/Documentary Review: Boeing’s ‘Culture of Concealment’ in Scapegoating Lion Air in Downfall: The Case Against Boeing
Sumber Foto : South China Morning Post

Documentary Review: Boeing’s ‘Culture of Concealment’ in Scapegoating Lion Air in Downfall: The Case Against Boeing

The devastated victims’ family members of the Lion Air crash. (Source: South China Morning Post)

Almost four years ago, a plane flight registered as JT610 lost contact after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. It was just eleven minutes aeration that the pilot struggled to control the flying machine until it sharply reached the sea level north of the West Java coast. Almost four years later, the issue is redrawn into a documentary about newly manufactured aircrafts that crashed after a malfunction of the auto system.

The movie Downfall: The Case Against Boeing is a docufilm that argumentatively accuses Boeing for intentionally neglecting its risk of safety-critical system in its Boeing 737 Max 8 design which led to the two plane crashes that could have been averted. The public issue became global as the crashes happened in a very short interval—just 19 weeks after the first crash.

The extraordinary thing about this film is how the Boeing company undermines or alters the fact that it is them to blame for the design failure of the two aircrafts. Instead of maximising their effort to prevent further disaster, they rather tried to find justifications to make regulators allow its controversial model to keep flying high.

The suspected reason of crashes

The data collected from flight-data recorders of both wrecked Lion Air JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines ET302 show the similar graphic changes of the aircraft systems. As the angle-of-attack indicator fails to display correct measurement, the stick shaker falsely begins to warn the pilot about the stall. The other indicators also display the incorrect reading of the calculation. The next serious problem is that something pushes down the nose of the aircraft, which makes the pilot have to pull the control yoke up. The rodeo of balancing the aircraft has become futile as the plane gradually goes lower and lower until it meets the ground at a god speed.

The blame-game

Before the flight-data recorder became available, Lion Air initially received much backlash from the first accident. The crash happened on supportive weather and the airplane was just as young as two months. These raised some speculations that the crash was due to human error. As the wife of Bhavye Suneja—the man who piloted the Lion Air JT610—describes in the film, “There was blame-game going on.” Public started to question the qualifications of Indonesian airlines and their pilots. Boeing defended that ‘an American pilot would never have gotten into this kind of situation’ and blamed the Indonesian crew for not doing the way they were expected to do. Ironically, the Lion Air pilot himself was trained in the United States.

The MCAS system

On November 10th, 2018, Boeing published a statement about the JT610 crash to its correspondence, suspecting the Lion Air aircraft to experience a malfunction of the MCAS system. Everyone was perplexed to define what it meant Boeing never explained the system in its manual. A Boeing executive claimed that they had not told pilots about the system because they did not want the pilots to be flooded by too much information. This stockpiled more questions about their safety standard. In response, they rather continued to play down the role of the MCAS to be the sole cause of the Lion Air plane crash.

Behind the MCAS and the Culture of Concealment

As it is further investigated throughout the film, Boeing had concealed the information about the MCAS. They knew they were going to create Grim Reaper in a metal form, but they were desperate enough to pass it to the crowd for large stocks using the minimum amount of funds and effort. The investigation discovered that Boeing smuggled MCAS in its design as an updated feature of a system that was already made, while in fact, it is a new system that otherwise needs special training to use it which was the very thing Boeing tried to avoid (because training costs money). Boeing used ‘Jedi-mind tricks’ to manipulate regulators, airlines, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in case they asked for additional training for the MCAS.

What Boeing effectuated has irreparably damaged the hearts of the family members of the deceased, or even worldwide. Downfall attends their heartfelt memories, becomes the remembrance of the danger of concealing truths for personal safety.

Versi Bahasa Indonesia

Isak tangis keluarga korban kecelakaan pesawat Lion Air. (Sumber: South China Morning Post)

Menuju empat tahun yang lalu, pesawat terbang terdaftar sebagai JT610 hilang kontak setelah berangkat dari Bandara Internasional Soekarno-Hatta. Sebelas menit bertaruh di langit, pilot pesawat tersebut bersusah payah mengendalikan burung besi ini hingga akhirnya melesat menyentuh permukaan laut di pantai utara Jawa Barat. Menuju empat tahun berikutnya, kasus tersebut dilukiskan ulang dalam dokumenter tentang pesawat berumur muda yang terjun bebas setelah malfungsi sistem otomatis.

