Colleague says Ethiopian crash pilot had not trained on Max simulator: report

Colleague says Ethiopian crash pilot had not trained on Max simulator: report
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The pilot in a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 158 people last week had not undergone training on Boeing's 737 Max 8 aircraft, the type of plane involved in the crash, a fellow pilot with the airline told Reuters.

A colleague of Yared Getachew said the 29-year-old pilot was due for a refresher course at the end of March, adding that his company had received just one simulator that allowed pilots to practice flying the new aircraft, and only received it two months ago.

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“Boeing did not send manuals on MCAS [Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, a new addition to the line of planes],” the unnamed pilot told Reuters, adding, “Actually we know more about the MCAS system from the media than from Boeing.”

Ethiopian Airlines pushed back on the pilot's claim, slamming the remarks in a statement to Reuters. The company said all pilots had received training to fly the 737 Max aircraft and had received specific training on the differences between that plane and previous models.

“We urge all concerned to refrain from making such uninformed, incorrect, irresponsible and misleading statements during the period of the accident investigation,” Ethiopian Airlines told Reuters.

A former airline safety chairman with the U.S. Airline Pilots Association told Reuters that he thinks the dispute indicates that pilots were unaware of the scope of the changes made between the design of the 737 Max aircraft and previous vessels.

“I think that the differences between the 737 NG and the Max were underplayed by Boeing,” John Cox told the news service. “Consequently, the simulator manufacturers were not pushing it either. The operators didn’t realize the magnitude of the differences."

The 737 Max 8 aircraft has been involved in two deadly crashes in six months, prompting governments worldwide to ground the planes until further notice. A crash in Indonesia last year involving a 737 Max 8 jet killed 189 people.