Boeing Mocked Lion Air For Requesting Extra 737 Max Pilot Training Year Before Crash

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 29: Dewi Manik, shows a photo of her husband, Rudy Lumbantoruan, who was a victim on board Lion Air flight JT-610 as she boards the Indonesian Navy ship KRI Semarang to visit the site where the aircraft crashed to mark the disaster's one-year anniversary at Tanjung Priok port on October 29, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesians mark one year since the Lion Air crash on Tuesday as investigators said last week that a combination of aircraft design flaws, inadequate training and maintenance problems were the cause of the crash which killed all 189 people on board. Indonesian authorities added that the pilots of the Boeing 737 Max 8 plane were overwhelmed in responding to a malfunctioned flight-control system which led to its crash on October 29, 2018. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)

Indonesia’s Lion Air considered putting its pilots through simulator training before flying the Boeing Co. 737 Max but abandoned the idea after the planemaker convinced them in 2017 it was unnecessary, according to people familiar with the matter and internal company communications.

The next year, 189 people died when a Lion Air 737 Max plunged into the Java Sea, a disaster blamed in part on inadequate training and the crew’s unfamiliarity with a new flight-control feature on the Max that malfunctioned.

Dewi Manik, shows a photo of her husband, Rudy Lumbantoruan, who was a victim on board Lion Air flight JT-610, as she boards an Indonesian Navy ship to visit the site where the aircraft crashed to mark the disaster’s one-year anniversary. At Tanjung Priok port on Oct. 29, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Ulet Ifansasti—Getty Images

Boeing employees had expressed alarm among themselves over the possibility that one of the company’s largest customers might require its pilots to undergo costly simulator training before flying the new 737 model, according to internal messages that have been released to the media. Those messages, included in the more than 100 pages of internal Boeing communications that the company provided to lawmakers and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and released widely on Thursday, had Lion Air’s name redacted.

But the House committee provided excerpts of those messages to Bloomberg News that un-redacted the Indonesian carrier’s name.

“Now friggin Lion Air might need a sim to fly the MAX, and maybe because of their own stupidity. I’m scrambling trying to figure out how to unscrew this now! idiots,” one Boeing employee wrote in June 2017 text messages obtained by the company and released by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In response, a Boeing colleague replied: “WHAT THE F%$&!!!! But their sister airline is already flying it!” That was an apparent reference to Malindo Air, the Malaysian-based carrier that was the first to fly the Max commercially.

Doing simulator training would have undercut a critical selling point of the jet: that airlines would be able to allow crews trained on an older 737 version to fly the Max after just a brief computer course.

In a report on the Oct. 29, 2018 accident, Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee cited a failure by Boeing to tell pilots about the new flight-control feature on the jet, called MCAS, and the need to provide training on it so that pilots would be able to better respond to malfunctions.

Yoda prays for his best friend who died in the Lion Air plane crash in 2018, at a cemetery in Jakarta Oct. 29, 2019. Grieving relatives tossed flowers into the sea on October 29 where an Indonesian Lion Air jet crashed a year before, killing all 189 aboard.BAY ISMOYO—AFP via Getty Images

The report also cited shortfalls in the crew’s ability to perform emergency check lists, fly the plane manually and communicate about the emergency. The copilot, who took nearly four minutes to look up an emergency procedure he was supposed to have memorized, was singled out …read more

Source:: Fortune


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