Boeing 737 Cockpit/Bloomberg
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) advisory panel, which issued a preliminary finding in April that simulator training was not necessary to return the plane to service, is reviewing public comments and has not reached a final opinion.
Thursday 15, August 2019
US aviation regulators are increasingly convinced they do not need to mandate new simulator training for pilots of Boeing’s 737 Max before returning the grounded jet to service, reported Bloomberg.
Pilots would be required instead to take a computer-based training course they could perform at home or in a classroom and more extensive simulator-based training for all 737 Max pilots may be required in the months after flights resume.
Such a decision would help streamline the return of the plane linked to two fatal crashes and mired in multiple investigations and spare airlines millions of dollars in costs, but it would run contrary to demands by relatives of the victims and some pilots.
The FAA has not concluded its reviews of Boeing’s proposed software changes to the plane and current thinking could change.
Training for Boeing’s best-selling jet has been a source of controversy since the first accident, of a Lion Air flight that had just taken off from Jakarta on 29 October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed near Addis Ababa on 10 March 2019 under similar circumstances, leading to a worldwide grounding of the plane.
In both cases, a safety feature known as the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) malfunctioned and repeatedly attempted to push the plane into a dive until pilots lost control.
Another point of contention was over Boeing’s 2017 decision, approved by the FAA, that airline crews flying the previous version of 737s known as Next Generation models did not need expensive and time-consuming simulator training before transitioning to the Max because of similarities between the two models.