The origin of the Great Rift Valley argument was that people in the beginning were arguing that they couldn't afford to lose 1 foot of altitude from 7,000 AGL by reducing thrust and not going over Vmo where the controls would become ineffective as there were mountains directly in front of them - the track actually had them (before they turned around) heading over the plateau floor towards the valley where even more altitude opened up. They had options and could have tried to reduce thrust at least once. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.
The problem is is that when a lot of these rules were written (that all modern aircraft are certified too) the vast majority of pilots were ex military or had thousands of hours flying less complicated equipment of many various types so they learned that all aircraft had quirks and your piloting skills didn't just come from flying a trainer around for 150 hours before they put you in a 737. You actually had to have a feel for an aircraft and how it flew and know what it would do in certain circumstances. Manually controlling a piston twin in IMC on approach taught many pilots a lot about how to really fly. That's a lot harder in the era of non-back driven side sticks when you only have that 150 hours in an Cessna.
The crashes and the subsequent tests opened a lot eyes in terms of how much they have to dumb down future cockpits and procedures to adapt to the current level of Pilot ability and what will most likely be coming out of the training mills in the future - namely systems operators - not pilots who have an inherent understanding of what their aircraft will do in certain circumstances.
This has now been realized by Boeing, the FAA and even Airbus as evidenced by their new focus on establishing new training centres to bring the level of piloting up (the annocuements happened after the MAX crashes and AF447 and AirAsia 8501).
The underlying problem is Boeings screwup - but the incidents showed they are a lot of other problems in the system as well that need to be fixed. You can't just bury your head in the sand and deny they exist.
There is a big disconnect between the existing certification rules and the average pilot. They were not written assuming Pilots only have 150 hours of experience before flying a passenger Jet with the potential loss of life large.
It's my opinion and on these forums you are allowed to have one of those.
If you disagree and think 150 hours of experience is fine before strapping on a big jet - that's fine - that's your prerogative.
I hate this thing where a plane crashes and it has evident flaws and people start saying the pilots should have done this and that. It is not that easy when you consider that some tests were run on a simulator and not everyone was able to recover the plane from a dive. These were people that should have known how to handle the situation, and they were not fighting for their lives.....something that means that you have a lot of thoughts running through your head.
These guys followed the checklist, and did not get any luck. Their speed was the issue, but had they reduced it and tried trimming the plane, would have that worked when there issues with the amount of energy needed to turn the very same trim wheels......something brought up by other regulators? This particular plane has issues with wiring, MCAS, the flight control computer, trim wheels, and the list just goes on and on.
We also have to note that automation is in place to reduce the workload on pilots, and automation when done right is is a highly predictable tool that takes away some of the variance that exists in humans. It is automation that led to navigators losing their jobs in the flight deck, and it was automation that led to flight engineers also being booted out. It is a great feature when done right, something that allows for predictable performance while driving down costs to operate, and the tendency is always to add more of it where needed.
That said, I think people have the wrong view of how airlines particularly Ethiopian work and even Kenya Airways which are the two biggest airlines in East Africa. They start training pilots when they are young, push them on regional routes as they transition them over time toward the bigger jets. The only way they will ever get time to fly is by actually flying the damn aircraft, and when you look at ET302, the co-pilot actually knew what they were supposed to do. In Indonesia, where they recognized that Lion Air had issues with maintenance, they also came to the conclusion that the manufacturer shared a big part of the blame.
If aviation is to get better, we have to come to a honest conclusion every time there is an accident. This is not about taking sides or defending one party, a honest conclusion as to what is needed in a modern airline. When you look at the Max, the rushed development to counter the A320Neo, the self certification and disdain that Boeing employees had for the FAA, changes they made e.g. on MCAS without notifying the authority, and the FAA running its models, knowing that there would be more crashes and keeping the jet airborne. Deregulation has had its positives, but in aviation, and in this particular case, it is a full negative.
If the FAA had done its job, they wouldn't have to be doing the same thing right now. Or calling outside regulators in a move to restore faith in the plane, which is what all of this is; they cannot be seen to go it alone. Had they done their job, this plane would not be grounded for a year plus and pilots would not have been in the position they were put in. Had they done their job, there would be full redundancy across all systems, a basic design policy followed when designing any plane........it is the simple things that they missed, the simple things that demand that one has care and a passion for what they do. These same young pilots, or 'inexperienced pilots have been flying A320's, they have been flying the NG, they have been flying the Embraer E-jets and competently so, and before that they possibly were on some turbo prop. If you go to the gulf, they have been training up not only young male pilots, but putting some really young female crew who are fantastic on the biggest jet in the world.
All of these pilots have to start somewhere, and they have to fly to gain experience. Those same people that you praise in the Navy similarly have to gain experience on some aircraft. If there is no trust, there is no progress, and no new jobs created. As already written elsewhere, and to death, the problems that the Max has are not new issues, they are issues that were pretty much solved in the late 70's and in the 80's when we had the first fly by wire aircraft, these are things that they themselves have implemented on their aircraft. But let us blame the pilots with 150 hours who seem to have no big problems with other aircraft, or compare it to accidents that have no similarity to this, at all.