Speed Reads

Boeing controversy

Pilots reportedly received limited training for 737 MAX 8 planes due to Boeing's haste

As investigations into what caused both the Ethiopian Airlines crash last Sunday in Ethiopia and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October continue, attention has turned to pilot training.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that U.S. pilots received little physical training before flying Boeing's 737 Max 8 airplane — the same model of airplane involved in both incidents that was grounded worldwide following the crash in Ethiopia — in large part because Boeing was determined to get the plane on the market quickly.

After Airbus, a Boeing rival, announced in 2010 that it was introducing a new fuel-efficient and cost-effective plane, Boeing rushed to build its own version.

Because this new jet was a derivative model, regulators did not require additional simulator training for pilots, many of whom learned about the plane on an iPad, rather than traditional physical versions of cockpits that mimic flight experience. "We would have liked to have had a simulator," Jon Weaks, the president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said. "But it wasn't practical, because it wasn't built yet."

Investigations are focusing on automated stall prevention software, which possibly played a role in both crashes, but was not mentioned in training materials that a group of pilots who had never flown the aircraft put together. Read the full report at The New York Times.