A key part of the FAA’s aircraft re-certification is a simulator training evaluation by a Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB) in which pilots from around the world will be asked to validate training requirements. The JOEB is said to be primarily looking at the order and priority of checklists and memory items.
Travel restrictions related to the pandemic add uncertainty to how JOEB sessions can be conducted. The select group may perform its work remotely in flight simulators around the world, rather than transiting to Boeing’s main training center in Miami, Florida, where COVID-19 is raging anew.
Following the sim sessions, the FAA's Flight Standardization Board will propose minimum training requirements, then a public comment period, before final approval of training.
Moreover, each airline will need to revise its own training procedures for the MAX and have those approved by their governing regulatory authority.
Of course, it’s not yet known what changes may need to be made to full flight simulators built to previous MAX specifications. If changes are not extensive, and require software modifications only, the training industry should be able to handle a MAX surge.
There are reported to be three significant changes to MCAS software being worked on by Boeing. The changes are:
· System input from both angle-of-attack sensors;
· Limit how much MCAS can move the horizontal stabilizer;
· Modification to the activation and re-synchronization schedule.
Boeing has sent airlines draft, unapproved pilot training materials “to assist in the development of their own training programs,” according to sources at US airlines.
After opposing sim training in the original certification of the MAX, Boeing yielded in January to training in an FFS, in addition to revised computer-based training modules.
CAE has sold about 60 737 MAX FFSs. TRU is the vendor of record for Boeing’s training services, as well as Copa, Icelandic, Oman and Shandong airlines. L3 Harris has sold MAX sims to HNA and Shenzhen in China, plus Azerbaijan Airlines.
To see where Boeing MAX sims are deployed around the world, check the CAT Flight Simulator Census - www.halldale.com/census
Click here to read Robert W. Moorman's piece exploring the turbulent history of the airplane