90 SpiceJet pilots restrained from operating Boeing 737 MAX, until satisfactory training : DGCA
The DGCA stated after discovering anomalies in the simulator training that pilots have to undergo while at a facility in Noida.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated that nearly 90 SpiceJet pilots had been restrained from flying the Boeing 737 MAX until satisfactory training. The DGCA stated after discovering anomalies in the simulator training that pilots have to undergo while at a facility in Noida.
As per reports, Arun Kumar, India's aviation regulator, stated that 90 pilots have been barred from flying the Boeing 737 MAX. They will have to undergo the training again to satisfy DGCA. Following the alleged lapse, the airline's pilot training is under the regulator's scanner.
The SpiceJet spokesperson stated that the DGCA observes the training profile followed for 90 pilots. Therefore, as the DGCA direction, SpiceJet has barred 90 pilots from flying the MAX aircraft. To the satisfaction of the DGCA, the pilots will have to go under training.
The airline spokesperson stated that the airline, which currently operates 11 out of 13 MAX fleets, says 60 daily flights operated on these planes remain unaffected. Nearly 144 pilots are needed to manage the 11 aircraft (MAX). SpiceJet has presently 560 trained pilots in MAX. He added that the trained pilot's strength is more than enough for continuing normal operations.
As per sources, the crucial 'manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system' (MCAS) was not functioning properly in the simulator was not functioning correctly at the time when these 90 pilots were training. MCAS, a controversial flight stabilising programme created by Boeing for MAX, was subsequently proven to blame for the 346 persons killed in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines B737 MAX accidents in October 2018 and March 2019, respectively.
A source also added that a part of the system, the 'stick shaker' that vibrates the control column and makes noise when the jet risks losing life, was not functioning properly in the simulator when pilots were training.
In Lion Air and Ethiopian MAX crashes, both the aircraft's noses were pushed down due to multiple factors that were corrected later when the MAX was allowed to fly again post a global grounding. Proper pilot training for the MCAS on the MAX simulator is key to flying this plane safely. The MAX is currently operated by SpiceJet, the only Indian airline to do so.
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala's Akasa will take to the skies the same aircraft this summer. Akasa has ordered for 72 B737 MAX.
Boeing stated to MCAS that flight control law was designed and certified for the B737 MAX (Boeing's hurried answer to arch-rival European Airbus' best-selling A320neo family of planes) to boost the pitch stability of the aeroplane, such that it feels and flies like other 737s.