Lion Air Crash Victims’ Families To Rally As Hunt For Wreckage Steps Up


The Boeing Co 737 MAX jet crashed into the Java Sea on Oct. 29 shortly after take-off from Jakarta (file)

Jakarta: 

Families of some of the 189 people killed in a Lion Air plane crash plan a protest rally in Indonesia today, while stalled efforts to bring the main wreckage to the surface and find the second black box are set to resume next week.

The Boeing Co 737 MAX jet crashed into the Java Sea on Oct. 29 shortly after take-off from Jakarta, but the families expressed concern that the remains of 64 passengers have yet to be identified, with just 30 percent of the plane’s body found.

“The relatives hope that all members of our families who died in the accident can be found and their bodies buried in a proper way,” a group that says it represents about 50 families said in a statement.

“We hope the search for the victims will use vessels with sophisticated technology,” it added, ahead of the rally planned for outside the presidential palace in Jakarta.

Lion Air is paying for a specialised ship to help lift the main wreckage of flight JT 610 and give investigators a better chance of finding the cockpit voice recorder in a search that has lacked sophisticated equipment for the last month, news agency Reuters reported.

Indonesia’s national transport panel said the vessel was due to arrive on Monday.

The enhanced search will cost $2.8 million for the first 10 days, a source close to the airline said on Thursday, on condition of anonymity, adding that Lion Air is paying because the government does not have the budget.

A spokesman for Lion Air was unable to respond immediately to a request for comment.

A spokesman for the finance ministry could not provide immediate comment on the budget issue.

Lion Air’s decision to foot the bill is a rare test of global norms regarding search independence, as such costs are typically paid by governments.

In this case, investigators said they had faced bureaucratic wrangling and funding problems before Lion Air stepped in.

Safety experts say it is unusual for one of the parties to help fund an investigation, required by U.N. rules to be independent, so as to ensure trust in any safety recommendations made.

There are also broader concerns about resources available for such investigations worldwide, coupled with the risk of agencies being ensnared in legal disputes.

The clock is ticking in the hunt for acoustic pings coming from the L3 Technologies Inc cockpit voice recorder fitted to the jet. It has a 90-day beacon, the manufacturer’s online brochure shows.

The flight data recorder was retrieved three days after the crash, providing insight into aircraft systems and crew inputs, although the cause has yet to be determined.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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At Least Four killed, 43 Injured In Turkish Train Crash In Ankara


Four people were killed and 43 others were injured in a train crash in Ankara.

Ankara: 

Four people were killed and 43 others were injured in a crash involving a Turkish high speed train in Ankara today, Ankara Governor Vasip Sahin said.

Speaking to reporters at the crash site, Sahin said the high speed train, which was travelling to the central province of Konya, had crashed into a locomotive which carries out track inspections.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Tata Nexon Creates History With 5 Star Global NCAP Crash Test Rating


The subcompact Tata Nexon SUV has aimed for the stars quite literally! The Nexon has the maximum possible stars with a record-creating 5 star crash safety rating from Global NCAP. The Tata Nexon is the first made in India car from any manufacturer to achieve this.




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The Tata Nexon is the first ever India-made car to 5 star rating for NCAP Crash Tests

After scoring 4 stars in Global NCAP’s crash test in August this year, the Tata Nexon has made history by going the distance and becoming India’s first ever 5 Star car. The Nexon has achieved this by scoring 16.06 points out of a possible 17 – the highest as yet for any Indian made car. That this feat comes from an Indian manufacturer rather than a multinational is of significant importance. The car also underwent a side impact crash test, which is necessary to achieve this rating. Gunter Butschek, MD, Tata Motors told carandbike, “The Nexon achieving 5 stars at Global-NCAP is an exemplary achievement, and fortifies our intent for the future product portfolio.”

