Boeing 737 MAX Pilot Training: What’s New in FAAs Report?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday issued a draft report on revised training procedures for the Boeing 737 MAX.

The industry agrees that this is the key milestone in the MAXs ungrounding.

The appendix of the FAAs report specifies special training for Boeing 737 MAX flight crews and includes ground and flight training procedures that highlight the differences between the Boeing 737NG and  Boeing 737 MAX. The proposal adds new training requirements to deal with a key safety system called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) tied to two fatal crashes that killed 346 people and led to the plane’s grounding in March 2019.

MCAS, which was designed to help counter the MAX tendency to pitch up, could be activated after data from only a single Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor. Faulty data that erroneously triggered MCAS to activate played critical roles in fatal Boeing 737 repeatedly MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, a U.S. House report released last month. The FAA requires new safeguards to MCAS before it allows the 737 MAX to return to service. The flight control system will now compare inputs from both AOA sensors.

How will the new regulation affect pilot training?
• First of all, each MAX pilot must undergo new simulator training before they can resume flights.
• The pilot training includes mandatory training on multiple flight deck alerts during unusual conditions.
• The additional training requirements refer to how the pilot responds to an electric and manual runaway stabilizer trim operations during non-normal conditions with timely pilot actions required.
• Pilots must also get training for erroneous, high AOA malfunctions.

The draft Flight Standardization Board report would be open for public comment through November 2 before finalizing the procedures.

The FAA must finalize the software upgrade requirements and other changes to the 737 MAX before it can issue an ungrounding order, which is expected at some point in November. That could allow the MAX to begin resuming commercial flights before the end of 2020.

The draft Flight Standardization Board report would be open for public comment through November 2 before finalizing the procedures.

When to expect 737 MAX in the sky?

During the 19-month grounding, Boeing redesigned MCAS to be much less aggressive and to ensure it won’t overcome the pilots’ commands as it did in the crash flights.

FAA Chief Steve Dickson made a test flight in the Boeing 737 MAX at the end of last month. “I liked what I saw on the flight this morning,” Dickson said. “I felt very comfortable and very prepared based on the training.” Before it can issue an ungrounding order, the FAA needs to finalize the upgrades to the software and other improvements.

It is expected that the Boeing 737 MAX could start to resume commercial flights by the end of November.