FAA panel signs off on 737 Max training plan

Boeing 737 MAX 8

American Airlines cancels Boeing 737 Max flights through mid-August

A group of technical experts appointed by federal aviation regulators says pilots won't need new training on flight simulators to learn how to operate the Boeing plane that was grounded after two deadly crashes involving a new anti-stall system.

However, Boeing has not yet submitted a planned software fix to the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency said in a statement.

As aerospace giant Boeing continues to develop software fixes for the 737 MAX 8 commercial passenger jet, American Airlines executives have made a decision to ground this aircraft for the time being.

Boeing was under pressure to fix the planes' automated MCAS anti-stall software system, which was found to have misfired in two fatal plane crashes.

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A Boeing spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The new FAA report, issued on Tuesday, has deemed the aircraft's software "operationally suitable". All 188 people on board were killed when the aircraft plunged into the Java Sea shortly after it took off from Jakarta.

Brand Finance, a UK-based consultancy that tracks the value of global brands, rejected the idea that Boeing should abandon the MAX brand but said its corporate reputation was in the firing line. The company has proposed a computer-based training that will familiarize pilots upgrading from the 737 NG series with the MCAS system. The new software wouldn't go into as steep a dive and would alert pilots when there's a malfunction. Southwest is another US airline that has chosen to ground 737 jets; moreover, aviation regulators across the Americas have banned the aircraft from entering their sovereign airspace.

The FAA FSB said MCAS ground training had to address "system description, functionality, associated failure conditions, and flight crew alerting".

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The Safety is Not for Sale Act, introduced last week in the Senate, would require airline carriers to adopt additional safety features and require aircraft manufacturers offer or provide all non-required safety enhancing equipment as part of the aircraft's list price.

The FAA held a meeting on Friday in Washington with the three USA airlines that fly the 737 Max along with representatives of their pilot unions to discuss the steps needed to return the plane to service.

CAAC has sent out one pilot expert and one expert on aircraft certification to join the FAA review panel as invited. There's also the issue of public acceptance, as the crashes have influenced safety perception about the plane.

However, American said it did not believe the grounding would last that long and that it could introduce MAX aircraft back into the fleet as spare aircraft over summer if they were given the green light to fly again.

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