For the first time since the crashes of Lionair and Ethiopian Airlines that involved the Boeing 737 MAX, the manufacturer has recognized defects in the simulator software supposed to reproduce flight conditions for pilots to train.
In an email to the Agence France Presse (AFP), Boeing admitted that it “made corrections to the 737 MAX simulator software and has provided additional information to aircraft operators to ensure that the simulator experience is representative across different flight conditions."
So far, the simulators were unable to reproduce certain flight conditions, including those that led to the two crashes, says Boeing. It did not specify when exactly the changes were made to the software.
Only one airline, Air Canada, is currently in possession of a MAX simulator, as it did not operate the Boeing 737 NG before. All other operators trained their pilots for the MAX on simulators built for the 737 NG. "Boeing is working closely with the device manufacturers and regulators on these changes and improvements, and to ensure that customer training is not disrupted," stressed the manufacturer in its email.
During the sale campaign of the new aircraft, Boeing has claimed to the regulators as well as its customers that online computer-based training (CBT) would be sufficient for pilots to transit from the Boeing 737 NG to the MAX, a formation which was contracted to the manufacturer.
Southwest and American Airlines are both expecting a new simulator by the end of 2019. US carriers expect to see the aircraft take back to the skies by August of the same year.
In November 2018, following Lionair crash, Indonesia’s director general of aviation Polana Pramesti had already announced that the agency planned to require pilots in Indonesia to be trained on simulators for the MAX series (instead of the computer-based conversion course for 737 pilots).