Watch Tata Nexon Getting 5 Stars In Global NCAP Crash Tests

Tata Nexon

Also Read: Tata Nexon Scores 4 Stars In Its First Global NCAP Crash Test

But what really helped the Tata Nexon to go from 4 to 5 stars? Alejandro Furas, Technical Director at Global NCAP explains, “The ABS, or anti-locking brakes, in a full channel version is a standard fitment for all the cars, so all the Nexon’s wheels have ABS in four channels. At the same time, the seat belt reminder was also now introduced by the manufacturer as a standard feature for driver and passenger side as well.” The Tata Nexon’s body shell and structure have remained unchanged since the August test, and it always had dual airbags as standard anyway. The car also retains its 3 star rating for child occupant safety.

8lktlago(The Tata Nexon scored 3 stars for child occupant safety)

Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Tata Motors says, “A few years back, nobody believed that safety would sell in India. However, today’s Indian customers have evolved and are better exposed to the international market. They are more conscious towards safety and have started putting vehicle safety amongst the top priorities of car purchase.”

38u45d4k(The Tata Nexon scored 16.06 points out of a possible 17)

The Tata Nexon’s earlier 4 and now 5 star rating is pushing other manufacturers into action too. And we now expect a flurry of 4 or 5 star cars from India. That is great news for the Indian industry and the Indian consumer – since these tests and results are more stringent than the newly mandated safety regulation implemented by the Indian government. “This car was entirely engineered in India and so it’s not like it required technical expertise from elsewhere. So it shows you what the Indian automobile industry is capable of. And the other thing to recognise, is that this is also the result of better crash test regulations from the Indian government. It’s a fantastic success story – a made in India success story around vehicle safety.” said David Ward, Secretary General, Global NCAP.

Also Read: Mahindra Marazzo Crash Test Results Out

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Tata plans to keep pushing the safety agenda and wants all future cars to meet either 5 or a minimum 4 star safety rating. It is likely the next car to be tested will be the upcoming Harrier compact SUV, though Tata is also keen to showcase the build quality of its smaller cars like the Tiago and Tigor.

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Mahindra Marazzo Gets 4 Star Crash Rating From Global NCAP


The recently launched new Mahindra Marazzo MPV has become the safest car in its class, with a high 4 star crash rating in the latest round of India crash tests by Global NCAP. It’s now also the 2nd highest car by overall score amongst all 32 India-made models tested by Global NCAP so far.




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Mahindra Marazzo came with ABS, dual airbags, seatbelt reminder for driver & co-driver as standard

The Mahindra Marazzo has become the first-ever made in India MPV or multi-purpose vehicle to get a 4 star crash safety rating from Global NCAP. The Indian company has been working very hard to implement a new safety ethos in its manufacturing, and the Marazzo is the first vehicle to display this intent. carandbike had exclusive access to the test as always. The Mahindra Marazzo has all the safety equipment as standard, and this includes ABS, dual airbags, and even the front passenger and driver seatbelt reminder. Rajan Wadhera, President – Automotive Sector, M&M told carandbike, “This is a proud moment for Mahindra as the 4 star rating for Adult Occupation Protection reiterates our commitment towards safety. We have designed the Marazzo with many new safety features to ensure a safe ride for our customers. With Safety being at the forefront for all our vehicles, I am sure that this recognition will spur us to achieve higher safety parameters for our entire range of vehicles”.

Mahindra Marazzo Crash Test Video

Mahindra Marazzo
iq6kjr7(The crash tested Mahindra Marazzo came with dual airbags, ABS and seatbelt reminder as standard)

The Mahindra Marazzo has received 4 stars for adult front occupant protection and also scored 2 stars for child occupant protection. This is also the highest score for any Mahindra car as well, and also higher than any other Indian made MPV tested so far by Global NCAP. The Renault Lodgy, Chevrolet Enjoy, and Maruti Suzuki Eeco had all failed their respective tests. The Honda Mobilio had also previously received zero stars, but a subsequent retest with dual airbags being made standard had resulted in a 3 star rating.

Also Read: Tata Nexon Creates History With 5 Star Global NCAP Crash Test Rating

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(The Mahindra Marazzo underwent a frontal offset crash test at 64 kmph, and received 4 stars for adult occupant safety)

The Marazzo was jointly developed by Mahindra R&D in Chennai and the Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) development centre. Representatives from both were present to witness this test. Mahindra would be proud, as this result now sets the foundation for its future products. Sources within the company say Mahindra will always aim for 4 or 5 stars and no lower for any upcoming models. The company’s next launch will be a subcompact SUV codenamed S201.

