast of Indonesia last week, Boeing has issued a bulletin to airlines warning that erroneous readings by a key sensor could cause 737 MAX airplanes to suddenly nosedive, reports Bloomberg.

Why it matters: Per Axios science editor Andrew Freedman, the Lion Air crash is the first to involve the 737 MAX, which is a more powerful and efficient version of the popular 737. The aircraft is used on trans-Atlantic routes, and more than 4,700 are on order worldwide, Boeing says on its website. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to issue a directive requiring pilots to follow Boeing's safety bulletin, per Reuters.

The details: The preliminary findings of the Lion Air investigation have focused on erroneous input from one of the plane's angle of attack indicators. Such indicators feed instruments and pilots information about whether the nose is pointed up or down, and by how much. Erroneous readings could cause the plane's computers to detect an impending stall, or loss of lift, and force the nose down, overriding the pilot's inputs.

Boeing has sent 737-MAX operators instructions on how to control the plane in the event this should occur.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 855,007 — Total deaths: 42,032 — Total recoveries: 176,714.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 186,265 — Total deaths: 3,810 — Total recoveries: 6,910.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful" on Tuesday, with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The White House and other institutions are observing several models to help prepare for when COVID-19 is expected to peak in the U.S.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For many people who've lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow presents a stressful decision: Do you pay your rent or mortgage?

Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide tells Axios.

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