Boeing says it is recommending simulator training for all pilots of the 737 Max before the aircraft, which suffered two fatal crashes in the space of five months and was subsequently grounded in March 2019, returns to service.
The US manufacturer said the simulator training should be in addition to computer-based training.
“This recommendation takes into account our unstinting commitment to the safe return of service as well as changes to the airplane and test results. Final determination will be established by the regulators,” Boeing said.
The move is a reversal of Boeing’s position, as the company has previous said that computer based training would be enough. One of the selling points Boeing highlighted to market the aircraft was the fact that pilots who could already fly the older generation 737 would not need to undergo additional simulator training, according to a slide from Boeing’s marketing material published by The New York Times.
Boeing previously told airlines their pilots could switch from the older 737NG to the new Max without costly flight simulator training and without compromising on safety, according to a Reuters report in March.
Boeing’s change of heart stems from its analysis of recent flight simulator tests that were part of the work necessary to return the Max to service, which showed that pilots were not using the right procedures to handle emergencies, according to The New York Times.
“Safety is Boeing’s top priority,” said interim Boeing CEO Greg Smith in a press release. “Public, customer and stakeholder confidence in the 737 Max is critically important to us and with that focus Boeing has decided to recommend Max simulator training combined with computer-based training for all pilots prior to returning the Max safely to service.”
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reported yesterday, via The New York Times, that Boeing had uncovered a new potential design flaw with its troubled 737 Max that could lead the aircraft to crash if pilots do not respond correctly.