Also Read: Mahindra Marazzo Prices To Increase From January 1, 2019

ulbog0us(Global NCAP had the Marazzo shipped in from India a few days earlier for the crash test)

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Global NCAP had the car shipped in from India a few days earlier. And it underwent a frontal offset crash test at 64 kmph – the Global NCAP test protocol – at the ADAC crash test lab near Munich, Germany. This is more stringent than the new crash norms being implemented by the Indian government, which will see cars needing a 56 kmph test. At first glance, the Marazzo appeared to have done well. Good structural integrity was visually evident, due to the lack of any deforming of the A-pillar and of any perceptible intrusions into the cabin. The analysis that was carried out in the subsequent days, presented the strong result.

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Anand Mahindra Congratulates Tata Motors On Nexon Crash Test Rating


The Tata Nexon becoming the first ever car from an Indian manufacturer to receive a 5 star safety rating from Global NCAP.




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The Tata Nexon received 16.06 points out of a possible 17- the highest as yet for any Indian made car.

Made-in-India cars are finally getting a spotlight on the global stage. It was just yesterday that we told you about the Tata Nexon becoming the first ever car from an Indian manufacturer to receive a 5 star safety rating from Global NCAP. Congratulations have poured in from all over the world for Tata Motors and but there was one tweet we couldn’t ignore and that came from the Chairman of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra.

Also Read: Tata Nexon Receives 5 Star Safety Rating

Anand Mahindra posted a tweet which said, “Big shout out and congratulations to Tata Motors for this achievement. We will join them in proving that ‘Made in India’ is second to none.” Yes, Mahindra too had its share of success at the Global NCAP crash test with the Marazzo.

Also Read: Anand Mahindra Goads Musk To Bring Tesla To India

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The Mahindra Marazzo has become the safest car in its class with this 4 star rating

The recently launched new Mahindra Marazzo MPV has become the safest car in its class, with a high 4 star crash rating in the latest round of India crash tests by Global NCAP. It’s now also the 2nd highest car by overall score amongst all 32 India-made models tested by Global NCAP so far; the first of course being the Nexon.

Also Read: Mahindra Marazzo Receives 4 Star Safety Rating 

Secretary General, Global NCAP, David Ward, congratulated both Tata Motors and Mahindra by tweeting, “Great to see major Indian competitors TataMotors Mahindra celebrating their four & five star success in #SaferCarsForIndia!”

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The successful side impact test on the Nexon sealed its 5 star rating

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The global safety watchdog had given the Nexon a 4 star safety rating back in August 2018 and now the subcompact SUV has passed the side impact test with flying colours. The Tata Nexon received 16.06 points out of a possible 17- the highest as yet for any Indian made car. That this feat comes from an Indian manufacturer rather than a multinational is of significant importance.

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Global NCAP Crash Tests: How India-Made Cars Have Fared Over The Years


With the Tata Nexon becoming the first ever India-made car to score a 5-star rating, we look back at the journey of India-made cars at the Global NCAP crash tests since the first model was crash-tested in late 2013.




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The Tata Nexon is the first ever India-made car to 5 star rating for NCAP Crash Tests

It was in 2014 that Global New Car Assessment Programme or GNCAP launched the “Safer Cars for India” campaign in a bid to promote safer vehicles to be sold in the country. Between 2014 and 2018 Global NCAP has crash tested about 32 India-made cars and has made safety assessments for these as well. Over the last four years, this has played an important role and prompted manufacturers to make safer cars in India, which meet global standards. Sure, for the most part, 19 out of the 32 cars tested, have scored zero stars but the Indian automotive industry is slowly beginning to make safer cars and offer better active and passive safety equipment as standard and even as options.

