Train pilots on simulator to an exercise that replicates the Lion Air crash, DGCA tells Jet Airways & SpiceJet

NEW DELHI: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked Jet Airways and SpiceJet, the only two Indian carriers operating the Boeing 737 Max, to train their pilots to handle situations as the one faced by the Indonesian Lion Air’s B737 Max that crashed on October 29. “Train pilots on simulator to an exercise which replicates the Lion Air crash scenario to the nearest possible extent,” the regulator told the two airlines during a meeting called this Monday after Indonesia’s National Transport Safety Committee released a preliminary investigation report of the Lion Air B737 Max crash.

“A review meeting was held in DGCA Monday with SpiceJet and Jet Airways operations and engineering teams. Even though Indian operators have not experienced such major concern with their B737 MAX aircraft, (some) decisions were taken as interim precautionary safety measures till such time Boeing issues more detailed information or clarification,” a senior DGCA official said.

DGCA asked the two airlines to land their Boeing 737 Max at the nearest suitable airport in case this new plane shows any problem with its onboard “maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS). After Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air’s Boeing 737 Max on October 29 soon after take off from Jakarta, killing all the 189 people on board, there have been concerns about lack of awareness of the functions of MCAS, a software on the B737 Max to prevent it from stalling. Indonesian investigators also said that this system was not detailed in Lion Air’s flight manual.

As of now India has 10 B737 Max, five each with Jet Airways and SpiceJet. “Detailed technical information to crew on MCAS and on reporting the defect. Operator to issue instructions to crew to divert to nearest suitable airport in the event of MCAS defect in flight. Verification flight (without passengers) to be done after rectification before undertaking any commercial flight if the aircraft had any MCAS related snag in flight,” the DGCA official said.

Jet and SpiceJet have ordered 225 and up to 205 B737 Max, respectively.

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