FAA faces criticism on new training procedures for 737 MAX pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received public comments about the proposed new training procedures for pilots of the grounded Boeing 737 MAX.

On November 2, 2020, the FAA stopped accepting public comments related to a draft report on revised training procedures for Boeing 737 MAX pilots, which the American authority released earlier in October 2020. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association and relatives of victims killed in Boeing 737 MAX crashes disagreed with the proposed training procedures and submitted technical issues-related comments from their perspective.

According to the American government website data, most of the 31 public comments were related to technical remarks. The Southwest Airlines Pilot Association asked the FAA to implement additional changes in aircraft design as well as to publicize a more detailed pilot training revision. The Association also asked the FAA to shorten the pilot checklist and reduce the number of steps that pilots must take when facing the specific type of emergency which occurred before both deadly Boeing 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019.

In the public comment posted on November 2, 2020, the Association considered that “error rates increase exponentially” because of the long checklists which pilots must go through. The pilot union claimed that pilots even in the 737 MAX simulator “found it difficult to recall the steps in order.”

In multiple comments, the FAA was also asked to make improvements in its proposal for pilot training related to specifications on how to respond to the inputs from the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and handle a nose-down pitch of the 737 MAX jet. Families of the victims who died in both accidents required the FAA to install a new alert on the Boeing 737 MAX  that would tell pilots when MCAS turns on. The MCAS, which was designed to automatically push the Boeing 737 MAX nose down to stabilize it, was identified as a key factor in two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashes.

Pilots of American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) suggested the authority to organize pilot training on emergency procedures every two years rather than every three years as the FAA proposed in a draft report.

The FAA released a draft report on revised training procedures for Boeing 737 MAX pilots on October 7, 2020. The document included recommendations from the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) that was composed of the civil aviation authorities of the United States, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union.

Following the comments, the FAA will issue the final training recommendations for the Boeing 737 MAX pilots.


author avatar
Gabriele Petrauskaite
Journalist[br][br]Gabriele is an experienced journalist and content creator in AeroTime’s editorial team, based in Vilnius, Lithuania.[br]
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