India’s DGCA recommends training for its Boeing pilots to replicate Lion Air crash events

While confirming that neither Jet Airways nor SpiceJet have experienced any problems with their Boeing 737 MAX jets, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has recommended that Boeing pilots undergo additional training. The advice comes after the October 29 crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX which killed all 189 passengers and crew on board. While the official cause of the crash has yet to be published, the focus has been on a sensor related to the anti-stall system on the jet which is reputed to have provided inaccurate information. It is believed the pilots on board the ill-fated flight were ill equipped to deal with the behavior of the plane if it reacted to false data readings, their subsequent actions in this instance possibly exacerbating rather than solving the problem.

The DGCA is keen to see Boeing pilots undergo further training in a flight simulator that will have the capability of replicating the conditions on the Lion Air jet prior to the crash, saying that: “Even though Indian operators have not experienced such major concern … following decisions were taken as interim precautionary safety measures till such time Boeing issues more detailed information or clarification.”

While the reasons for the crash are becoming clearer, attention has been diverted to the actions of Lion Air after it was revealed that pilots who had flown the 737 MAX the day before has reported similar behavioral problems with the jet on take-off. However, rather than turn back, they successfully dealt with the problem and continued on to the intended destination. It is understood that in the event a plane’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) detects any defect, the plane should be diverted and a verification flight (with no passengers) be performed prior to the jet re-entering into service. According to an Indonesian report on the accident, this did not take place.

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