Some pilots are echoing the calls of investigators for more training on Boeing’s 737 MAX. Union representatives for U.S. pilots claim Boeing never told them of the anti-stall system on the plane, which investigators now link to the Lion Air crash off the coast of Indonesia in late October. The computer system can force the plane to dive sharply for up to ten seconds if it thinks the plane has stalled. Apparently, the Lion Air pilots did not know how to stop their descent, resulting in the fatal crash.
Not in the manual
Indonesian officials stated that they had followed the U.S. approved pilot training procedure for the 737 MAX. That training did not cover the new anti-stall mechanism, nor was it located in Boeing’s manual. Apparently, directions for correcting this issue were on a checklist provided to airlines. The fix is relatively simple if the pilot knows about it and has time to implement it.
Timing is still a question in the Lion Air flight, however, as the plane was only at 5,000 feet when it started to dive. Even if the pilots of that craft had the checklist, they may not have had enough time to correct the problem. The crash is still under investigation, and other factors may have contributed to the crash that investigators have not yet discovered. Southwest Airlines has recently replaced two sensors on 737 MAX planes that may have contributed to the Lion Air crash.
Indonesian and American officials are calling for changes to the training module and manual for the 737 MAX. Boeing has issued a bulletin to update the manual. Some industry experts are giving Boeing the benefit of the doubt that the information was left out of the training by accident, and not intentionally. Boeing has tried to reassure the industry and the public that it did not leave out any other important training material.
The most positive outcome so far has been the communication between the pilots, the airlines, and Boeing. Now that the industry understands, at least in part, what caused the crash, they are sharing information to prevent a future crash.
Some wonder if that is enough, however. They would like to see the 737 MAX pulled until the pilots can undergo updated training. Although some pilots agree that they need further training, other pilots feel as though Boeing has now given them the tools they need to safely to the 737 MAX to the skies. Whether or not pilots need further training seems to depend upon who you ask.