These are among the interim safety measures issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday for Indian carriers operating the B737 MAX. “The minimum experience level of crew operating B737 Max aircraft to fly as pilot-in-command is 1000 hours and co-pilot is 500 hours on Boeing 737 NG aircraft type,” the official said. The DGCA has sent these measures to Boeing and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for seeking any additional measures and advise.
However, a senior aviation expert and a veteran pilot questioned the DGCA’s flying experience advisory for the B737 Max. “No matter how experienced a pilot is, (only) his experience on type (of aircraft) is what matters not total experience,” the expert said.
The measures come a day after a 737 MAX aircraft crashed in Ethiopia, killing all 157 people on board. This happened within five months of Indonesia’s Lion Air B737 MAX crash last October that killed all 189 on board.
At present, SpiceJet has 12 of these planes and is the only Indian carrier operating this type of aircraft. Jet Airways has five of these planes but they are all grounded due to non-payment to vendors.
A senior DGCA official said the Indian regulator took this decision after reviewing daily incident reports (of B737 MAX with Indian carriers).
“However, in view of the Ethiopian Air accident of March 10 2019.. following additional actions in addition to this office advisory of December 3, 2018 (issued post Lion Air crash),” are being taken the DGCA official said. These include asking airline’s engineering not to release aircraft under minimum equipment list (MEL) for “dual autopilot inoperative, yaw damper system inoperative and spoiler system faults.” During the B737 MAX extended transit, the autopilot, stall management and yaw damper systems must be checked.
“The minimum experience level of crew operating B737 MAX aircraft to fly as pilot-in-command is 1000 hours and co-pilot is 500 hours on Boeing 737 NG aircraft type,” the official said. The DGCA has sent these measures to Boeing and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for seeking any additional measures and advise.
“These are interim safety measures taken with inputs available at this stage. DGCA will continue to closely monitor the situation and may impose/ take any other operational/ maintenance measures/ restrictions based on the information received from accident investigation agency/ FAA/ Boeing. The operators have been directed to ensure that no B- 737– 8 MAX aircraft in their fleet is operated without compliance of above, effective from 1200 hrs on 12th March 2019,” the DGCA statement said.
Only very experienced pilots to operate Boeing 737 Max & aircraft to be checked during transit: DGCA – Times of India