Tuesday will see Boeing forced into a situation where it will commence conference calling its 737 Max customers to address the MCAS anti-stall system. The equipment and programming is almost certainly the cause of the Lion Air crash which killed 189 people.
Airlines are going on record stating that the MCAS system wasn’t written up in technical documents, and pilots are reporting that their two day transition training to the Max didn’t even mention it.
United Airlines seems to have discovered the system and admits it has identified it to its pilots, but isn’t saying any more.
American Airlines has confirmed it was unaware of the system.
The black box that would actually identify the issue conclusively still hasn’t be located, but experts are saying the details they’ve been able to harvest so far indicate the anti-stall is responsible.
It appears that the anti-stall forces the nose of the aircraft downward – something the pilot would have been unaware of and fought against, exacerbating the situation, leading to an avoidable tragedy.
One passengers relative has already issued a law suit against Boeing.
The saga highlights the length of transition courses and what is covered, the thoroughness of technical support documents, and how soon transitioned pilots get to read the hundreds of pages of specification documents. Then understand, remember them, and know what to do in the circumstances of a new system activating in flight, that they may never have experienced.
All of this requires training, which requires time and commitments from airlines to make pilots available for long enough.