Boeing 737 Max pilots didn't have flight simulators, and trained on iPads instead

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 54
    Too many comments here by armchair pilots. Most of the comments quite silly and inaccurate. Speculation in any aircraft accident prior to completion of investigation is complete speculation and unhelpful. No one has all the facts, not even the investigators. However as a captain for a major US airline who actually flies the 737 I can categorically state some things from a factual basis. 1. US airlines do not prohibit nor do they discourage flying manually. Someone commented on how pilots aren’t supposed to fly “”by the seatbelt of their pants” - utter baloney in the US. I am aaare many Asian carriers do NOT encourage or promote manual flying though. 2. There is a 737-8, and a 727-9, and there is ALSO the 737 a Max and -9 Max. Do not confuse one with the other. 3. “ Differences training “ is required when operating a new variant of the same type of aircraft. The training type (Simulator or no simulator) is dependent on the amount / type / significance of the differences in the two variants. In the case of the Max, it was decided (by someone / some entity) that the degree of difference was not significant enough to warrant simulator training. 4. It is entirely appropriate to ground the Max fleet worldwide until the MCAS system and the inputs to it are re-evaluated and possibly adjusted. Further, all pilots need a thorough understanding of the total system- when it operates, how it operates, how to disable it, what to do in the event it malfunctions. Until this occurs, no one should fly the aircraft. Just my factual 3¢ (inflation).
    SpamSandwichdtmacdjames4242cgWerks
  • Reply 42 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    The latest news pretty well much confirms a software bug that causes the plane to overreact to a perceived stall and an ensuing fight between a pilot who doesn't disengage the autopilot and the computer resulting in a nose dive.  Talking heads are fast saying 'pilot error all they had to do was turn off the autopilot'. My question is how many pilots these days (and it's not just in the USA remember) are all that competent at flying a brand new modern jet manually and landing it?  Hopefully all of them but I'd love to know that for sure.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 43 of 54
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    horvatic said:
    2 hours on an iPad? No wonder why pilots are crashing planes. Come on! A big complex jet like the Max needs real simulator training and a lot more than just 2 hours. That's just ridiculous! They should not be even aloud to fly with that little time on such a new Aircraft.
    The reasoning is they are almost identical to the previous model.  That except the previous model's computer didn't try to crash the plane on autopilot.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 44 of 54
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,562member
    klink172 said:
    maestro64 said:
    wood1208 said:
    Don't believe what you read. Pilots are trained in many ways including flight simulators,cockpit practical flying,etc. Than, they fly for thousands of hours call on job perfecting skills.
    Yes, all pilots are trained, but most have not idea why a plane flies (lack the engineering and technical skills). If you do not think this is important, just think about the two crashes.

    Most likely we will hear there was some sort of bad data feeding (angle of attack sensor) the automatic flight controls which cause the plane to nose dive into the ground. However, it is easily corrected by turning off the automatic flight controls and fly the plane by the seat of your pants. The problem is no airline wants the pilots not following the book or flying by the seat of their pants. If you watch Sully the movie and watch what they did in the hearing, they focused on him not flying by the book and doing his own analysis and what was best and turned out to be the best. They do not want pilots not following their official training.

    If you are flying outside US airlines, you may want to think twice about getting on the plane especially now with them becoming even more complex to fly with all the automatic controls. US pilots are still better than any pilots around the world they tend to have why more flight time on multiply platforms or know one really well. Because of these automatic flight systems it allows Airline to use lower skilled Pilots since the computers are doing most all of the heavy work.
    I was reading about Sully Sullenberger's Facebook post saying one of the co pilots in the Ethiopian crash only had 200 hours of training. The U.S. requires 1,500 hours of training for pilots. 
    Though not a plus, it wasn’t a contributing factor. 
    You should think twice about that assessment and use critical though on whether that makes sense. That is like saying when someone wrecking their car and is on a learner permit, their lack of skill played no part in the accident. My kids when they got their licenses had far more in the seat time than that pilot and they also drove in all kinds of weather and road conditions, plus I them in control situation like loosing control in snow so they learn to understand what happens before they were every allow to be on the road without more experience person in the vehicle.

