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Ethiopian Air Chief Questions Training 03/23 10:35

   ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -- The warning and training requirements set for 
the now-grounded 737 Max aircraft may not have been enough following the 
Ethiopian plane crash that killed 157 people, the chief of Ethiopian Airlines 
said Saturday.

   After the Lion Air crash off Indonesia in October, the U.S. Federal Aviation 
Administration and Boeing "came up with contents that we incorporated in our 
working manuals and also briefed all our pilots. But today we believe that 
might not have been enough," Tewolde Gebremariam told The Associated Press in 
an interview in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

   Ethiopian Airlines insists the carrier's pilots went through all the extra 
training required by Boeing and the FAA to fly the 737 Max 8 jet. The March 10 
crash killed people from 35 countries.

   Gebremariam said earlier in the week that the training was meant to help 
crews shift from an older model of the 737 to the Max 8, which entered airline 
service in 2017. In a statement, he said pilots were also made aware of an 
emergency directive issued by the FAA after the Lion Air crash, which killed 
189 people.

   Ethiopian Airlines has said there is a "clear similarity" between the Lion 
Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, citing preliminary information from the 
flight data recorder.

   Although the causes of the crashes haven't been determined, investigators in 
the Lion Air disaster have focused on an automated system designed to use 
information from two sensors to help prevent a dangerous aerodynamic stall.

   It is not known whether the same flight-control system played a role in the 
crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, but 
regulators say both planes had similar erratic flight paths, an important part 
of their decision to ground the roughly 370 Max planes around the world.

   Both planes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the 
pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both 
crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.

   The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the pilots of the doomed 
Ethiopian plane never trained in a simulator for the Max. Gebremariam, the 
Ethiopian Airlines CEO, said Saturday that "it wouldn't have made any 
difference" as the 737 Max simulator isn't designed to imitate problems in the 
new jet's flight-control software.

   He still didn't say whether the pilots had trained on the simulator.

   Boeing's planned software update for the Max must "address the problem 100 
percent before we return the aircraft to air," he said, noting that the airline 
hasn't made a decision on whether or not to cancel orders for Max jets.

   Ethiopian Airlines is widely seen as Africa's best-managed airline.

   The carrier had been using five of the Max planes and was awaiting delivery 
of 25 more.


(KA)

 
 
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