A high-ranking Boeing pilot complained about a faulty safety alert making the 737 MAX difficult to fly more than two years before crashes involving the same issue killed 346 people, a new report claims.
The pilot said the anti-stall system was making it difficult to control the plane in a flight simulator — telling a colleague in 2016, “Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious,” The New York Times reported Friday.
“It’s running rampant in the sim,” pilot Mark Forkner said, referring to the simulator.
The 737 MAX was grounded after crashing in Indonesia in October 2018 and Ethiopia in March when the MCAS system malfunctioned. The planes went into nose dives, killing a total of 346 people.
Boeing acknowledged in May that it became aware the safety alert was not working correctly several months after the MAX had already been in flight.
Boeing handed over the internal messages between the two employees to lawmakers in Capitol Hill who are conducting a criminal investigation, according to the Times report.
The Federal Aviation Authority confirmed Boeing only disclosed the messages to them on Thursday after it had discovered them “some months ago” — suggesting the airplane maker misled the government body.
The FAA said it found the messages concerning — prompting Administrator Steve Dickson to send a letter to Boeing chief Dennis Muilenburg demanding an explanation for why the messages weren’t provided earlier.
Muilenburg will testify at hearings on Capitol Hill later this month.
Families of the Indonesia crash are in settlement talks with Boeing while the loved ones of the Ethiopian crash victims are pursuing a trial, CNBC reported on Thursday.