Andrew Harnik / AP
One of the nation's most famous pilots comments on the problems with Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft. Retired Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger told a congressional subcommittee Wednesday that an automated flight control system on the 737 MAX was "deadly faulty and should never have been approved."
Sullenberger, who landed a damaged US Airways jet on the safe The Hudson River in New York in 2009, after a bird strike had shut off the engines, says he understands that the pilots of two recently crashed 737 Max aircraft would have been confused as they struggled to maintain control of the aircraft. The aircraft plunged into the nose.
"I can tell you first-hand that the surprise factor is real and huge, and it absolutely detracts from the ability to quickly analyze the crisis and take corrective action," he said.
The House Aviation Subcommittee investigates the crashes of the Boeing 737 Max in Indonesia last fall and in Ethiopia in March, which killed a total of 346 people. The panel also examines the role that Boeing's hurry to develop the latest version of its popular 737 and the FAA's ability to certify the new model as capable of flying may have played in the tragedies.
The aircraft remain out of service Aviation authorities around the world have grounded the aircraft shortly after the second crash. The three US airlines flying the MAX – Southwest, American and United – have canceled thousands of flights as they have removed MAX aircraft from their flight schedules in the busy summer months. "These crashes are testament to the fact that our current system for the development and certification of aircraft has failed, "said Sullenberger to the legislature. "The accidents should never have happened."
Daniel Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association, who represents pilots on American Airlines, generally stated that Boeing had high security, but criticized that the aerospace giant had made "many mistakes" in the cost At the same time, the MAX aircraft is designed to be the same as the previous version of the 737.
"Boeing designs and builds excellent aircraft and manufactures them," said Carey. "Unfortunately, in the case of MAX, I have to agree with the Boeing CEO, who is leaving the traveling public in a fatal and catastrophic way."
Carey informed the committee that the MCAS flight control system was the one designed to prevent aerodynamic stall and had the disadvantage of having a single point of failure without redundancies. For both the Lion Air flight in Indonesia and for the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft, a single angle sensor provided erroneous data to the system so that the MCAS would repeat the nose of the aircraft and forcefully lower it, if not should.
"One major oversight error was the fact that Boeing did not disclose the existence of the MCAS system to the global pilot community," Carey said. "The last serious mistake was therefore the lack of a solid pilot training in case of MCAS failure."
According to Carey, the failures of Boeing triggered a "crisis of confidence" between the aircraft manufacturer and the pilots.
How Boeing Prepares To submit the software fix for the MCAS system to the FAA so that the agency can conduct test flights and ultimately re-certify the aircraft, Carey and Sullenberger called for more pilot training as part of the Plan, 737 MAX. Jets again to fly passengers, including the occurrence of a MCAS system error while training on a simulator.
Boeing has proposed to conduct such training with a one-hour session on a laptop or tablet device. For pilots who switched from the previous "Next Generation" version of the 737 to the MAX, no simulator training was required.
and says he understands the difficulties they had to keep control of the planes. "Even if I knew what would happen, I could see how the crews could run out of time and altitude before they could solve the problems," he said.
"We should all want the pilots to experience these challenging situations for the plane The first time in a simulator, not in flight with passengers and crew aboard," Sullenberger told lawmakers, adding, "Reading on one iPad is not nearly enough – pilots must experience it first hand. "
But there are only a few 737 MAX simulators, and such training for thousands of pilots around the world would be expensive and logistically problematic.
He and Carey rejected the proposals that crashes in the US could not have happened where pilots need much experience and more thorough training before they can fly commercial aircraft.
"Some (US) crews would have recognized this in time to recover, but some did not," Carey said. Sullenberger agreed and said it was unlikely that experienced pilots would have achieved different results. "We should not have to expect pilots to compensate for faulty designs."
"These two recent crashes occurred abroad," said Sullenberger. "But if we do not address all the important issues and factors, they can and will be here."