ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who in 2009 landed a U.S. Airways flight safely on the Hudson River in New York, told a congressional panel on Wednesday that pilots of the now-grounded 737 MAX should get new simulator training before the plane returns to service.
He also said that the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) system of certifying new aircraft is not working after two deadly crashes killing 346 people since October: "Our current system of aircraft design and certification has failed us." Boeing said in May it had completed an update to software, known as MCAS, which would stop erroneous data from triggering an anti-stall system that automatically turned down the noses of the two planes that crashed, despite pilot efforts to stop it.
Sullenberger told the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday that "it is clear that the original version of MCAS was fatally flawed and should never have been approved." Boeing has said that simulator training is not necessary for the 737 MAX, and is recommending a mandatory computer-based course that explains MCAS and could be completed at a pilot’s home in about an hour, according to pilot unions.
Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said in May he had not decided on whether or not to require simulator training.Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio criticized Boeing for failing to disclose details about the MCAS system to pilots.
"The pilots didn't know it existed," DeFazio said.
Two people briefed on the matter said Boeing is set to conduct a certification flight as early as next week before it formally submits its software upgrade and training proposal.