Chicago - Things keep worsening for Boeing. The pilots who involved in the 737 MAX flight tests were not informed about how severely the anti-stall system of the aircraft would push the plane’s nose down, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources who are close to the matter.
The pilots did not know either that the system was relying on the Angle of Attack (AOA) data from only one sensor rather than two, the same sources claim.
The MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) of the 737 MAX jets was pointed out as the cause of the two recent fatal crashes, which killed 346 people.
The lack of pilot's involvement in the development process may cause new questions about Boeing's design and engineering practices, which are already under close scrutiny by the investigators and regulators.
It is not certain whether larger pilot participation in the design process would have affected the final design of the aircraft's controversial anti-stall system. But together with the lack of detailed information about the system, pilots limited involvement in the process raise serious concerns about engineering and design practices of the American aircraft manufacturer.
A Boeing spokesman rejected claims the test pilots had a minor role in the design process.
“Listening to pilots is an important aspect of our work,” the spokesman said.
“Their experienced input is front and center in our mind when we develop airplanes. We share a common priority-safety-and we listen to them carefully.”
A former test pilot of the company who was involved in the later stages of the 737 MAX test flights told the Journal that he only had general information about the MCAS and wasn’t given further details such as how steeply the system intervenes in case of the out of limit Angle of Attack data and the system relies on only one AOA sensor to intervene rather than two.