MIAMI – On October 6, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) came out with a flight standardization board report that spells out specifically what training Boeing 737 MAX Crews need to undergo to be current and qualified to fly the aircraft. This proposed training has a public comment period that closes on November 2, 2020.

The Boeing 737 MAX training largely follows the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) that took a handful of 737 Pilots from around the world, subjected them to this proposed training, and found the results to be satisfactory. Additionally, FAA Director Steve Dickson said he felt “comfortable” on board a similar test flight, but did note that the FAA needed to complete the evaluation process.

The training primarily focuses on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and the differences between the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and previous versions of the 737. Some airlines already have Boeing 737 MAX differences training scheduled for the month of November.

Carriers around the world hope to get the Boeing 737 MAX in the air soon to start to realize the savings in fuel that the type offers. Even Boeing and Alaska Airlines (AS) were in talks this week about selling the 737 MAX jets to the Seattle-based airline.

Boeing 737 MAX Grounded. Photo: Chuyi Chuang

Training Breakdown

According to the report, the purpose of the revision is to add training requirements for MCAS, Autopilot Flight Director System (AFDS) enhancements, and additional Special Emphasis Training. The training will be broken down into computer-based training (CBT) done at home and simulator training done in the Boeing 737 MAX simulator.

As for the aircraft itself, the 737 MAX will retain the same type of certificate rating as previous versions of the 737 along with this training. The FAA needs to finalize the air-worthiness directive that is going to unground the 737 MAX fleet.

The air-worthiness directive spells out exactly to operators of the grounded planes what they need to do to unground those aircraft. The FAA is going to continue to monitor and evaluate the 737 MAX as each comes off the assembly line at Boeing plants.

In September 2020, the FSB conducted Operational Evaluations of the updated 737-8 FCC 12.1.2 software, revised non-normal checklists (NNC), and all proposed Pilot training in support of 737-8 and 737-9 design changes. The FSB determined the updated FCC 12.1.2 software is operationally suitable.

Boeing 737 MAX Special Training for Flightcrews is outlined in Appendix 7 of the flight standardization board report (FSBR). Below is the detailed review of exactly what the proposed training is for the Boeing 737 MAX differences training.

Boeing 737 MAX-9. Photo: Boeing

Appendix 7. Boeing 737 Max Special Training for Flightcrews

According to the report, no Pilot may operate the Boeing 737 MAX unless the following ground and flight training specified in the aforementioned appendix has been completed. These Special Training segments can be standalone or embedded into another training curriculum. The required training of the Boeing 737 MAX is as follows:

Ground Training

  1. 1.1 Training on the following NNCs:
    • Runaway Stabilizer.
    • Stabilizer Trim Inoperative.
    • Airspeed Unreliable.
    1.2 Training on the following bullet points emphasize the design differences associated with FCC software version 12.1.2 for the 737 MAX. The bullet points below also emphasize necessary ground training between the 737NG and 737 MAX with FCC software version 12.1.2 or later. Pilots may complete this training by accomplishing the applicable 737 MAX CBT provided by Boeing or an FAA-approved equivalent.
    1.2.1 ATA 22 – Autoflight – FCC – MCAS:
    • MCAS function description.
    • Conditions for operation.
    1.2.2 ATA 22 – Autoflight – FCC – AFDS:
    • Automatic AP disengagement.
    • Temporary FD removal.
    • AFDS pitch mode changes following stick shaker.
    • Inhibiting of AP nose-up trim.
    1.2.3 ATA 22 – Autoflight – FCC – STAB OUT OF TRIM:
    • Alert illumination logic (ground vs. flight).
    • Revised NNC.
    1.2.4 ATA 22 – Autoflight – FCC – SPEED TRIM FAIL:
    • Function of the SPEED TRIM FAIL light.
    • Revised NNC.
    1.3 Training on the following bullet points that emphasize Boeing-recommended
    procedures. Pilots may complete this training by accomplishing the applicable 737 CBT provided by Boeing or an FAA-approved equivalent.
    1.3.1 737 Manual Trim Operation:
    • Manual stabilizer trim operation.
    • Manual stabilizer trimming techniques.
    • Effects of airspeed and aerodynamic loads on manual stabilizer trim operation.
    1.3.2 737 Unreliable Airspeed – Determining a Reliable Airspeed:
    • Recognition of flight deck effects of an unreliable airspeed condition.
    • Memory pitch and thrust settings.
    • Determination of reliable airspeed indication.

Flight Training

  1. Prior to operating the 737 MAX the following flight training in a 737 MAX FFS is required. The following bullet points emphasize the objectives of each maneuver. A 737NG FFS may be used for some conditions only where noted below.
    2.1 Demonstration of MCAS activation for each pilot.
    2.1.1 MCAS activation during an impending stall (or full stall) and recovery demonstration during manual flight in a clean configuration.
    2.1.2 Demonstrate MCAS activation stabilizer trim responses:
    • Stabilizer trim in the nose down direction when above threshold AOA for MCAS activation during stall.
    • Stabilizer trim in the nose-up direction when below threshold AOA for MCAS activation during recovery.
    2.2 A runaway stabilizer condition that requires the pilots to use manual stabilizer trim.
    2.2.1 Runaway stabilizer training as described in subparagraph must be completed by each pilot acting as PF.
    2.2.2 Operation of each manual trim technique (as defined by Boeing) must be completed by each pilot acting as PF.
    2.2.3 This training can be completed in a 737 MAX or 737NG FFS.
    2.3 Use of manual stabilizer trim during approach, go-around, and level off.
    2.3.1 Use of manual stabilizer trim as described in subparagraph must be completed by each pilot acting as PF.
    2.3.2 This training can be completed in a 737 MAX or 737NG FFS.
    2.4 A Cross-FCC Trim Monitor activation demonstration accomplished by either pilot acting as PF.
    2.4.1 Condition must terminate in a landing in order to demonstrate the updated
    STAB OUT OF TRIM light functionality.
    2.5 Erroneous high AOA on takeoff that leads to an unreliable airspeed condition accomplished by either pilot acting as PF.
    2.5.1 Demonstrates flight deck effects (i.e. aural, visual, and tactile) associated with the failure.
    2.5.2 Fault occurring during the takeoff procedure.
    2.5.3 Must include a go-around or missed approach flown with erroneous high AOA conditions. Special emphasis placed on FD behavior biasing out of view upon selecting takeoff/go-around (TO/GA).

Featured image: Boeing