Pilots unions criticise Boeing for withholding safety information

  • Pilots unions criticise Boeing for withholding safety information

Pilots unions criticise Boeing for withholding safety information

Pilots say they were not trained in new features of an anti-stall system in the aircraft that differ from previous models of the popular 737.

The automated system is created to help pilots avoid raising the plane's nose too high, which can cause the aircraft to stall. Indonesian authorities suspect faulty sensor readings may have caused the Lion Air jet's computers to repeatedly press its nose downward before the plane accelerated into a final dive into the sea.

Initial data from the investigation of the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 indicates that the AOA sensor was providing "erroneous input", according to a Boeing statement.

In a parallel move, the newspaper quoted an unnamed high-profile Boeing representative as saying that the company had made a decision to leave out some details about the new models of aircraft so as to not feed pilots with excessive information.

Now the investigation's focus appears to be expanding to the clarity of US-approved procedures to help pilots prevent the 737 MAX from over-reacting to such a data loss, and methods for training them. It wasn't in our books. Dennis Tajer, a 737 captain and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association at American Airlines Group Inc., said his union's members were also concerned. Capt Sam Thomas, president, Air Lines Pilots' Association, India said, "We have perused the FCOM and QRH of airlines that fly some of the 737 Max airplanes and have not found a conclusive action to be taken in case of the said error".

"I was not pleased".

"We know, because this incident happened, we know we need additional training", he said.

Boeing said it is confident in the safety of the 737 Max family of jets. More than 200 have been delivered to airlines worldwide, including American, Southwest and United.

Such a fix would be much less disruptive for airlines and Boeing than the three-month grounding that halted the planemaker's 787 Dreamliner flights in 2013.

"We ensure that we provide all of the information that is needed to safely fly our airplanes", Muilenburg told Fox Business Network. As a result, Boeing chose not to include a description of it in the extensive manuals it prepared for the Max models, said the memo. Meanwhile, Soerjanto Tjahjono, the head of Indonesla's National Transportation Safety Committee, said his country's regulators would tighten requirements for pilot training.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency directive last week to airlines, telling them to update cockpit manuals to include instructions for how pilots can adjust flight controls under certain conditions.

The FAA said in a statement late Tuesday that the Wall Street Journal story was incorrect to suggest the agency is conducting a safety probe on the Boeing Max.

The comments shed further light on the areas under scrutiny as investigators prepare to publish their preliminary report on Nov 28 or 29, one month after the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX dived into the Java Sea, killing all 189 on board. That has raised questions of whether this safety feature caused the accident.