US President Donald Trump has launched a bizarre broadside at modern planes, saying they have become “too complex to fly”.
In a series of tweets this afternoon apparently responding to the Boeing 787 Max plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday, the president claimed that “old and simpler” designs are better.
“Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology],” he wrote, saying that the complexity of modern aircraft “creates danger” by overwhelming pilots at critical moments.
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“I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”, in what The Independent describes as an “extraordinary attack” on 21st century aviation.
The Boeing 737 Max is one of the newer commercial jets in widespread use, first introduced in 2011.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s crash - which killed all 157 passengers and crew on board - several countries, including the UK, have barred the aircraft from their airspace until the cause of the disaster is established.
In a statement issued last night which did not reference the Ethiopian Airlines crash, Boeing said that it was “developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer”.
Despite the concerns, “air travel is statistically much safer today than it was 20 or 30 years ago”, says NBC.
In fact, notes The Hill, Trump himself “last year took credit for 2017 being the safest year on record in commercial aviation, touting that he had been ‘very strict’”.
It has been a busy afternoon on social media for the commander-in-chief. An hour before his aeroplane tweets, he came under fire for a tweet backing a climate change denier whom he falsely referred to as the “co-founder of Greenpeace”
In reality, Patrick Moore was an influential early member of the environmentalist group, but left in 1986 over ideological differences and has since become a climate change sceptic.
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