Ex-Boeing 737 Max test pilot charged

Aircraft software played a major role in two accidents that resulted in 346 deaths. The pilot’s test chief is accused of discovering errors in the flight simulator, but has not reported them.

In the course of the investigation into the Boeing crash 737 max The machine’s former pilot test chief has been charged. He is accused of providing US authorities with incorrect and incomplete information about the assistance system, which played a major role in two plane-type crashes. Therefore, airlines and their pilots were not informed of the functionality of the program, according to the indictment published Thursday.

The system, called MCAS, is designed to be used by pilots 737 max It helps keep the plane in the right position. This became necessary because the device was a modified version of 737 from the sixties. The the above It got bigger engines, so in some cases the front of the plane could go up. The program must then take countermeasures and make minor corrections. But as it turned out, MCAS can also intervene in other situations and direct the machine down. The pilots weren’t prepared for the crashes of Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019.

346 people were killed in accidents. The 737 max Banned from flying for 20 months during investigations, in Europe she has been allowed to fly again since January. The crisis cost Boeing billions. Investigations against the same company were settled in a $2.5 billion settlement at the end of President Donald Trump’s term.

Boeing originally told the FAA that MCAS should only intervene in a rare case — when the plane is making sharp turns at high speed. But in November 2016, senior test pilot Mark Forkner found in a flight simulator that the system was active even at a significantly lower flight speed. “So I lied to the regulators (without my knowledge),” Forkner then wrote to a colleague in the company’s internal chat. This exchange has been known since its launch to Boeing in 2019.

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Since then, Forkner has been in the eyes of investigators. In the indictment, he is now accused of verifying that the system was running at low speeds after surprising him during a simulated flight with a colleague, and that he kept that away from regulators. The result was that MCAS was not in the pilot’s training documentation for the aboveProsecutors asserted that the copy was mentioned. The FAA only became aware of the system after malfunctions.

The former test pilot or his attorney has yet to respond to the indictment. In response to earlier criticism after the chats were posted, they asserted that Forkner never intentionally endangered passengers and crew members.

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