The directive comes a little more than a week after Lion Air pilots operating a 737 MAX 8 lost contact with Soekarno-Hatta's air traffic control (ATC) and crashed into the Java Sea, north of Indonesia's Java Island.
Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Transport Safety Committee, told media that that airspeed indicator malfunctions on the jet's last four flights, and that this issue was intertwined with the AOA sensor issue.
However, it's unclear whether the warning is being issued because investigators have conclusively determined that a flight-monitoring system error was the cause of the crash. In short they have to accommodate everyone from the best trained pilots in the world to the worst.
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.
The passengers were flown to their destination, the capital Jakarta, later that evening aboard a different aircraft.
Both Boeing and the FAA are continuing to assist Indonesian officials in investigating the accident.
"We are issuing this [airworthiness directive] because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design", the FAA wrote. It's still possible the FAA may order the Chicago-based planemaker to redesign the equipment or software as investigators piece together details of the October 29 accident, which killed 189 people.
"I would definitely be looking at the man-machine interface and how pilots respond", said Cox, a former airline pilot who flew earlier versions of the 737 and specialized at the NTSB in cockpit actions.
"The draft of what will be conveyed by Boeing this morning has been presented to us", said air accident investigator Nurcahyo Utomo.
"If you don't take the appropriate action because you're surprised, you can make a serious error", he said.
Around the world, over 200,000 of these exact planes are now in use.
The FAA said the order is effective immediately and covers 45 aircraft in the United States operated by carriers including Southwest Air Co, United Airlines and American Airlines Group Inc and addresses erroneous angle of attack inputs.
When contacted by FOX Business, Boeing declined to comment on the report.
More than a week ago, a Lion Air plane crashed into the sea 15 minutes after taking off from Jakarta.