New York, May 19: For the first time since two air crashes involving Boeing planes killed over 346 people within six months, the US aerospace company has acknowledged that it had to correct defects in its 737 MAX flight simulator, which are used to train pilots."Boeing has made corrections to the 737 MAX simulator software and has provided additional information to device operators to ensure that the simulator experience is representative across different flight conditions," Boeing said in a statement on Saturday cited by Al Jazeera.
However, Boeing did not indicate when it first became aware of the problem, and whether it informed the regulators of the same.US airlines train their pilots flying the MAX on a simulator built for the 737 Next Generation (NG), the version preceding the 737 MAX in the 737 aircraft family. Ethiopian Airlines Crash: Facts to know about the controversy involving Boeing 737-MAX aircraft.
Oliver McGee, a former US deputy assistant secretary for transportation, said it's vital for pilots to have access to accurate training systems."These simulators are very important to the airline operators," McGee told Al Jazeera. "It can cost about tens of millions of dollars over the life of the aircraft."On Friday, the company had announced that it had finally completed the software update for the 737 MAX planes. The Federation Aviation Administration (FAA), however, is yet to provide certification for the same.
The model 737 MAX came under scrutiny following two deadly plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia within six months. Investigations are ongoing into both the incidents. Last Sunday, the company said it was aware of a flawed safety feature with the 737 Max aircraft well before the deadly October 2018 Lion Aircrash, but considered it to be a premium add-on to the aeroplane and hence decided not to do anything about it.
During a congressional hearing on Wednesday, the company admitted that it should have been quicker to report the said flaw. Saturday's development adds to Boeing's mounting problems, which include frayed relations with airlines and customers, multiple federal investigations, among others.