When the angle of attack sensors - which detect how wind is meeting the wing - perceive incorrect readings the plane may think it is experiencing an aerodynamic stall, causing it to dive.
The condition can even lead to "excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain", the official noted.
The Boeing alert to 737 MAX operators to follow the manual when erroneous data problems are encountered from flight sensors raises more questions than it answers in relation to the Lion Air crash on Monday, October 29.
According to Bloomberg, the safety warning is linked to the crash of a Lion Air aircraft last week off the coast of Indonesia, killing an estimated 189 people.
But Boeing said in its statement Wednesday that it was directing airlines to "existing" flight crew procedures to address angle of attack sensor problems.More news: Florida ballot initiative giving former felons the right to vote passes
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Indonesian accident investigators said on Monday that an airspeed indicator on the crashed jet was damaged for its last four flights, but USA authorities responded cautiously to suggestions of fleet-wide checks. Pilots flying with an AOA sensor generating erroneous inputs to the system can experience the inability to engage the aircraft's autopilot system, among other problems.
Boeing, which manufactured the Lion Air plane, issues safety-related bulletins, and had previously circulated instructions about what flight crews should do if sensors fail.
Both Boeing and the FAA are continuing to assist Indonesian officials in investigating the accident.
He added that the broken sensor from the Bali-Jakarta flight would be sent to the manufacturer in Chicago for further examination.
Boeing says that the 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in the company's history, with over 4,700 orders to date. There were more than 180 people on board.
An overview of the 737 MAX flight manual revision being issued by the FAA.
A spokesperson for Boeing wouldn't disclose whether the directive was issued to operators of all Boeing aircraft, or just those who fly 737 MAX 8 planes - the same model as Flight 610. As pilots worked to correct it, it would let them-briefly interrupting the autopilot's control-but then continue attempting to pitch the airplane downward.