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August 20, 2019 - by Dominic Gates for seattletimes.com
Following two deadly crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX, both of which were initiated by a faulty reading from a single angle of attack sensor, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cautioned airlines, aircraft maintenance companies and manufacturers that the sensors are vulnerable to damage and must be carefully maintained.
"It is imperative that all operators are aware of the criticality of AOA sensors and the potential for damage during normal operations, maintenance procedures, servicing procedures, and any other procedures around an aircraft," states the FAA notice, which was issued last week.
The angle of attack is the angle between an airplane's wing and the oncoming air flow. If the angle gets too high, above about 14 degrees, the air stream that has been flowing around the contours of the wing will suddenly detach from the wing surface.
When this happens, the plane will lose lift and begin to fall — a condition known as stalling...
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