Ethiopia crash pilot lacked proper manuals, simulator training: source

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 21, 2019 - Duration: 01:51s

Ethiopia crash pilot lacked proper manuals, simulator training: source

The pilot of the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed near Addis Ababa never had a chance to use the airline's simulator, according to a Reuters source.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.

Ethiopia crash pilot lacked proper manuals, simulator training: source

An Ethiopian Airlines pilot has given Reuters a damning picture of the circumstances before the crash of one of its Boeing 737 MAX jets.

In focus, a new automated system dubbed MCAS, meant to stop the plane flying too slowly.

It may have pushed the nose down after wrongly deciding the airspeed was dangerously low.

The source says Boeing never provided any manuals for the system.

He says pilots learned more about it from media reports.

Simulators for the MAX also in short supply, with Ethiopian only recently getting one.

Crash pilot Yared Getachew had been due a refresher course on it at the end of March.

Pilots of older-model 737s were only required to do a computer-based conversion course to qualify on the MAX.

Over in Jakarta on Thursday (March 21), investigators revealed details of what's on the black box recording from October's crash there.

(SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) CHIEF INVESTIGATOR OF INDONESIA NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY COMMITTEE, NURCAHYO UTOMO SAYING: "At the end of the flight it seemed the pilot felt he could no longer recover the flight, that's when the panic emerged, I was told." The cockpit voice recorder shows how pilots desperately checked a manual to figure out why their plane kept nosediving.

The news bears out a Reuters exclusive report a day before, though experts say it's too soon to be sure that MCAS is to blame.

Reuters Jamie Freed is following the story in Singapore: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER JAMIE FREED, SAYING: "For Boeing it's been a severe impact and a severe blow to its reputation.

It's had over 370 planes grounded as a result of this indefinitely, and it also has the regulators looking over the certification process so it's very unclear at this stage when these planes can be flying again." Boeing executives now face calls to testify before the U.S. Congress.

Lawmakers want to know whether they, and regulators, understimated the amount of training needed for the new model of jet.

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