Boeing 737 Max 8 Pilots Complained to Feds for Months About Suspected Safety Flaw

Pilots repeatedly voiced safety concerns about the Boeing 737 Max 8 to federal authorities, with one captain calling the flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient" several months before Sunday's Ethiopian Air crash that killed 149 people, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News found.The News found at least five complaints about the Boeing model in a federal database where pilots can voluntarily report concerning aviation incidents without fear of repercussions.The complaints are about the safety mechanism cited in preliminary reports for an October plane crash in Indonesia that killed 189. Among the disclosures found by The News, four others reference problems with an autopilot system during takeoff and nose-down situations while trying to gain altitude during flights of Boeing 737 Max 8s. While records show these flights occurred during October and November, information regarding which airlines the pilots were flying for at the time is redacted from the database.Records show a captain who flies the Max 8 complained in November that it was "unconscionable" that the company and federal authorities allowed pilots to fly the planes without adequate training or fully disclosing information about how its systems differed.The captain's complaint was logged after the FAA released an emergency airworthiness directive regarding the Boeing 737 Max 8, following the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia.An FAA spokesman said the reports found by The News were filed directly to NASA, which serves as a neutral third party for reporting purposes."The FAA analyzes these reports along with other safety data gathered through programs the FAA administers directly, including the Aviation Safety Action Program, which includes all of the major airlines including Southwest and American," said Lynn Lunsford, southwest regional spokesman for the FAA.A federal audit in 2014 said that the FAA does not collect and analyze its voluntary disclosure reporting in a way to effectively identify national safety risks.  Continue reading...

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