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President Trump On Boeing 737 MAX: MIT Scientists Need To Replace Pilots

President Trump
Courtesy: The White House

President Trump On Boeing 737 MAX: MIT Scientists Need To Replace Pilots

President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning that flying airplanes has become so difficult that pilots are no longer needed, and instead MIT scientists are required.  The tweet seems to suggest that flying systems have become so computerized that the pilots can longer successfully fly them.

The tweets is likely in response to recent news on the Boeing 737 MAX and the most recent plane crash where one crashed over the weekend in Ethiopia.  That crash has caused many to speak out against the Boeing 737 MAX, with some calling on U.S. airline companies Southwest, United, and American to stop flying the aircraft until the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines flight is more clear.  Some countries, including the United Kingdom, have designated the aircraft to be taken out of commission pending further investigation into the cause of this weekend’s accident.

This is the second accident for the Boeing 737 MAX in five months.  In October, a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashed into the water shortly after takeoff as the plane attempted to return to the airport.  Subsequent reports from that accident claimed that the plane had suffered from an issue with a flight control system.  Some family members of the Lion Air crash recently filed suit against Boeing claiming the system was responsible for the accident.

This is, of course, not exactly a well-founded argument.  Air travel has become increasingly safer over the last few decades.  In 2017, there was no fatalities from commercial jetliners, a very big milestone in commercial air travel safety.  President Trump even took credit for that airline safety in 2017.  That was, unfortunately, followed up with over 500 deaths in 2018.

That number has left some people uneasy about air travel.  The fact that the same aircraft has crashed over the course of five months (despite still not knowing the cause of Ethiopian Airlines crash), is making people even more uneasy.

Additionally, a 2015 study found that 85% of aircraft accidents were caused by pilot error, not aircraft systems.  The complex systems that the President is referring to in his tweets are likely one of the leading reasons air travel has become safer, rather than the cause of airline accidents.



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