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0d4fn8s(Here is a list of all India-made cars which have been crash tested by Global NCAP since 2014)

Also Read: Tata Nexon First India-Made Car To Get 5-Stars At Global NCAP Crash Tests

One of the first ever India-made cars to be crash tested was coincidentally a Tata, the Nano and needless to say, it did not have ABS, nor did it get airbags and the chassis structure was unstable to put it mildly. In 2014 Volkswagen decided to offer the Polo in India with twin airbags as standard, moving the protection level of this model from a high-risk of life threatening injuries at zero stars, to four (out of five) stars for adult occupant protection. The Toyota Etios too was one of the first cars to get 4 stars, when tested in February 2016.

o1so092s(The Mahindra Marazzo too became the first India-made MPV to get a 4 Star rating)

Also Read: Mahindra Marazzo Gets 4 Stars In Latest Round Of Global NCAP Crash Tests

Cars such as Renault Lodgy, Chevrolet Enjoy, and Maruti Suzuki Eeco too failed their respective crash tests. The Honda Mobilio had also received zero stars when it was tested first. But Honda started offering the Mobilio with dual airbags being made standard which led to the car getting 3 stars. More recently, it was the Mahindra Marazzo that got a 4 star rating at the latest round of global NCAP crash tests, becoming the first ever India-made MPV to do so.

Also Read: Toyota Etios Gets 4 Stars In Global NCAP Crash Tests

The Renault Kwid has been tested 4 times and only in the fourth round did it manage to get a single star rating. The Maruti Suzuki Swift too scored two stars in its second round of tests but the Vitara Brezza scored 4 stars in its first crash test, confirming that Maruti is more than capable of making safer cars.

Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Scored 4 Stars In Global NCAP Crash Tests

As far as crash tests are concerned, the government mandated law such as the US NCAP, Latin NCAP, Euro NCAP are less stringent than the Global NCAP crash tests. For starters, the Bharat New Vehicle Assessment Programme or BNVAP which will be mandated from next year will need new vehicles to be crash tested at 56 kmph. The Global NCAP conducts its crash tests at a higher speed of 64 kmph and therefore, it is commendable that India-made cars are getting a good score in Global NCAP crash tests.

eanc889s(Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza Scored 4 Stars in its GNCAP Crash Test)

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One of the companies worth mentioning is Tata Motors. As mentioned earlier, its first ever model to be crash tested, the Nano, led the company to receive a lot of flak. But since then, the company has come a long way. Following Nexon‘s four star results earlier this year, Tata has improved a number of safety features including making a Seat Belt Reminder for driver and passenger a standard for all variants of the model. In addition the Nexon was required to pass a side impact test meeting UN95 side impact protection requirements, which it did and scored five stars for adult occupant protection and three stars for child occupant protection. The Tata Zest too has a 4 star rating from Global NCAP and this goes on to show that Tata is committed to making safer, stronger cars for India in future.

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1 Dead, 5 Missing After 2 US Military Planes Crash Off Japan


US military and Japanese Self-Defense planes and vessels are searching for those still missing. (FILE)

Washington: 

One US Marine died and five were missing Thursday after two American military aircraft crashed during a refuelling operation off the coast of Japan, officials said.

Japanese and US military officials earlier said two of the seven crew of the planes had been found.

“One is in fair condition and the other has been declared deceased by competent medical personnel,” the US Marine Corps said late Thursday.

“US military and the Japanese Self-Defense planes and vessels are searching for those still missing… I hope all the members will be rescued safely as soon as possible,” Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said.

The search would continue through the night, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Marines were conducting “regularly scheduled training” when the crash occurred around 2:00 am local time, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement.

The F/A-18 fighter jet with two crew onboard and a KC-130 refuelling tanker with five crew crashed into the sea around 100 kilometres (55 nautical miles) off the cape of Muroto in southwestern Japan, Iwaya said.

The crew member rescued had been in the fighter jet, the minister confirmed.

Japan’s SDF had deployed nine aircraft and three vessels for the search, he said.

“We are thankful for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s efforts as they immediately responded in the search and rescue operation,” the Marines said.

A spokesman for the Japanese coastguard said six vessels and an aircraft had been dispatched separately to assist in the rescue efforts.

There are few details about the circumstances of what the Marines described as a “mishap” and an investigation is underway.

Public broadcaster NHK sent a helicopter to try to find the crash site but was unable to locate it due to heavy fog and rain.

During a normal KC-130 refuelling operation, the tanker aircraft trails a hose from the back of the plane with a so-called “drogue”, shaped a bit like a windsock, at the end.

