A class-action lawsuit against Boeing reportedly accuses the US aviation giant of covering up the faulty sensor issue and keeping pilots in the dark about the feature in the pursuit of quick returns.
The legal action was started by a pilot, identified only as ‘Pilot X’ in court documents, which were seen by the Australian Broadcasting Company. He was joined by over 400 fellow pilots, trained to fly the fourth-generation narrow-body 737 MAX aircraft.
They accuse the Chicago-based aviation corporation of hushing known concerns about the glitch-ridden equipment installed on the jets.
Boeing recently admitted that it knew of the problem since at least 2017, but did not notify the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) until after the Lion Air flight with 189 people on board crashed in Indonesia last October.
The main problem with the jets is rooted in the “inherently dangerous aerodynamic handling defects” of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), designed to prevent the plane from stalling.
For the latter to work properly, an optional set of indicators needs to be installed on the plane, and only 20% of the 737 MAX jets had them. Moreover, Boeing did not plan to update the software for the other jets until 2020.
The lawsuit, which demands compensation for lost wages and mental suffering that the pilots endured due to the grounding, alleges that the aviation giant should have known that by sweeping the issue under the rug, it set the stage for exactly that outcome.
In addition, the pilots accuse Boeing of providing little instruction on how to handle the anti-stalling feature, which is only briefly mentioned in the flight manuals.
The plaintiffs say that their ultimate goal is to prevent tragedies such as the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, which claimed 346 lives, from happening in the future.
ABC Flash Point Aviation News 2019.