NTSB recommends Boeing develop an enhanced version of its EICAS crew alert system. But the 737, alone among Boeing jets, doesn't even have EICAS. It's system architecture is too old
NTSB faults Boeing tests of 737 MAX for not assessing how pilots respond to multiple alerts
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September 26, 2019 - by Dominic Gates for seattletimes.com
- However, Boeing's 737, its oldest jet, doesn't even have EICAS. Behind its sleek-looking pilot flight displays, the jet's legacy avionics systems have been upgraded piecemeal over 50 years and the overall system architecture won't support EICAS.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Thursday criticized Boeing's testing of the 737 MAX for evaluating in isolation the flight control system that later went haywire, rather than testing it with an overload of warning messages in the cockpit as occurred during the two fatal crashes of the jet.
In a report based on the MAX accident investigations, the NTSB also said modern jets need to have much better designed pilot alerting systems, going beyond what current jets have — and much beyond the legacy systems on 737s.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a report Thursday pointing to shortcomings in the flight test process that certified Boeing's 737 MAX. During the certification process, Boeing tested the new flight control system that later went awry in the two accidents, but failed to take account of the pilot response to an overload of warning messages in the cockpit.
"We've identified a gap in the human/machine or human/airplane interface," said Evan Byrne, the NTSB's chief of human performance and survival factors in the Office of Aviation Safety, in a press briefing. "We are trying to close that gap as it relates to multiple alerts going off simultaneously."
Boeing's assumptions proved wrong. With those distractions in the cockpit— and in the case of the Lion Air flight, where the crew had no prior knowledge of MCAS, which Boeing had omitted from the flight manuals — the pilots did not diagnose the problem they were facing and failed to respond as Boeing expected.
All Boeing airplanes besides the 737 have a more modern centralized pilot alerting system called EICAS...
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