Politics a factor in return of 737 Max

Elias Hubbard
June 25, 2019

The union has been highly critical of Boeing, saying it did not inform the pilots of the additional software in the plane until after the first crash, in Indonesia, in October and expressed safety concerns before a House aviation panel last week.

This disaster was the second plane crash of this type for six months at the end of October 2018, the same "Boeing" Indonesian company Lion Air fell into the Java sea shortly after taking off from the airport of Jakarta.

The initiator of the claim, known as Pilot X, who chose to remain anonymous due to "fear of reprisals on the part of Boeing and discrimination by Boeing customers", filed a statement of claim, according to which it requires compensation for his more than 400 colleagues working at the same airline.

The pilots claim that they "suffer from significant losses of wages, including economic and non-economic damages" since the grounding of the aircraft.

According to the network, the suit was filed in Chicago, where Boeing has its headquarters, and a hearing date has been set for October 21. The pilots in the suit are all qualified in the MAX and their case hinges on the allegation that Boeing did not tell them about the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which is implicated in the crash of two airliners and the loss of 346 lives.

Pilot X claimed that this gave the aircraft "inherently unsafe aerodynamic handling defects". The removal of the plane will lead to the cancellation of about 115 flights a day. The pilots allege MCAS made the aircraft risky because it took data from a single source to trigger its activation and that Boeing didn't let pilots know how to deal with a failure of the system.

Competitor to the MAX, Airbus A320 NEO, relies on three sensors in the control of fault tolerance.

The MCAS function was not made explicit to pilots.

Regulators, including the Federal Aviation Administration, have not yet approved the software changes or the additional pilot training material Boeing has been developing. They allege that such casual approach to familiarizing pilots with new software was deliberate - and was meant to save the cost of introducing new simulator-based training so that pilots would take up "revenue-generating routes as quickly as possible".

When contacted by the ABC in April, a Boeing spokesperson said that MCAS's function was referenced in the MAX's flight crew operations manual, where it outlined what the plane would do "in the rare event that the airplane reaches a high angle of attack".

"Boeing decided not to provide MAX pilots with information or knowledge that the MCAS was incorporated into the airplane."

Trying to get compensation for money problems and mental disorders, the pilots who filed the class-action suit, said they hope "to keep Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers to put corporate profit above the life of the pilots, crew and the General public that they serve".

Boeing said it is addressing additional questions from the regulator and will schedule a certification test flight once those are answered.

The legal action was joined by over 400 fellow pilots, trained to fly the fourth-generation narrow-body 737 MAX aircraft.

Boeing declined to comment on the class action.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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