The fighter jet then inserts a probe inside the drogue to receive fuel, which it can do at a rate of up to 300 gallons per minute, according to globalsecurity.org.

 “Appropriate measures”

The US military has about 50,000 troops stationed in Japan and accidents are not uncommon.

In November, a US navy fighter jet crashed into the sea off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa and its two crew members were rescued alive.

And in November 2017, a C-2A “Greyhound” aircraft with 11 people on board went down in the Philippine Sea — eight were rescued and the search was called off for the remaining three after a two-day search.

The US military has also experienced difficulties with its Osprey helicopters, with several emergency landings, a deadly crash and a piece of chopper falling on the grounds of a Japanese school.

Those incidents have stoked tensions between close military allies Washington and Tokyo and led to protests against the deployment of Ospreys by residents living near US bases.

Iwaya said the incident was “regrettable but at this point we are doing our utmost to rescue those still missing”.

“Later, if we get to know the details of the accident, we will take appropriate measures,” added Iwaya.

He said that there was no information that any passing vessels were affected by the crash.

Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni that hosts the US base where the two aircraft were based, told the city assembly he had asked the military to halt operations until the cause of the accident became clear.

“I will urge the government and the US military to take thorough measures in finding out the cause of the accident and preventing a repeat,” said Fukuda.

The US ambassador to Japan, Bill Hagerty, said he was sending “heartfelt thoughts and prayers to families and colleagues of those still missing” and also praised the Japanese response.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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2018 Fiat Panda Hatchback Scores 0 Stars In Euro NCAP Crash Test


The 2018 Fiat Panda hatchback, one of the most popular offerings from the Italian automaker has scored a very low 0 star rating in the latest Euro NCAP crash tests.

While the 0 Star Car is still a sad reality in India as we have seen recently with the Renault Lodgy, Europe more often than not has cars that scores a higher 4 or 5 star safety rating across the board. Which is why a 0 Star rated car is most certainly something to report about, even though the car in question is not really relevant to India in general. The 2018 Fiat Panda, one of the most popular offerings from the Italian automaker and also it’s cheapest hatchback has scored a dismal 0 star rating in the recent set of tests conducted by the Euro NCAP. The score on the Fiat Panda is one of the lowest ever seen.

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(Euro NCAP Fiat Panda Crash Test)

Unlike Global NCAP that tests cars that are made in India too, the Euro NCAP tests have far more parameters. The car goes through the usual frontal offset crash test as for the Indian cars but also has a side impact, a full frontal test and several pedestrian tests too. While the Panda’s compartment remained stable for the frontal offset test, the readings on the test dummy showcased weak chest compression. The test results also showcased that the knee and the femur protection was good but while subjected to a full frontal test, dummy readings indicated weak protection of the head and neck.

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(Fiat Panda)

Commenting on the results, Michiel van Ratingen, General Secretary, Euro NCAP said, “It is truly disappointing to see a brand-new car being put on sale in 2018 with no autonomous braking system and no lane assistance. It is high time we saw a product from the FIAT-Chrysler group offering safety to rival its competitors.”

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(Euro NCAP Fiat Panda Side Impact Crash Test)

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The Fiat Panda also scores really poorly in terms of children safety as tests for various ages showcased poor readings to the head and other parts of the body. Euro NCAP also tests car seats in specific for whiplash protection. Tests on the front seats and head restraints showcased marginal protection against whiplash injuries in the event of a rear end collision and the rear seats in particular indicated poor whiplash protection. The Panda also scored lower as it does not get any automated emergency braking systems or AED.

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All-Electric Jaguar I-Pace Scores 5 Stars In Euro NCAP Crash Test


The Jaguar I-Pace scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection, and 81 per cent for safety assist features.




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The Euro NCAP tested the I-Pace for side barrier impact and the more severe side pole test

Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) has recently released its latest crash test results and Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace SUV has scored a five-star rating. The Jaguar I-Pace scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection, and 81 per cent for safety assist features. The Euro NCAP tested the I-Pace for side barrier impact and the more severe side pole test, and the electric SUV scored maximum points in both, offering good protection of all critical body areas.

