Stunning Messages From 2016 Deepen Boeing’s 737 MAX Crisis - Top Boeing Pilots Were Caught Off Guard By The MCAS
Top Boeing pilots were caught off guard by the MCAS
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Boeing's MAX crisis deepened Friday with new controversy around an exchange of bantering texts between senior pilots that suggested Boeing knew as early as 2016 about the perils of a new flight-control system later implicated in two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people.
The exchange of messages in 2016 between the two lead technical pilots on the Boeing 737 MAX program was released Friday after regulators blew up at the company for belatedly disclosing the matter.
The messages reveal that the flight-control system, which two years later went haywire on the crashed flights, was behaving aggressively and strangely in the pilots' simulator sessions.
In the exchange, one of the pilots states that given the behavior of the system, known as a Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), he had unknowingly lied to the FAA about its capabilities.
"It's running rampant in the sim on me," 737 Chief Technical Pilot Mark Forkner wrote to Patrik Gustavsson, who would succeed him as chief technical pilot. "I'm levelling off at like 4000 ft, 230 knots and the plane is trimming itself like craxy. I'm like, WHAT?" (Spelling errors in the original.)
"Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious," Forkner added.
The exchange shows that the aggressive behavior of MCAS was known to Boeing even ahead of flight testing, and that these top Boeing pilots were caught off guard by the system's power.
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