‘Sully’ Sullenberger says he struggled to recover Boeing 737 MAX in flight simulation

Former airline captain, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

The pilot who orchestrated the dramatic plane landing in the Hudson River 10 years ago told a congressional panel Wednesday that he can “see how crews could have run out of time” during the recent Boeing 737 MAX crashes after he struggled to recover the plane in a simulator running recreations of the doomed flights.

“I recently experienced all these warnings in a 737 MAX flight simulator during recreations of the accident flights. Even knowing what was going to happen, I could see how crews could have run out of time before they could have solved the problems. Prior to these accidents, I think it is unlikely that any US airline pilots were confronted with this scenario in simulator training,” Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger told the House Transportation Committee during a hearing on the embattled plane model.

Sullenberger, whose “Miracle on the Hudson” landing in 2009 saved the lives of all 155 people on board, told the panel that it’s important pilots don’t have “inadvertent traps.”

“We must make sure that everyone who occupies a pilot seat is fully armed with the information, knowledge, training, skill and judgment to be able to be the absolute master of the aircraft and all its component systems and of the situations simultaneously and continuously throughout the flight,” he said.

The Boeing 737 MAX has come under intense criticism after two planes of that model recently crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia, killing a total of 346 people.

Following the crash of the Ethiopian plane in March, 737 MAX jets were grounded and the company has been working to come up with a fix to the automatic safety feature that has been the focus of crash investigations. A time frame for the 737 Max’s return to service has not yet been announced.

 

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