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Indian Regulator Requires Retraining for Recent 737 Max Pilots

Inoperative Stick Shaker on Simulater Yoke Comes to Light After Weeks of Training

Indian regulators had bad news for a crop of recently trained 737 Max pilots, telling budget carrier SpiceJet that 90 of its airmen cannot fly the aircraft until they complete a retraining regimen. 

The issue lies with the simulator used to complete their prior training on the Max and a fault that rendered the stick shaker non-functional. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered that those who missed out on the full experience of the max must retrain to ensure consistency and correct response in the event of a stall. 

The faults were discovered at the Greater Noida facility of CAE, a joint venture between Interglobe enterprise and the school. The site is the only approved 737 Max simulator in India, installed as part of the deal with SpiceJet to address years of grounded aircraft. The captain's stick shaker retained functionality, but the first officer's had ceased from March 17 onward. The part needed to return function requires importation from the states, but it is somewhat unclear if the fault was appropriately recognized and understood by personnel to begin with. 

SpiceJet had pointed to the Boeing manual's note that copilot training on the stick shaker is not mandatory, but marked as a demonstration item. The regulator took a different tack, pointing to the troubled MCAS and stall issues in the past as perfectly valid reasons to reinforce correct pilot reactions to stalls. The change will require 2 hours of re-training for the 90 pilots that have undergone the insufficient sim time, which SpiceJet says won't harm operations. Their pilot base contains plenty of qualified 737 Max pilots that can be assigned in place of any other, the airline said.

“SpiceJet has 650 pilots trained on Boeing 737 MAX. DGCA had an observation on the training profile followed for 90 pilots, and therefore as per the advice of DGCA, SpiceJet has restricted 90 pilots from operating MAX aircraft, until these pilots undergo re-training to the satisfaction of DGCA. These pilots continue to remain available for other Boeing 737 aircraft," reads a statement addressing the issue.



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