FAA issues new proposed Boeing 737 MAX pilot training procedures

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FAA Chief Steve Dickson returns in a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Seattle

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday issued a draft report on revised training procedures for the Boeing <BA.N> 737 MAX, a key milestone to the plane’s eventual ungrounding.

The FAA said the draft Flight Standardization Board report would be open for public comment through Nov. 2 before the procedures are finalized. The proposal adds new training requirements to deal with a key safety system called MCAS tied to two fatal crashes that killed 346 people and led to the plane’s grounding in March 2019.

Boeing did not immediately comment.

MCAS, which was designed to help counter a tendency of the MAX to pitch up, could be activated after data from only a single Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor.

Faulty data that erroneously triggered MCAS to repeatedly activate played critical roles in fatal 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, a U.S. House report released last month said.

The FAA is requiring new safeguards to MCAS, including requiring it receive data from two sensors, before it allows the 737 MAX to return to service.

Pilots must undergo new simulator training before they can resume flights, including training on multiple flight deck alerts during unusual conditions along with how to respond to a runaway stabilizer with timely pilot actions required.

Pilots must also get training for erroneous, high AOA malfunctions.

The FAA must finalize the software upgrade requirements and other changes to the 737 MAX before it can issue an ungrounding order, which is expected at some point in November. That could allow the MAX to begin resuming commercial flights before the end of 2020.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora Ellis)

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