The F.A.A. had already issued one directive after the Lion Air crash, instructing airlines to revise their flight manuals to include information on how to respond to a malfunction of the anti-stall system known as MCAS. But Mr. Michaelis pushed Boeing to consider calling for an additional one to update the software.
Such a procedure would have required Boeing and airlines in the United States to take immediate action to ensure the safety of the Max, and would have likely taken the jet out of service temporarily.
“My question to you, as Boeing, is why wouldn’t you say this is the smartest thing to do?” Mr. Michaelis said. “Say we’re going to do everything we can to protect that traveling public in accordance with what our pilots unions are telling us.”
Mr. Sinnett didn’t budge, saying that it remained unclear that the new software, which automatically pushes the plane’s nose down, was responsible for the Lion Air crash. He added that he felt confident that pilots had adequate training to deal with a problem, especially now that pilots — who were not initially informed about the new system — were aware of it.
“You’ve got to understand that our commitment to safety is as great as yours,” Mr. Sinnett said in the meeting. “The worst thing that can ever happen is a tragedy like this, and the even worse thing would be another one.”
The pilots expressed frustration that Boeing did not inform them about the new software on the plane until after the Lion Air crash.
“These guys didn’t even know the damn system was on the airplane, nor did anybody else,” said Mr. Michaelis, the union’s head of safety.
Another American pilot, Todd Wissing, expressed frustration that no mention of the system had been included in the training manual for the 737 Max.
What a mess.