Semantron 23 Summer 2023

The Boeing 737 Max crisis

air safety across Africa, Asia and the Pacific Region, 95 emphasized that ‘ all signatories have a contractual obligation to ensure that all aspects of their civil aviation infrastructure meet the Standards of ICAO ’ , based on the Chicago Convention. He also added that the FAA ‘ delegates technical tests/approval functions to the aircraft manufacturer ’. 96

Based on the above information, we can conclude that the FAA played a huge role in the crisis, and this crisis has revealed their unprofessionalism, lack of independence, lack of supervision and over-reliance on the ODA system.

Flaws: pilots’ responsibility

After the crash of JT610, Boeing immediately blamed the pilots. Dennis Muilenburg, former CEO of Boeing said, ‘ the airplane has the ability to handle a bad sensor ’. 97 Boeing showed reluctance to admit it was their mistake, but instead, they shifted their focus on the airline and the pilots. After a year, during the House Aviation subcommittee hearing on the B737 MAX, lead Republican congressman Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, blamed the Indonesian and Ethiopian pilots for the crash – ‘ pilots trained in the United States would have successfully been able to handle’. 98 During the 9-year period from 2007 to 2016, Lion Air, along with seven other Indonesian airlines, was banned from entering the European Union airspace amid concerns about maintenance and training protocols. 99

The true question is, did the pilots do enough to stop the crash from happening?

’That’s part of the training manual, it’s an existing procedure,’ replied Muilenburg, when being asked if the information of MCAS was available to the pilots. 100 Later findings suggested that no, the MCAS system was not noted in FCOM, the most fundamental reference handbook pilots use. A senior Boeing official later mentioned in a private interview, ‘ We (Boeing) never trained them (the pilots) on it (MCAS), because we didn’t want to overwhelm them with information.’ 101 This was their excuse to not providing sufficient information for the pilots. On the contrary, some pilots on other airlines were only given a 1- hour iPad training course if they would like to switch from flying the B737NG to B737 MAX. This would be the case, until after the Lion Air crash, when pilots demanded simulator training. United Airlines, for example, had created a 13-page guide to the 737 MAX and a 2-hour iPad course, which did not mention a single word on MCAS. 102 This act would save airlines and Boeing hundreds of millions of US Dollars. 103

95 Dulwich College 2021, OA Story – Colin Everard . 96 Everard 2022, Email Questionnaire with Colin Everard by Matthew Wu .

97 Robison 2021, Boeing built an unsafe plane, and blamed the pilots when it crashed . 98 Gates 2019, How much was pilot error a factor in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes? 99 Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington, D.C. 2016, European Union Lifted Flight Ban for Three Indonesian Airline . 100 Robison 2021, Boeing built an unsafe plane, and blamed the pilots when it crashed . 101 Netflix 2022, Downfall: The Case Against Boeing . 102 Lahiri 2019, Pilots trained for Boeing’s 737 Max airplane with ‘ an iPad lesson for an hour . 103 Rucinski et al. 2019, U.S. lawmakers question Boeing’s $1m rebate clause for Southwest 737 MAX orders .


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