American Airlines Unaware Of Risks Associated With Boeing 737 Max

Daniel Fowler
November 18, 2018

After Boeing and the FAA highlighted how the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System works and pointed to an existing emergency procedure to counter any malfunctions by it, pilots in the US said they should have been given more information.

Boeing and the FAA continue to evaluate the need for upgrades to the software or are planning to change the design of the aircraft.

The airline's claims come after Boeing was similarly accused on Tuesday by the Allied Pilots Association (APA) of withholding information about the potential danger of the plane's new features.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, where Boeing is headquartered, centers on a new safety feature that can cause the 737 Max 8 aircraft to "auto-dive" in certain situations.

That news stunned pilot unions and other experts who said they had no idea an automatic stall-prevention system was even added to the new 737 model, and never knew about the potentially fatal problem.

A Boeing 737 MAX sits outside the hangar during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 8, 2015.

An automated protection system called the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) kicks in when the angle of attack is too high, when the plane's nose is too elevated, threatening a stall.

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Lion Air says it followed a training regime approved by US and European regulators. American Airlines vowed to keep pilots abreast of all updates pertaining to the matter.

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed shortly after taking off from Jakarta on October 29.

Boeing said last week that a safety bulletin issued to aircraft operators in the wake of the crash was merely meant to reinforce existing procedures.

The AOA "may be the causal system in the Lion Air incident", Mike Michaelis, chairman of an APA safety committee, said in the letter.

Pilots could have stopped the plane from acting uncontrollably by pressing two buttons.

However, Brazil's regulator told Reuters that it had required specific training for pilots on the anti-stall system.

According to The Times, Boeing has been busy selling the new 737s to different airlines and showcasing it as a plane that needed little to no additional pilot training, which is an attractive financial incentive for airlines.

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