FAA Issues Draft Report on 737 Max Training

 - October 7, 2020, 10:19 AM

The FAA has issued a Flight Standardization Board report that includes differences training for the 737 Max, marking the latest step toward lifting the model’s grounding order. The draft report, which will remain open for comment until November 2, adds training requirements related to the Max’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), the faulty triggering of which led to the two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

Under the proposal, the FAA will require training in a full-flight simulator (FFS) demonstrating MCAS activation for each pilot during an impending or full stall and recovery demonstration during manual flight in a clean configuration. It also requires demonstration of MCAS activation stabilizer trim responses, according to the draft report, including "Stabilizer trim in the nose down direction when above threshold AOA [angle of attack] for MCAS activation during stall" and "Stabilizer trim in the nose up direction when below threshold AOA for MCAS activation during recovery." 

For instances of runaway stabilizer, training must emphasize recognition and timely pilot actions required by the runaway stabilizer non-normal checklist (NNC). It must also demonstrate control column functionality and its effect on a runaway stabilizer condition and emphasize the need to trim out forces on the column prior to selecting STAB TRIM cutout.

Training must also include special emphasis on multiple flight deck alerts during non-normal conditions, such as when a single malfunction results in multiple flight deck alerts. Meanwhile, MCAS ground training must address the latest flight control computer system description, functionality, and associated failure conditions to include flight crew alerting.

A 238-page report issued by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives last month concluded that Boeing’s faulty assumptions about pilot response time contributed to the crashes. According to the report, Boeing incorrectly assumed that pilots, largely unaware of the MCAS system, would be able to overcome any malfunction. It also failed to classify MCAS as a safety-critical system, which would have drawn further scrutiny from the FAA during the certification process. Finally, the report said that the operation of MCAS violated Boeing’s own internal design guidelines calling for no “objectionable interaction with the piloting of the airplane” and neglected the principle that it “not interfere with dive recovery.”