Downfall: The Case Against Boeing adalah film dokumenter yang menuduh Boeing sengaja mengabaikan safety-critical system beresiko dalam model Boeing 737 Max 8 mereka, sehingga dua pesawat yang seharusnya dapat dicegah terbang mengalami kecelakaan maut. Kasus itu menjadi perbincangan dunia semenjak dua kecelakaan tersebut berjarak dekat hanya 19 pekan setelah kecelakaan pertama.

Luar biasanya, film ini menggambarkan cara-cara perusahaan Boeing menutupi atau membelokkan fakta bahwa kecelakaan tersebut merupakan salah mereka. Bukannya berusaha mencegah datangnya bencana lain, mereka justru membuat berbagai justifikasi untuk membuat desain kontroversial mereka tetap mengudara.

Dugaan penyebab kecelakaan pesawat

Data diambil dari flight-data recorder kedua pesawat Lion Air JT610 dan Ethiopian Airlines ET302 menunjukkan kesamaan pola perubahan sistem pesawat. Sejenak setelah indikator sudut serang pesawat gagal menunjukkan pengukuran yang benar, stick shaker secara keliru memperingati pilot akan adanya stall. Indikator lain juga salah membaca perhitungan. Masalah serius berikutnya adalah sesuatu membuat hidung pesawat menunduk, yang mengharuskan pilot menarik setir pesawatnya agar pesawat menghadap ke atas. Pertarungan sengit antara pilot dan pesawat yang liar ini kemudian menerjunkan pesawat ke bawah dalam kecepatan yang luar biasa.

Main tuduh

Sebelum flight-data recorder tersedia, Lion Air menuai banyak kecaman dan tuduhan. Langit terpantau bersahabat saat pesawat JT610 terjun dan pesawat tersebut masih sebaru dua bulan. Hal tersebut memunculkan dugaan bahwa kecelakaan terjadi akibat human error.Istri Bhavye Suneja pria yang memiloti JT610 dalam film mengatakan, “Ada main tuduh (atas apa yang terjadi).” Masyarakat mulai mempertanyakan kualifikasi maskapai Indonesia dan pilot-pilotnya. Boeing melindungi diri dengan mengatakan ‘seorang pilot Amerika tidak mungkin mendapati situasi seperti ini’. Boeing juga menuduh awak pesawat Indonesia tidak melakukan tugas sesuai yang diharapkan. Ironisnya, pilot pesawat Lion Air yang jatuh sendiri mendapatkan pelatihan dari Amerika Serikat.

MCAS system

Pada 10 November 2018, Boeing menerbitkan pernyataan mengenai JT610. Mereka menduga pesawat tersebut menghadapi malfungsi pada sistem MCAS-nya. Semua dibuat bingung lantaran tak ada yang tahu apa itu MCAS. Boeing tak pernah menjelaskan sistem tersebut dalam buku manualnya. Seseorang dari internal Boeing mengklaim bahwa mereka tidak menjelaskan sistem tersebut pada para pilot karena mereka takut para pilot akan kebanjiran informasi. Hal ini memunculkan banyak pertanyaan mengenai standar keamanan Boeing. Respon perusahaan malah mengecilkan peran MCAS sebagai penyebab kecelakaan pesawat Lion Air.

Di balik MCAS dan budaya senyap-senyap

Berdasarkan penyelidikan dalam dokumenter, Boeing telah menutupi informasi tentang MCAS. Mereka memahami bahwa mereka bakal menciptakan malaikat maut berbentuk burung besi, namun mereka tetap menjualnya demi keuntungan besar menggunakan modal dan usaha kecil. Hasil investigasi menyebutkan Boeing menyelundupkan MCAS dalam model pesawatnya sebagai pembaruan fitur yang sudah ada, walaupun nyatanya sistem tersebut baru dan membutuhkan pelatihan khusus untuk mengoperasikan hal-hal yang sedang dihindari Boeing saat itu (lantaran pelatihan khusus membutuhkan biaya besar). Boeing berusaha memanipulasi pembuat regulasi, maskapai, dan Badan Penerbangan Federal Amerika Serikat (FAA) untuk berjaga-jaga apabila mereka meminta diadakannya pelatihan tambahan untuk MCAS.

Yang dilakukan Boeing telah melukai jiwa seluruh keluarga yang ditinggalkan, bahkan dunia. Downfall menjadi memorial luka tersebut, menjadi pengingat ancaman dari kebenaran yang ditutup-tutupi hanya untuk keselamatan pribadi.

Penulis : Ristyawan Pratama

Editor : Primanda Andi Akbar