How much was pilot error a factor in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes?
"I'm disappointed with those who sit in their lofty chairs of judgment and say this wouldn't have happened to U.S. pilots
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May 16, 2019 - by Dominic Gates for seattlestimes.com
- The veteran U.S. airline captain said that the American aviation community needs to avoid getting "too cocky about U.S. pilots being immune from mistakes."
In his opening statement Wednesday at the House Aviation subcommittee hearing on the 737 MAX in Washington, D.C., the lead Republican congressman blamed errors by the Indonesian and Ethiopian pilots for the two deadly MAX crashes in those countries.
"Pilots trained in the United States would have successfully been able to handle" the emergencies on both jets, said Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He added that preliminary reports about the accident "compound my concerns about quality training standards in other countries."
Graves was repeating the main points in a report written by two pilots at a major U.S. airline that pointed to pilot error as "the most consequential factor" in both crashes. Their report was commissioned and paid for by institutional investors with large holdings in Boeing stock.
That case for pilot error as the major cause of the crashes seems close to a surrogate for what Boeing has only hinted at, and may be a key part of the manufacturer's legal defense in liability lawsuits.
Yet two flight-simulator sessions replicating the conditions on the doomed flights contradict Graves' contention that better trained pilots would have escaped disaster. And some Western-trained pilots criticize the report as based on unverified assumptions and minimizing the intense stress Boeing's runaway flight-control system imposed on the two flight crews.
A good pilot on a bad day
"I'm disappointed with those who sit in their lofty chairs of judgment and say this wouldn't have happened to U.S. pilots," said a veteran captain with a major U.S. airline, who asked not to be named to avoid involving his employer.
The veteran U.S. airline captain said that the American aviation community needs to avoid getting "too cocky about U.S. pilots being immune from mistakes."
He said he's spent a lot of time flying with local pilots in western China where the mountains are high and the flying is hazardous...