Boeing didn’t tell pilots ‘anything’ about system that led to 737 MAX crash
Pilots were reportedly not told “anything” about a new system in the 737 MAX airplane prior to a fatal Lion Air crash in October, that killed 189 people on board.
According to pilot and Jetwhine Senior Editor Rob Mark, Boeing was so confident in the MAX’s new system, that it didn’t see a problem with not informing pilots that it existed in the first place.
“Boeing thought it was so good — that it was so flawless — that they didn’t even bother to tell us about it,” Mark told KIRO Radio’s Candy, Mike and Todd Show. “They didn’t tell (pilots) anything.”
A total of 189 people died in that Lion Air crash out of Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018, when the plane nose-dived into the ocean. A total of 157 people died in the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy. Similar to the Indonesian crash, the pilot of the plane in Ethiopia sent a distress call shortly after takeoff.
The system — known as the “maneuvering characteristics augmentation system” (or MCAS) — was originally created due to the engine placement on the 737 MAX.
“They were further forward, and if they if they had just flown the airplane without this new augmentation system, it would have made the airplane a little difficult to control in certain kinds of situations,” described Mark.
The only problem was that the MCAS automatically pushed the nose of the plane downward, and without proper training, it proved difficult to regain manual control for the pilots in the Lion Air incident.
One Seattle lawsuit alleges that Boeing neglected to mention the system when selling it to airlines to “minimize the differences between the MAX and other versions of the 737 to boost sales.”
Mark, though, claims it was simply hubris on Boeing’s part.
“I don’t believe for a minute that Boeing avoided telling pilots because they were they were trying to pull one over on us,” he theorized. “I don’t believe that at all. But what I do think is that they believed so much in the product, that they thought everything would be just absolutely fine when people flew the airplane.”
In the meantime, Boeing announced that it would be adding a failsafe to the 737 MAX to counteract the difficulty caused by the MCAS in regaining manual control. The Federal Aviation Administration has also vowed to revamp its oversight of airplane development.