Also Read: Jaguar I-Pace Electric SUV Review


Jaguar
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The Jaguar I-Pace scored 91 per cent for adult occupant protection, 81 per cent for child occupant protection

Commenting on the Jaguar I-Pace receiving five stars in Euro NCAP crash test, Simon Black, Senior Project Leader, Body Engineering Jaguar Land Rover said, “The Jaguar I-PACE has already received awards for its design, performance and handling. This latest award from Euro NCAP confirms the I-PACE’s exceptional safety standards. The SUV has been expertly engineered with a lightweight aluminium body structure and integrated battery pack to provide outstanding crash protection for occupants. Safety is our biggest priority and it is fantastic to see the Euro NCAP results reflect this.”

Also Read: All-Electric Jaguar I-Pace Bags German Car Of The Year Award

The Jaguar I-Pace offers superior torsional rigidity thanks to its lightweight aluminium construction and its battery pack’s structural aluminium frame, which together add in improved stiffness. Furthermore, Jaguar has made use of industry-first aluminium forgings, and Jaguar-first applications of post-form heat treatment to increase the strength of the aluminium alloys used in crash-critical areas.

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Euro NCAP tested the I-Pace for side barrier impact and the more severe side pole test

In terms of safety, the Jaguar I-Pace comes with several features for incumbents and pedestrian safety as well. Features like – deployable bonnet and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection. Jaguar also designed a unique Audible Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) for its first electric vehicle that warns road users when the vehicle is approaching. Other safety and driver assist tech include – adaptive cruise control with steering assist, blind spot assist, and 360-degree parking aid.

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Incidentally, now Jaguars entire Pace range, F-Pace, E-Pace, and I-Pace, have been rated among the safest vehicles by Euro NCAP, with all three receiving five-star rating. In fact, the I-Pace is the tenth consecutive model from the British automaker to receive five stars in crash tests.

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Lion Air Crash Sheds Light on Dark Side of Cockpit Automation


For decades, planemakers have been adding automated systems to help pilots.

As Boeing Co. was developing its latest version of the 737 airliner, it discovered the design was slightly more prone to a loss of control. So the company added a computer-driven safety feature — one that is now a focus of the investigation into a fatal crash last month near Indonesia.

If preliminary findings are borne out, the Oct. 29 crash of the Lion Air 737 Max 8 may end up being one of a number of cases in which the cockpit automation that’s made flying safer also had the unintended consequence of confusing pilots and contributing to tragedy.

For decades, planemakers have been adding automated systems to help pilots set engine thrust, navigate with higher precision and even override the humans in the cockpit if they make mistakes. Airline disasters have become increasingly rare as a result, but automation-related crashes have become a growing share of the few that continue to occur, according to government studies and accident reports.

“There’s no question that automation has been a tremendous boon to safety in commercial aviation,” said Steve Wallace, who served as the chief accident investigator for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. “At the same time, there have been many accidents where automation was cited as a factor.”

Earlier: Lion Air Pilots Battled Confusing Malfunctions Before Crash.

A 2013 report by the FAA found more than 60 percent of 26 accidents over a decade involved pilots making errors after automated systems abruptly shut down or behaved in unexpected ways.

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Family members identify personal items of loved ones who were on board the ill-fated Lion Air flight. (AFP)

For example, pilots on Air France Flight 447 inexplicably made abrupt movements and lost control of their Airbus SE A330 over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 after they lost their airspeed readings and the plane’s automated flight protections disconnected. All 228 people on board died.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pilots of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that struck a seawall in San Francisco in 2013 while trying to land, killing three, didn’t realize they’d shut off their automatic speed control system in part because it wasn’t properly documented.

Pilots on Lion Air Flight 610 were battling multiple failures in the minutes after they took off from Jakarta on the early morning flight, according to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee. The pilots had asked to return to land as they dealt with the issues, but plunged into the Java Sea at high speed before they could get back, according to investigators. All 189 people aboard were killed.

Flight Recorder

Data from the recovered flight recorder shows that the Max’s new safety feature, known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, was triggered. An errant sensor signaled that the plane was in danger of stalling and prompted the MCAS to compensate by repeatedly sending the plane into a dive.

