The Latest: Retired pilot says iPad training not enough
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the House aviation subcommittee hearing on the Boeing 737 Max (all times local):
Retired pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger says pilots should practice the failure of Boeing flight-control software on simulators, not planes full of passengers.
Sullenberger told a congressional panel Wednesday that he used a simulator to recreate the scenario that occurred — an automatic nose-down pitch of the plane, based on a faulty sensor reading — before Boeing 737 Max jets crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot said the “startle factor” when the software misfired was real and confusing, and he understood the difficulty the crews faced to regain control.
Sullenberger said all 737 Max pilots should get detailed training on flight simulators.
“Reading about it on an iPad is not even close to sufficient,” he told the House aviation subcommittee.
Boeing is proposing computer-based training, and technical experts at the Federal Aviation Administration hold the same view, although FAA officials have not made a final decision.
Sullenberger was a US Airways pilot in 2009 when he safely landed an Airbus jet on New York’s Hudson River after bird strikes knocked out the engines during takeoff from nearby LaGuardia Airport.
The head of the pilots’ union at Southwest Airlines says that his group will seek compensation from Boeing for lost flying assignments and the costs of complying with a Justice Department subpoena for its records, which are part of the government’s criminal investigation into Boeing.
The statement comes as a House aviation subcommittee holds its third hearing into the Boeing 737 Max. The plane has been grounded after two crashes killed a total of 346 people.
Wednesday’s hearing will include testimony from pilots and flight attendants, who will speak of a loss of trust in aviation safety. The previous two hearings have focused on the Federal Aviation Administration oversight of Boeing, and whether it has been tough enough.
The president of the pilots’ union at American Airlines says Boeing made mistakes in its design of the 737 Max and not telling pilots about new flight-control software on the plane.
Daniel Carey says it won’t be easy to restore trust in aviation safety. He is scheduled to testify about the matter Wednesday at a congressional hearing.
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the captain who safely landed a disabled jetliner on the Hudson River in 2009, is also expected to testify. He has said that Boeing was more focused on protecting its product, the Max, than protecting the people who use it.
The comments underscore the challenges Boeing faces in winning the confidence of pilots — and eventually passengers — that the Max can be made safe to fly after accidents that killed 346 people.