‘Sully’ Said He Would Have Struggled to Land Malfunctioning 737 MAXes
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
During a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Chesley Sullenberger III said he had difficulty landing a Boeing 737 MAX simulator that was programmed to replicate failures similar to those that occurred on fatal flights in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
“I recently experienced all these warnings in a 737 MAX flight simulator during recreations of the accident flights. Even knowing what was going to happen, I could see how crews could have run out of time before they could have solved the problems,” Sullenberger said to the panel. “Prior to these accidents, I think it is unlikely that any US airline pilots were confronted with this scenario in simulator training.”
“Sully” is best known for landing a crippled Airbus A320 in the Hudson River off New York City, saving all onboard after the plane’s engines were disabled by a double bird strike. That 2009 incident eventually came to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
His testimony on Wednesday came during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee hearing that focused on two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in which 346 passengers died. Those accidents have been blamed on an automated flight control system known as MCAS, which was originally designed to prevent Boeing’s latest 737 from stalling during some maneuvers.
The system was ultimately given greater control authority than its original design called for, and 737 MAXes are now grounded globally as Boeing works with regulators and other stakeholders to develop a fix to the software and new training guidelines.
During the hearing, Boeing’s manufacturing standards and the Federal Aviation Administration regulatory processes were repeatedly called into question, as were pilot training practices.
Dan Carey, an American Airlines captain and president of the Allied Pilots Association, criticized Boeing for inviting former regulators and retired pilots like Sullenberger and Randy Babbitt, a former FAA administrator who was also on the panel, to test the 737 MAX updates before pilots who are still in the workforce were given the same opportunity. He said members of his union had been invited to test the simulators earlier this month, but that invitation was rescinded before APA pilots were able to do so.
“It’s curious to me while Boeing is working on this fix they don’t want the people who fly it to actually see it,” Carey said.
Featured image by Stephen Brashear, Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.