    Experience and Knowledge have a huge part in flying. The airline and the industry wants you to believe it was not a factor since the plane should not have done what it did, which is true, but when the unforeseen happens you want the most amount of experience and knowledge in that seat. Airline want less experience since that cost them less. They are making an economic trade off. Spend more money on fancy plane control systems which allows a lower experience pilot. The capital investment goes up, but the variable on going costs go down.
    edited March 19
  • Reply 45 of 54
    IreneWIreneW Posts: 153member
    jimh2 said:
    boltsfan17 said:
    I was reading about Sully Sullenberger's Facebook post saying one of the co pilots in the Ethiopian crash only had 200 hours of training. The U.S. requires 1,500 hours of training for pilots. 
    That is not surprising. When you jump on an airplane from another country (other than 1st world) you are potentially flying with a true "rookie". Stick the main airlines to avoid this type of situation. 
    Don't know about Lion Air, but Ethiopian Airlines are (statistically speaking) as good as it gets. As part of Star Alliance it is also considered one of the "main airlines".
  • Reply 46 of 54
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,562member
    LAFlyGuy said:
    Too many comments here by armchair pilots. Most of the comments quite silly and inaccurate. Speculation in any aircraft accident prior to completion of investigation is complete speculation and unhelpful. No one has all the facts, not even the investigators. However as a captain for a major US airline who actually flies the 737 I can categorically state some things from a factual basis. 1. US airlines do not prohibit nor do they discourage flying manually. Someone commented on how pilots aren’t supposed to fly “”by the seatbelt of their pants” - utter baloney in the US. I am aaare many Asian carriers do NOT encourage or promote manual flying though. 2. There is a 737-8, and a 727-9, and there is ALSO the 737 a Max and -9 Max. Do not confuse one with the other. 3. “ Differences training “ is required when operating a new variant of the same type of aircraft. The training type (Simulator or no simulator) is dependent on the amount / type / significance of the differences in the two variants. In the case of the Max, it was decided (by someone / some entity) that the degree of difference was not significant enough to warrant simulator training. 4. It is entirely appropriate to ground the Max fleet worldwide until the MCAS system and the inputs to it are re-evaluated and possibly adjusted. Further, all pilots need a thorough understanding of the total system- when it operates, how it operates, how to disable it, what to do in the event it malfunctions. Until this occurs, no one should fly the aircraft. Just my factual 3¢ (inflation).
    Since you pointed out my comment about "flying by the seat of your pants", I am not a pilot, but I am an engineer and have a very good understanding of complex control systems which a plane falls into. 

    I know pilots in the US are allow to take control of the plane, and also know they are told to do things by the book. I can not speak to what is done outside the US, but I would assume it similar. I have a number of friends who fly for most of the major airlines. I live in an area between two major airports and all the Pilots seem to take up residence in my area. I know most of their backgrounds, some come through the military training route or are Aeronautical engineers or similar. Many are everyday people who got a college degrees in a non-STEM fields and learn to flight at one of the airlines. One grew up wanting to be a pilot and went to pilot school (but not an aeronautical background) and worked his way up. Other than the military trained pilots and engineering backgrounds most everyone else I know can not explain why a plane flies. 

    If anyone remembers the Mythbuster show where people thought a plane on a conveyer belt moving in the opposite direction of the take off and the conveyer would match the wheel speed of the take off speed would a plane take off and fly? As engineer and understand physics and relativity I knew the answer since take off has nothing to do with wheel speed. All my pilot friends who were not military/engineer trained would argue the plane would never take off, since the plane could not go fast enough to get air over the wings to create lift. Once you realize they could not understand this basic concept about flight you get a little concern about who is flying the plane. some of these people were pilots for 20 or 30 yrs so they were not fresh out of school.  I am not trying to scare anyone since 99.99% of the time this does not matter in modern aircrafts. The design engineers spend lots of time understanding what not to do to get a plane in a situation that would require the Pilot to problem solved in real time.

    I think we will see Boeing, the plane and the systems will be blamed, because if they blame the pilots lack of experience or knowledge it is going to ground more than just planes that it is the economics of the situation. Especially if Boeing can address the challenges without lots of training and flight time to correct.  
  • Reply 47 of 54
    dtmacdtmac Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    The pilots receiving the tutorial are approved on type. That is they are endorsed to to fly the 737 type. They hold a pilots licence, a multiengine commercial rating, an Air Transport licence (ATPL), at least one 737 model endorsement. I suspect the tutorial referred the differences between the models they are endorsed on and the model they are training to be endorsed on. Training is one of the causes of the recent 737 Max 8 accidents. Training has always been undervalued (that includes the general workforce also). Management of both the manufacturer and the Operator are responsible for the training. The operator outlines training methods for its relevant employees in a Operations Manual and a Training Manual (these manuals are approved by the countries responsible ministry). The Pilots also sign that they read and understood the training. This article and most media reporting are throwing the word training around. If operating and flying Air Transport Aircraft seems like any other form of transport it is not. Proper training would have saved the majority fatalities from previous aircraft accidents, as it would have in this case.
  • Reply 48 of 54
    ... I dont want to fly on a plane that is inherently unstable by design, as this one is, and requires software to ensure it remains in the air...

