FSB’s issuance of Draft B737 MAX8 may perturb JATR

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Draft report says simulator training not needed

Issued by FAA legacy organization

Will it complicate Joint Authorities reaching a Consensus Airworthiness Juggment?

A perturbation in the reexamination of the B737 MAX 8 airworthiness may have been created by the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board. It’s complicated; so, let’s trace the impact from Des Moines, WA to Washington, DC.

The FAA and the international airworthiness certification community are in the midst of a very delicate response to the B-737 MAX 8 accidents. The wave of grounding notices by Civil Aviation Authorities required a careful response from the FAA. The Joint Authorities Technical Review was the brilliant response to this affront to the authority which certificated this plane and had greatest knowledge of the plane.

JATR is bringing these criticizing CAAs into the decision process to reauthorize the plane, more specifically the MCAS. Though no final report has been issued by the Indonesian or Ethiopian investigations, several sources in particular ALPA have pointed to a need for additional training of pilots.

The FAA’s organization for evaluating aircraft located in Des Moines, WA. There it’s best airworthiness staff works on the certification of commercial aircraft on proposals around the world. One of its premier, legacy[1] organizations, expert in the details of the TC standards and operations, is called the Flight Standardization Board (FSB), resident in the Aircraft Evaluation Division.

Following a discipline of transparency, the FSB issued the following draft report

FAA publishes draft report on Boeing 737 MAX MCAS changes

“The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a draft report from the Boeing 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board, after reviewing changes made by Boeing to the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Design issues of the MCAS were noted in the wake of two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 accidents.

The Flight Standardization Board reviewed only the training aspects related to software enhancements to the aircraft, stating the “system was found to be operationally suitable”.

The report is open to public comment for 14 days. After that, the FAA will review those comments before making a final assessment. Boeing Co. is still expected in the coming weeks to submit the final software package for certification.”

The 53 page technical document has been summarized as follows:

A group of technical experts appointed by federal aviation regulators says pilots won’t need new training on flight simulators to learn how to operate the Boeing plane that was grounded after two deadly crashes involving a new anti-stall system.

The group says there should be computer and classroom instruction about new software on the Boeing 737 Max.

That should be adequate training for pilots who have flown earlier versions of the 737, according to the group.

The short comment period drew fire from the pilot unions and this second notice was issued.

FAA reopens comments on 737 MAX training report

The FAA reopened comments on a report evaluating the need for new pilot training requirements for the Boeing 737 MAX after some pilot unions complained they were left in the dark.

 

These actions are not fatal errors, but their issuance seems flawed. The FSB knows this airplane, as their office was involved in its original TC issuance, which has been the subject of some criticism. Many may question whether this assessment add to the airworthiness judgment.

Looking beyond the superficial aspects of the FSB notice, the already skeptical foreign CAAs may regard this draft as a not so subtle prejudgment of one of the JATR’s important team assessments!

Being transparent is good; issuing a draft report not totally necessary.

 

P.S. The effort to return Boeing Co.’s 737 Max airliners to flight hit another hurdle when Canada’s transport minister said he favored requiring new simulator training for pilots.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on Wednesday that the planes would be grounded “for as long as it takes” and pilots should experience the fixes Boeing is devising in simulators instead of relying only on more basic, computer-based ground training.

P.P.S. Hopefully, Chairman of JATR Chris Hart will rule that the FSB draft report does not constitute the final opinion of the FAA and the Review team should ignore the words of Des Moines, WA.

 

[1] As of July 23, 2017, the Aircraft Certification Organization began a major transformation, Many of the responsibilities are in the process of being changed.. The new structure is described here.



 

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