That's rubbish. The design flaws of the MAX were overwhelming pilots and have killed hundreds of people. For them, it was a death trap. Conflicting error messages. A failing aircraft on many levels (due to a system failure, violent control inputs were generated, that countered the manual flying attempts), not recoverable even by US pilots in simulator despite having learned all the details, that were unknown to the crashed pilots.
You are aware, that the overall safety records in aviation is excellent? The outlier is the safety record of the MAX, which is bad on an unseen level. No other jet passenger aircraft has such an abyssally bad safety record (two crashes within some months less than two years after EIS caused by the same system going haywire). For this reason, the MAX is grounded and not the pilots. The same pilots continue to contribute to the excellent safety record of the A320 and 737NG.
Can we stop perpetuating this myth about pilots that couldn't recover in simulator sessions? Nobody has provided a source for this story. The only simulation that showed that pilots didn't recover was one where the simulation started severely out of trim with electric trim off and it took too much altitude to use the "roller coaster" procedure to recover using the manual wheel.
Since MCAS wasn't included in the MAX simulators it would be difficult to simulate the exact scenario. I am not aware of any documented session where they simulated a similar chain of events starting before the event and having a runaway start upon flaps retraction.
Brilliant! citing the very example of failure to recover in the same breath as declaration of it as a myth. There are also reports of several other examples of pilots declaring recovery difficult at best. Brilliant 2!, as it were. Reminding us that the simulators were not capable of simulating MCAS, because MCAS was not disclosed to the manufacturer, (not forgetting they were also not capable of adequately simulating manual trim wheel loads either) and then decrying the fact that no simulator sessions simulating MCAS operating on flaps up have been reported - By admission, they could not be done, and in any case such a simulation would be nonsensical in hindsight. The simulations demonstrated that recovery was at best difficult.
In the most accurate and realistic simulations of all, a catastrophic result was demonstrated in 2 of 3 attempts - the MAX cockpit.
To give the benefit of the doubt to Boeing/FAA, it may have come as a sudden realisation, that MCAS V1.0 was fatally flawed and a catastrophic failure mode existed, immediately following the Lion Air crash. That should have been the end of it.
Not withstanding the death and suffering of two crashes, it matters not a jot if simulator demonstrations showed recovery of 49/50 or 4999/5000 attempts, or even if weasel words can be used to suggest the ways that recovery could have been achieved in the two crash events, catastrophic failure mode must be demonstrated to occur at rate worse than ~1 in 100 million flights (depending on the average flight leg used in calculation).
Just to ram it home, the 'bitflip' testing has demonstrated that a catastrophic failure mode still existed even with MCAS V2.0 fitted rightly requiring resolution prior to return to flight.
You don't need a simulator session to prove that the failures were recoverable. Just read the description and look at the data from Lion Air 043 in the preliminary report of Lion Air 610. If the runaway stabilizer was recognized, it was recoverable. It was recognized on Lion Air 610. All they did was counteracted MCAS and trimmed to neutral with the thumb switch and then cut out the trim switches and solved the problem.
There was a Boeing bulletin published in 1995 that gave recommendations for a freewheeling stabilizer issue on the 737 classic. In this bulletin, it stated that "normal pilot reaction to a runaway stabilizer
of opposing the runaway with main electric trim..."
If this was considered to be routine, normal 737 type rated pilot reaction in 1995, why was it unreasonable to expect this reaction in 2018?
Yes, the design of MCAS was atrocious. Yes Boeing increased the occurrence of runaway stabilizer to an unacceptably high rate. However, using those facts to try and say that the flights were unrecoverable is just not a valid argument. On both accident flights, they flew for several minutes after the failure. Lion Air 610 would have landed safely even if they never cut off the electric trim if the captain had kept trimming nose up to counteract MCAS. Unfortunately, he gave the controls to the FO that, for some reason that I hope we discover in the final report, stopped doing that.
There will be arguments that it wasn't easy to recognize because of the stick shaker and unreliable airspeed or the other multitude of things going on. However, if you have the controls, you have to know something is very wrong with the trim system simply based on how much force it is taking to maintain level flight combined with that every time you trim out the force and stop, it goes back to where it takes a lot of force again. Then there will be the argument that MCAS wasn't a "real runaway" because it was intermittent. Really? So why wouldn't that just look like multiple runaway stabilizer events if nothing else? Each activation lasted almost 10 seconds. That isn't a very short amount of time.
In conclusion, Boeing 100% created the emergency situations that wouldn't have otherwise existed if not for their terrible design logic. However, those situations were not "unrecoverable." This is proven by Lion Air 043 and the fact that the failure chronology was extremely similar between Lion Air 043 and the two accident flights. My opinion is that the reason they weren't able to recover was lack of training and focus on runaway stabilizer. I don't believe that disclosure of the existence of MCAS would have made any difference.
I'm willing to bet that if somebody on here paid for a simulator session and put me at the controls and simulated the failure as close as possible, that I, who has never flown a real aircraft could counteract the runaway and not lose control. I have had a session in a 737-800 simulator where I was able to handle the controls for takeoff and follow the flight director for climb out without difficulty. Within the first 10 minutes of that session, it became instinctive to trim out the control forces with the thumb switch.
I am fully prepared for the usual group to now attack this post, accuse me of working as a secret PR plant for Boeing, etc. The truth is that I'm just an engineer with an interest in aviation. In a past job I specialized in root causing failures in electronic products. I also do not own any Boeing stock (maybe a mutual fund I have does). I did in the past but sold it shortly after the ET crash to take a nice percentage profit and remove the long term risk.