The tragedies were really devastating but hopefully they can become a learning point to improve every single aspect of flying the affected boeing series. In my personal opinion, I do believe lack of crucial training influenced the outcome of the past incidences and future courses need to be more intense. This isn't solely about knowing how to fly an aircraft, but it is also knowing what to do should an emergency situation happens again.
A lot of good comments above. Bad design, using 2 sensors rather than 3, remove the usual method of disabling the MCAS, not taking into account airspeed as an additional stall warning....and insufficient training of pilots on a new and very different system.
Comes back to the old saying. "To err is human, to really stuff things up takes a computer."
Since the MAX 8 is an upgrade to the venerable 737, many foreign airlines have decided that intensive training is not required in the new aircraft. This will, I believe, be a reason that the final verdict will be largely attributed to pilot error.
The MCAS can be disabled if the pilots decide it is not performing correctly - the Lion Air incident the day before the crash shows this. Apparently a third pilot who was 'dead heading' was in the cockpit, and told the pilots what was happening. They made the correct decisions and prevented a crash. This detail was not included in the official writeup of the accident, but was published within the last 24 hours. No details on the third pilot were made available, but he either had been properly trained, or had an incident himself and so knew what to do.
The MCAS is an integral part of the airplane, so the pilots MUST be trained on it and learn it in order to fly safely. While planes are getting more complex they are still understandable by those who are properly trained.
1) Commercial flight procedures need a complete re-think. A pilot isn't necessarily going to have encyclopedic knowledge of these increasingly-complex aircraft, so he needs access to something like the Mission Control team associated with spaceflight, and they in turn need access to his aircraft telemetry. From the preliminary reports, it seems the accident was an "SCE to aux" scenario (read about that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Aaron) that might have been averted if the pilot had had instant access to expert technical support.
2) Aircraft designers seem to be ignoring the most basic rules of design. If you're going to implement redundant systems, then you need THREE (in this case three angle-of-attack sensors). Two is pointless, because in the event of failure, you don't know which one is malfunctioning. Related to that, they're not asking: what's the worst that can happen if this fails?
3) The system under discussion strikes me as pointless. Aircraft have been fitted with stall warning systems since forever. Why close the loop? Give the pilot the warning, and let him make the decision.
This is the best article I've read on the subject. I think 99% of the fault lies with Boeing. They took away the usual method of disabling the automated stabilizer, pulling on the stick, for no good reason. 1% for the pilot for not remembering the new method.
These crashes remind me of the Lufthansa Flight 2904 crash at Warsaw (1993) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lufthansa_Flight_2904 ) plus some other crashes that could be backtracked to automated systems with less-than-optimum requirements specifications.
We'll all be able to see the outcome of the recent crashes...
Check out this link http://www.b737.org.uk/mcas.htm
It looks like a valid site. Please let me know what you think?
To me, I still say that more intensive training is needed on this kind of aircraft and lots of simulator time. And where is the big, glaring "ON/OFF" switch to activate manual control? Although, you should not need that with adequate training before a pilot actually flies this aircraft