Would it have helped if the pilot of the Lion Air flight, upon being stumped over the behavior of the plane, asked ATC to immediately call somebody from Boeing or Lion Air to figure out what is happening and why the plane keeps pitching down?
I agree. I made a similar comment previously
. Although it wouldn't be to ATC, who wouldn't have the right expertise. It would be a call to an emergency hotline, which would have an expert on the aircraft type.
Everyone always says Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, which I don't disagree with. However, I would argue that the pilots had the Aviate and Navigate somewhat under control. They weren't 100% stable, but the Captain had been holding the airplane at 5000 ft +/- 500 ft for over 6 minutes. He could have kept flying like that for another hour or more.
So in my opinion, they were in position to Communicate. The Captain could have continued to Aviate and Navigate, continuing the electric trimming. He could have had the FO call the "emergency hotline" to get help on what to do.
Instead of digging through a manual during an onboard crisis, it would be better if there was an emergency hotline to call with an expert on the aircraft type.
1. They would have access to a powerful computer system to enter the symptoms and walk the pilots through troubleshooting steps.
2. They would be calmer.
3. They could be a "fresh set of eyes", which could help in situations where the pilots were fixated on the wrong issue.
4. Pilots can offload the troubleshooting so they can focus on Aviating and Navigating, and keeping an eye on critical indicators like pitch, airspeed, etc.
Digging through a manual should be the last resort only if the plane lost radio communications and could not reach anyone for help.