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FAA releases 737 Max draft pilot training rules

The Federal Aviation Administration has released a draft report proposing training requirements for 737 Max pilots, another step towards the agency’s certification of the grounded jet.

The FAA is accepting comments to the draft “Flight Standardization Report” through 2 November.

The agency will not issue final training recommendations until after the comment period closes, the FAA says.

Boeing has previously said it expects regulators will certificate the jet in time to allow deliveries to resume in the fourth quarter, though the FAA says steps remain.

Asked to comment about the draft report, Boeing says it ”is working closely with the FAA and other global regulators to meet their expectations as we work to safely return the 737 Max to service”.

The draft training document outlines changes aimed at helping pilots better understand and respond to inputs from the Max’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

Investigators say MCAS, which pitches the Max’s nose down in some flight circumstances, contributed to crashes of a Lion Air 737 Max in 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines Max in 2019.

The draft training report specifies that pilots must be taught about MCAS and “associated failure conditions”, and experience, in a flight simulator, MCAS activation.

They must also be trained in recognising “runaway stabiliser”, a condition occurring when a jet’s horizontal stabiliser moves without pilot command.

Training must also stress “control column functionality and its effect on runaway stabiliser”, and “the need to trim out forces on the column prior to selecting “STAB TRIM cutout”.

Pilots can use the trim-cut-out switch to disengage the jet’s electric horizontal trim system.

Additionally, training must emphasise procedures for using electric and manual stabiliser trim during non-normal conditions, and “the effects of the air loads on the stabiliser.”

The proposed training also calls for review of “erroneous high angle-of-attack (AOA) malfunctions”.

The proposed training items address pilot and training concerns highlighted by the Max crashes.

In the minutes before both jets went down, AOA failures caused MCAS to erroneously activate.

Accident investigators concluded that the pilots, facing a bevy of failure indicators, were unable to regain control. They have attributed the crashes to pilot actions, Boeing’s design of the Max’s flight control system and the FAA’s certification of the jet.

The draft pilot training recommendations incorporate recommendations from a “Joint Operations Evaluation Board” – a panel composed of regulators from the USA, Canada, Brazil and the European Union.

In addition to finalising pilot training, the FAA says it still must review “Boeing’s final documentation, to evaluate compliance with all FAA regulations”.

S: Flight Global

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