President Trump, get the Boeing 737 Max back in the Air: Stupid pilots are the cause of the crashes, not the planes themselves

Since the investigation into the black boxes of the most recent crash of a Boeing 737 Max series jet has not occurred as of yet, I’ll go ahead and climb out on a limb as to identifying the cause of not only the Ethiopian disaster, but the Lion Air accident that killed 189 people just a few months ago—it was because the pilots sucked. It wasn’t the plane’s fault. President Trump, stand behind Boeing and get those 737 planes back into the air. Software can’t fix stupid and the training schedules for the average airline outside of the United States is lacking. In America the recruiting of pilots who have flown fighter jets for 10 or more years is common. In places like Indonesia and Ethiopia a pilot’s previous job might have been being a taxi driver or a bicycle delivery person. What the black boxes won’t tell anybody is that the pilots simply lacked the skill needed to fly the airplane. Two switches in the cabin could have been turned off by a pilot of even moderate experience to shut down the autopilot system and the planes never would have crashed. It’s training and circumstances that caused the crash, not the planes themselves.

For those who don’t know, there is a great race in the world as modern aircraft is rapidly replacing older less fuel-efficient units. While airlines are eager to comply with the politics of climate concerns, the real need they have is to save money in fuel, so less fuel consumed gives the airlines tremendous ability to stay relevant in the market. So Airbus makes a series of planes that are very good and the world is buying them up by the thousands and those planes are creating a fleet for the foreseeable future. Boeing by nature is competing directly with Airbus for a seat at the table and this Boeing 737 is the key to their market driven approach. With over 5000 back logged orders, time is everything and it won’t take much for those orders to convert from a Boeing purchase to Airbus. Airlines need a modern airplane that burns a lot less fuel and both of these new offerings from Boeing, the 737 Max series and the Airbus A320 are the hottest offerings to come along in many years. Boeing stands to lose over $25 billion in market value which could cost it for the foreseeable future and really isn’t fair to them.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 are fantastic airplanes that are light years away from their predecessors by way of safety and efficiency. But part of what is driving this new global market is that airlines in remote parts of the earth are now emerging in places like Indonesia and Ethiopia. You won’t many old planes in the fleets of those upstart airlines because a few years ago none of them existed. But the world has become smaller and global economic needs have created a reason for these airlines to exist so they are popping up like flowers on a spring weekend all around the world, even in places that are considered third world markets. But the problem with that growth is where do the pilots who fly those planes come from. That is the multi-billion-dollar problem that nobody wants to talk about, which is why nobody has opened up the black boxes yet, because the real source of the trouble linking the two Boeing 737 Max jet crashes is pilot error in overcoming environmental elements that threw off the autopilot.

The Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 knew from the beginning that to enter these new airline markets that their customers did not have years of experienced fighter pilots to draw from to fly their planes in a commercial endeavor. The United States enjoys lots of aviation experience from their pilot pools which is why you don’t see them crashing their Boeing 737s into the ground every few months. Foreign airlines want push button flying and Boeing has tried to give that to them. But sometimes a pilot needs to be a pilot and overcome situational elements for the safety of the passengers on board. I mean do you really want a person flying you around out of Ethiopia whose previous jobs was feeding monkeys or polishing shoes at the airport? You’d want a pilot with thousands of hours of flight experience and the military of a country is a good place to recruit such talent, and obviously the United States has the most opportunities to produce those kinds of pilots. So when the planes start behaving unreliably under the control of an autopilot system, they simply shut them down and fly in the traditional way. But for airlines operating in third world countries, they just don’t have the ability to draw from a deep pilot pool of experience.

Both Boeing and Airbus are trying to build airplanes that inexperienced pilots can fly in these emerging markets. Maybe one is further along than the other, but both are trying to use software to overcome stupid, and that doesn’t lend itself to a good safety record. There is going to be a learning curve in software design and these crashes are part of that learning curve. The problem is not in the planes themselves. It is in using computers to overcome the lack of experience that airlines are all scrambling to utilize. And it’s not fair to an American airline manufacturer to burden them with this problem and hurt them economically when the real problem is in the lack of experience of the global marketplace of the pilots.

To listen to the politicians of the world, especially in the United States, berate Boeing and call for the grounding of the 737 Max planes has been an experience in complete lunacy. Who are these idiots who think it’s economically viable to hurt such a valuable American company in a time when they need to be ramping up production, not scaling down over a safety issue that is not even their problem? Overcoming stupid is not a burden they should be coupled with, yet that is the expectation. That is why President Trump should put his support behind Boeing and get the planes back up in the air quickly so that in the global marketplace, Boeing doesn’t lose its share of the plane deliveries that are demanded for this current aerospace expansion. If consumers aren’t buying the 737 Max jets, they’ll just buy the Airbus A320 series. The marketplace will go on, but Boeing might be damaged for well over a decade when it is needed most.

Any politician that condemns any company or corporation is a destructive element in the scheme of things. In most cases politicians would have a hard time managing a fast food restaurant let alone a multibillion-dollar company that has the responsibility for building airplanes that safely transfer people all over the world. In a fast food example if some worker forgets to put a straw in the bag at the drive thru window, people don’t die. But in passenger airline travel, they do if the pilots forget to override an autopilot system when sensors or environment elements throw off the computations of the onboard computer. Yet in some cases the skill levels are the same, and a politician who doesn’t know better is more dangerous because they fail to properly identify the problem. Which in the case of Boeing costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars of business per day that their airplanes are grounded while the rest of the world marches on. President Trump should get those planes back in the air quickly so that more market share isn’t lost. American pilots won’t have the same problem as the Ethiopian pilots and those in Indonesia at Lion Air. The problem is in pilot training, not the planes themselves, and that is the element in all this that nobody is talking about. And it’s the only thing that matters.

Rich Hoffman

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