    It's not unstable. (by design or otherwise.) The airplane is controllable and capable of flying with no electrical power at all.
    Software is not required to ensure it remains in the air. (That statement would be valid for an Airbus.... you should avoid flying on them.)
    The MCAS is in place to make the airplane "feel" nearly identical to the NG version of the plane (something it does surprisingly well!)... so that minimal training would be required to transition between the NG and MAX versions of the airplane. (This MCAS is not related to what you were comparing it to in modern fighter aircraft.)
    The airplane would fly and perform just fine without MCAS, but would "feel" differently than older versions from a pilot's perspective. 
    dtmacdjames4242
  • Reply 49 of 54
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,165member
    creek0512 said:
    It says they took current Boeing 737 NG pilots and gave them 2 hours of training on an iPad and a 13 page manual to train them to fly the 737 MAX.
    I wonder how highlighted this problem was, though. Was it just in there somewhere, or did Boeing, FAA, etc. just assume such a system was probably better than the pilots anyway?

    kingofsomewherehot said:
    The MCAS is in place to make the airplane "feel" nearly identical to the NG version of the plane (something it does surprisingly well!)... so that minimal training would be required to transition between the NG and MAX versions of the airplane.
    At least until it is headed into the ground/sea. Then, while I'm not a pilot, I assume it feels quite different.

    I just heard this quote the other day, and is how I've always looked at tech (and have been successful in a Sr. operations position using this principal)...
    "Tech has always been a simple question, of not if it goes down, but what is your plan when it does." Paul Colligan (on Podcasters' Roundtable - March 17, 2019)
  • Reply 50 of 54
    kingofsomewherehot said:
    Software is not required to ensure it remains in the air. (That statement would be valid for an Airbus.... you should avoid flying on them.) 
    Would you care to provide citation? Stating that all Airbus aircraft will crash without computer control is quite a sweeping statement. If you’re referring to fly by wire, my understanding is that the 320 has mechanical backup, all others have electrical (not electronic) backups in the case of multiple computer failures. If you’re suggesting that no Airbus aircraft would have the potential to survive a “Gimli glider”-like incident, I’d be interested to see your source.

    [edit] Guess what I just found: an Air Transat A330 landed safely after travelling 75 miles without any power  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/can-a-plane-fly-with-no-one-engines/

    And of course the “Miracle on the Hudson” was an A320, so I’m really not sure what you’re on about. 
    edited March 20 cgWerks
  • Reply 51 of 54
    nhtnht Posts: 4,436member
    kingofsomewherehot said:
    Software is not required to ensure it remains in the air. (That statement would be valid for an Airbus.... you should avoid flying on them.) 
    Would you care to provide citation? Stating that all Airbus aircraft will crash without computer control is quite a sweeping statement. If you’re referring to fly by wire, my understanding is that the 320 has mechanical backup, all others have electrical (not electronic) backups in the case of multiple computer failures. If you’re suggesting that no Airbus aircraft would have the potential to survive a “Gimli glider”-like incident, I’d be interested to see your source.

    [edit] Guess what I just found: an Air Transat A330 landed safely after travelling 75 miles without any power  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/can-a-plane-fly-with-no-one-engines/

    And of course the “Miracle on the Hudson” was an A320, so I’m really not sure what you’re on about. 
    That’s without engine power, not without computers.  You can maybe land an airbus but the mechanical backups only gives you rudder and stabilizer.  At least on the older ones.  The newer airbuses have a BCM (Backup Control Module) which counts as a computer but really isn’t likely to fail at the same time the normal control systems will...or at least no more likely than total hydraulic failure...which leaves most airliners screwed regardless.

    An airbus is safe to fly. 
    cgWerks
  • Reply 52 of 54
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,165member
    nht said:
    That’s without engine power, not without computers.  You can maybe land an airbus but the mechanical backups only gives you rudder and stabilizer.  At least on the older ones.  The newer airbuses have a BCM (Backup Control Module) which counts as a computer but really isn’t likely to fail at the same time the normal control systems will...or at least no more likely than total hydraulic failure...which leaves most airliners screwed regardless.

    An airbus is safe to fly. 
    Fair point, and I think if designed correctly (with proper redundancy), fly-by-wire can be just as good as mechanical.

    The problem here, is more when you get wishful-thinking AI stuff, or even Microsoft dancing paperclip thinking involved in what the computer is doing (ie: we or the computer know better, so we'll just do that for you and/or take over).

    This one seems to come down to improper design and redundancy, coupled with too cavalier attitude about whether the pilots even need to know about such a system and know how to work around it.

    From what I've seen so far, Boeing should be heavily, heavily sued over this.
  • Reply 53 of 54
    maximumrandbmaximumrandb Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Given the different flight characteristics stemming from the newer engines, it would have been prudent to have had a least a few hours of simulator training which would also include emergency procedures with the MCAS, IPad training was certainly not sufficient in this case.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 54 of 54
    maximumrandbmaximumrandb Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Given the different flight characteristics stemming from the newer engines, it would have been prudent to have had a least a few hours of simulator training which would also include emergency procedures with the MCAS, IPad training was certainly not sufficient in this case.
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