Boeing And FAA Misjudged Pilot Response To 737 MAX Alert: Report

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Federal safety investigators said that Boeing and FAA misjudged how pilots would respond to alarms in case of encountering trouble while flying 737 MAX

Written By Kunal Gaurav | Mumbai | Updated On:

Federal safety investigators, on September 26, said that Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) misjudged how pilots would respond to a flurry of alarms and alerts in case of encountering trouble while flying 737 MAX. After two MAX 8 aircraft crashed, claiming 346 lives, Boeing 737 MAX was grounded around the world. The report has been prepared by an independent government agency, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

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Lack of clearer ‘failure indications’

The NTSB made several recommendations including place design, pilot training based on pilot response. The NTSB, in its report, said that clearer ‘failure indications’ should be provided to facilitate improved response. It recommended to develop and incorporate the use of “robust tools and methods” for validating assumptions about a pilot’s response to aeroplane failures as part of design certification. “We saw in these two accidents that the crews did not react in the ways Boeing and the FAA assumed they would,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt.

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The gap between assumptions and real-world experiences

Sumwalt said that a gap was found between the assumptions used to certify MAX and the real-world experiences of crews. The Chairman clarified that the report only addressed the issue and has not analysed the actions of pilots involved in those crash. “That analysis is part of the ongoing accident investigations by the respective authorities,” he said. However, the NTSB, in its press release, said that it will continue to assist in the ongoing investigations. An FAA spokesperson said that they will “carefully review these and all other recommendations”.

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Grounding of MAX fleet affected Boeing and airlines

After the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, the later grounded its MAX fleet immediately. Within a few days, other airlines followed the suit and grounded all the MAX fleet. This decision affected 387 MAX aircraft delivered to 59 airlines. In July, Boeing had said that it was booking a $4.9 billion charge to cover possible compensation to airlines that have cancelled thousands of flights.

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(With PTI Inputs)

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