The pilots counteracted it repeatedly by flipping a switch to raise the nose manually, which temporarily disabled MCAS. The cycle repeated itself more than two dozen times before the plane entered it’s final dive, according to flight data.

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Recovered debris from the Lion Air flight. (AFP)

This occurred as multiple other systems were malfunctioning or issuing cockpit warnings. Most notably, the cockpit was permeated by the loud thumping sound of a device on the captain’s side of the cockpit known as a stick shaker, which is designed to warn the pilots they are in danger of losing lift on their wings. The stick shaker was erroneous too, prompted by the same false readings from the sensor.

More: Lion Air Jetliner Crash Followed Sequence of Avoidable Failures

Boeing didn’t respond to a request for comment on its automation, but has previously stressed that a procedure that pilots train for should have overcome the malfunction.

“Boeing is taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this accident, working closely with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board as technical advisers to support the NTSC as the investigation continues,” the aircraft maker said in an earlier statement.

Airline accidents almost never occur from a single cause and preliminary information from the investigation suggests multiple factors were at work in the fatal Lion Air flight.

While maintenance and pilot training may be found to be more significant, the underlying issue with an automation system behaving in unexpected ways puts the accident in a now-common category.

Man Versus Machine

Planemakers have been adding more automation to help pilots avoid errors as aviation technology has become increasingly sophisticated.

At Airbus, flight computers oversee pilots’ control inputs on models built since the late 1980s and won’t allow steep dives or turns deemed unsafe. Boeing’s philosophy has been to leave more authority in the hands of pilots, but newer designs include some computerized limits and, like Airbus, its aircraft are equipped with sophisticated autopilots and systems to set speed during landings, among other functions.

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A search and rescue ship looks for survivors and wreckage of the Lion Air flight.

The new feature on the 737 Max family of aircraft was designed to address one of the most common remaining killers in commercial aviation. By nudging the plane nose down in certain situations, the MCAS software lowers the chances of an aerodynamic stall and a loss of control. Loss-of-control accidents killed 1,131 people from 2008 through 2017, by far the biggest category, according to Boeing statistics.

Earlier: American Air Pilots Seek More Max Training After Lion Crash

This type of automation is credited with helping create the unprecedented safety improvements of recent decades, yet it hasn’t been perfect.

“A lot of the experts have commented that human beings are not very good at monitoring machines,” said Roger Cox, a former NTSB investigator who specialized in pilot actions. “The reverse is better. Machines are pretty good at monitoring human beings.”

Devices that offer relatively simple warnings of an impending mid-air collision, for example, have proven nearly fool proof. On the other hand, more complex systems that aid pilots but require human oversight have on rare occasions confused crews and led to crashes.

It’s also important to keep in mind that issues with automation can be exacerbated by pilot actions, Cox said.

“Often times, what we call an automation error is really a proficiency error or a lack-of-attention error, and not fundamentally a fault of the automation,” he said.

NASA Research

Indeed, the pilots in the Lion Air crash didn’t follow an emergency procedure that could have deactivated MCAS and allowed them to fly normally, according to investigators. A different pilot crew the night before the accident had effectively shut off MCAS during an identical emergency and landed routinely.

At least one reason that these type of accidents occur may have to do with how pilots’ manual flying skills atrophy as cockpits become more automated, according to a 2014 study by NASA research psychologist Stephen Casner.

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189 people were killed in the Lion Air jetliner crash. 

While basic tasks like monitoring instruments and manually controlling a plane tend to stay intact in the automated modern cockpit, the study found “more frequent and significant problems” with navigation and recognizing instrument system failures.

A different study by Casner and others in 2013 found a similar issue: flying has gotten so safe that pilots don’t experience emergencies much during regular operations, if at all. That is good news in the main, but it means that crews also aren’t as prepared.

The study suggested that airlines devise more realistic and complex training scenarios, and that they give pilots more practice reacting to emergencies that occur while automation is off.

“Where novices are derailed, discombobulated or taken by surprise when problems are presented under novel circumstances, experts characteristically perform as if they have ‘been there and done that,’ ” the authors said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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