Boeing nullified a big original selling point ofairliner on Tuesday, recommending that pilots receive simulator training before the plane can return to service. The Max is now in the 10th month of a global grounding after .
Though aviation safety agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration will ultimately determine whether simulator training is needed, it’s likely that. Simulator sessions will require extra time and expense for airlines struggling to get their Max fleets back in the air.
Interim Boeing CEO Greg Smith said In a statement that the new recommendation comes after it evaluated its own simulator tests after making changes to the aircraft’s systems. Smith assumed the top role after CES Dennis Muilenburg was fired by the company’s board of directors two weeks ago.
“Safety is Boeing’s top priority,” Smith said. “Public, customer and stakeholder confidence in the 737 MAX is critically important to us, and with that focus, Boeing has decided to recommend MAX simulator training combined with computer-based training.”
Because the 737 Max has essentially the same fuselage design thatsince 1967, Boeing and the FAA initially agreed that flight crews certified on earlier 737s wouldn’t need simulator time. Instead, to save both training costs and time, they learned about the differences the Max brought through an hour’s worth of iPad-based training.
But that iPad session gave scant mention to MCAS, the flight control system blamed for the crashes. Though Boeing has madeover the past year, which the simulator sessions will cover, no test flight with the FAA has yet been scheduled making it unclear when the Max will carry passengers again.