Top Letters And Comments, March 15, 2019


Boeing 737 MAX Grounding

I strongly suspect that many (if not a majority) of airlines do not include enough aircraft handling simulator training on their conversion courses, especially on difference courses.

For example, converting from the B737-800 to the 737 MAX should include simulator training specifically aimed at how to deal with a malfunctioning MCAS, not just handing out manuals & some stuff on an iPad.

Boeing may share the blame on this by playing down the potential danger of a malfunctioning MCAS to allow airlines to save on pilot training. However, those airlines who skimp on training and do not emphasize “stick & rudder skills” are guilty of gross negligence. Computers are not infallible!

I spent 42 years airline flying, have 21,802 hours total including 6,219 in command on the 737-800, so have a reasonable idea of how the industry works.

David Hutchison

Am I missing out on something concerning FLIGHT SAFETY? or is the need to earn money the overriding factor? My background in aviation is 12 years served with the Royal Air Force as an instrument avionics technician many years ago. I know it doesn’t make me an expert, but I feel I need to comment. What I learned during that time geared me up for life.

We learned FLIGHT SAFETY comes FIRST! and if in doubt……CHECK……but don’t proceed regardless. Why then do the authorities permit the 737 to continue making dollars whilst a BIG doubt hangs over the air worthiness of the 737 MAX 8 series of aircraft worldwide, this being the office, if you like, for the 737 MAX 8?

Two ultra-severe, very similar, if not identical, crashes of this brand-new type in such a short time frame raises concern for all. Why put lives at risk when nobody knows the causes of these incidents…which seem to be identical? Why throw DOUBT out the window and FLIGHT SAFETY with it?

My congratulations to the Chinese, Ethiopian and Caymen wise men for taking the lead in grounding these aircraft, respecting the fare paying innocents.

Peter C. MacDonald

I don’t think the MAX should have been grounded in the U.S. unless U.S. pilots were reporting the same kind of oscillations that occurred with the Lion and Ethiopian flights. If U.S. pilots were reporting the same oscillations that occurred on the Lion flight, the plane should have been grounded long before now.


What would it take to unground the plane? Simple, some confirmation from the FAA or some other qualified entity after inspection of the black box information that says the plane did not suffer from some manufacturing process error. There were “fire and sparks” coming out of the plane BEFORE it crashed witnesses said. That doesn’t sound like a software problem to me. Prudence requires the plane to be grounded just like the 787 was grounded.

If they don’t then the money that the plane makes is far more important than the up to 210 people on the plane. That is not what the airline says when these things happen. You may want to get on the plane but will you if it is found the plane’s panel blew up and incapacitated both pilots so that the plane came down almost vertically with no attempts from either the 200-hour person or the 8000-hour person to correct the dive. You say this could never happen now but never is a very long time.

Peter Bowen

I see the writer of this piece is not identified with a byline. Re: confidence in U.S. pilots flying the airplane: How do you know what the 737 MAX is “throwing at them”? When the trim cutouts are “flipped” is the automation well and truly disconnected from the controls, or is it similar to modern cars with stability control systems, with on-off switches that aren’t exactly on-off switches at all? Can a pilot of the airplane answer that question or should it be put to the responsible software engineer and decision-makers at Boeing who approved this design feature?

C. E.

It appears Boeing generally are getting too `Big headed` in what they consider necessary in `training` and/or conversions in regard to 737 operations. To hang on the coat tails of original 737 100/200 all new variations of said 737 is CRAZY – newer types are NO WAY near the original in almost any area – except by retaining the now VERY old overhead panel.

FAA are in collusion with this!!!! verging on CRIMINAL actions – WITH INTENT. The almighty dollar wins again????!!!

Graham Lucas

Yes, [I would] fly tomorrow with an experienced pilot on one of the three U.S. carriers – not with a foreign carrier or one who has 2nd pilot with only 200 hours time – inexperience probably caused the crashes!!!

Edward L. Moore

Equipping ADS-B

I don’t mind the technology in and of its own, though it is still a lot of money to spend with no gain in capability. I don’t mind the safety enhancement of other traffic knowing WHERE I am, but no one has any reason to know WHO I am, particularly not anyone with cheap equipment passing it to a worldwide network.

Steve Rush

Teen Pilot Seeks Age Exemption

Remember the 8-year-old who killed herself and her instructor while trying to set a record? The regulations are there just to prevent the stupid competition of “Youngest to” which, by its very definition, engenders a race to the bottom.

His request should absolutely be denied. As a matter of fact, no “Record” should be recognized unless the pilot has met a standard of qualification set to be considered for that record.

Barry Gloger