If Boeing wants to rebuild trust in 737 MAX, Pilots Say They Need More Training. But what constitutes adequate training?

American Airlines pilots have warned that Boeing Co’s draft training proposals for the troubled 737 MAX do not go far enough to address their concerns, according to written comments submitted to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and seen by Reuters.

A draft report by an FAA-appointed board of pilots, engineers and other experts concluded that pilots only need additional computer-based training to understand MCAS, rather than simulator time. The public has until April 30 to make comments.

APA is arguing that mere computer explanation “will not provide a level of confidence for pilots to feel not only comfortable flying the aircraft but also relaying that confidence to the traveling public.”

It said the MAX computer training, which originally involved a one-hour iPad course, should include videos of simulator sessions showing how MCAS works along with demonstrations of other cockpit emergencies such as runaway stabilizer, a loss of control that occurred on both doomed flights.

APA also called for recurring training on simulators that includes scenarios like those experienced by the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines pilots, in addition to computer training.

Required simulator training could delay the MAX’s return to service because it takes time to schedule hundreds or thousands of pilots on simulators. Hourly rates for simulators range between $500 and $1000, excluding travel expenses.

American and Southwest Itching to Go

  • American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker said on Friday that even if other countries delay the ungrounding of the MAX, once the FAA approves it, American will start flying its 24 aircraft.
  • Union pilots for Southwest Airlines Co, the world’s largest operator of the MAX with 34 jets and dozens more on order, have said they were satisfied with the FAA draft report but would decide on additional training once they see Boeing’s final proposals.

I am not qualified to suggest what constitutes adequate training.

However, Boeing certainly made a lot of bad decisions to this point. The pilots and experts agree to that.

The question is whether the public goes out of their way to avoid these planes? I don't know, but I suspect not.

There just better not be another incident or faith will vanish.

How Concerned Are You?

Mike "Mish" Shedlock