Pilots confronted Boeing about 737 Max before second crash – CNET

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The 737 Max consists of four versions, all of which have the MCAS system. The 737 Max 8 was involved both crashes.


American Airlines pilots confronted a Boeing official over the state of the 737 Max just weeks after the first crash of a Lion Air plane in October.

In a tense recording obtained by CBS News from American's pilots union, pilots pressed Boeing on why a flight control system under investigation as the cause of the crash was not disclosed to them when the 737 Max was originally launched. “We flat out deserve to know what is on our airplanes,” one pilot says on the recording. (CBS is the parent company of both CBS News and CNET.)

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The unidentified Boeing official responded that knowing about the system would not have changed the outcome of the crash. "In a million miles, you're going to maybe fly this airplane, maybe once you're going to see this, ever," he said, while not appearing to know he was being recorded. "So we try not to overload the crews with information that's unnecessary so they actually know the information we believe is important."

The system called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, is designed to push the 737 Max's nose down when it detects that the nose is too high during flight. Investigators in both the Lion Air crash and the second 737 Max crash of Ethiopian Airlines plane in March believe that a faulty sensor was sending incorrect information to the MCAS system, continually forcing the noses of the aircraft into a dive from which pilots were unable to recover.

The official also said Boeing would be fixing the MCAS system with a software update in the following weeks, but the Ethiopian crash occurred and the airliner was grounded before the update could be deployed. As of last month, Boeing says it was finishing test flights to test the update and was making steady progress on getting the plane in the air again. 

in response to the recording, Boeing told CNET it is committed to working with pilots, airlines and global regulators to safely return the updated MAX to flight once certified.

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