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21 Mar, 2019 12:29

Captain of doomed Ethiopian airliner had ZERO hours of 737 MAX 8 simulator training – report

Captain of doomed Ethiopian airliner had ZERO hours of 737 MAX 8 simulator training – report

Ethiopian Airlines was one of the few companies that actually got their hands on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 simulator but the captain flying the crashed plane failed to do any training on it, a recent report suggests.

The Ethiopian carrier set up a MAX 8 flight simulator in January, two months before the crash, but the captain of the doomed aircraft never used it, the New York Times wrote on Wednesday, citing people close to the airline.

According to the report, the pilot’s last simulator training took place in September and October, when the company still didn’t have the necessary equipment to teach its staff to fly Boeing’s newest aircraft. The next training course wasn’t scheduled until after March 10 when the disaster happened.

It is not clear whether the aircraft’s co-pilot had gotten any MAX 8 simulator training either. At the same time, Ethiopian Airlines was one of the few carriers in the world who had MAX 8 simulators installed and was using it to prepare pilots.

The Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed near the nation’s capital Addis Ababa minutes after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board.

The disaster’s striking similarities with the recent deadly crash in Indonesia prompted many countries to ground its fleets of 737 MAX 8’s, as Boeing now faces intense scrutiny over the safety of its planes.

The growing concerns over Boeing also led some carriers to demand more simulators to train their crew. Prior to the disaster in Indonesia the pilots just took “an iPad lesson for an hour” to fly the 737-800, spokesperson for the American Airlines pilot union, Dennis Tajer told the media last week.

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