Of all the things that came in for huge criticism and Boeing cynically tried to suggest was pilot arrogance and whining, it was the transition training – or lack of it, from 737NG to MAX.
Boeing had parsed the training down to a 56 minute iPad training course, after which pilots were considered sufficiently trained to fly the 737MAX.
We all know where that led to, and the consequences are that having revised the 737MAX software, the FAA and Boeing have decided that only full simulator training is now sufficient to prepare a pilot for the 737MAX.
Much of this is down to training pilots on what to do if things go wrong, what to expect if something does and how to manage it when it happens.
The result is an airline rush for simulators – a complex piece of kit that takes weeks to assemble and aren’t built in particularly large numbers.
The problem is there are only 34 MAX simulators globally.
One of the biggest suppliers by far is CAE in Canada who run worldwide facilities to train up to 135,000 pilots a year on 300 machines.
The company has said its willing to boost production to try and meet demand, but it will take time.
For airlines like American and Southwest they can’t get them soon enough and it’s going to be a huge factor in getting the type back into service globally. Some analysts are saying it could add as long as three to six months to returning the type to service globally.