October 31, 2019
Dennis Muilenburg, Chief Executive Officer
The Boeing Company
100 North Riverside
Chicago, IL 60606
Steve Dickson, Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20591
Mr. Muilenburg and Mr. Dickson:
AMFA has been following the Boeing 737 MAX 8 situation very carefully over these past months. In addition to attending meetings and collaborating with our carriers to ensure the MAX 8 aircraft is safe prior to relaunch, we have worked internally to identify issues that affect our members. Our desire is to work together with all stakeholders towards identifying common solutions that affect us all, and we have sent a similar letter to Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
We are very concerned that the role of the mechanic is not being discussed enough and that very little focus has been placed on our craft’s importance in the safe operation of the aircraft. Although we agree that communication and training of pilots is key, we firmly believe that the same can be said of the mechanic responsible for troubleshooting and performing maintenance on the MAX 8. Additionally, we are growing frustrated with the apparent lack of maintenance expertise, particularly from labor, that exists on the ever-growing committees and panels related to this situation as well as aircraft maintenance in general.
It is essential that all aircraft mechanics, inspectors, and maintenance controllers who are responsible with the operation and maintenance of the MAX 8 receive training prior to the aircraft relaunch, to encompass both CBT-based and hands-on training scenarios. Attached is an AMFA-recommended course of training we believe will help ameliorate this specific issue. The hands-on portion is an integral aspect as many of our members highly value being able to actually touch the aircraft as a part of any training program.
Our training recommendations will help facilitate the goal of maintaining the highest trained mechanics, inspectors, and maintenance controllers in the world, and we ask that you consider and share these recommendations with carriers who operate the MAX 8. We strongly feel this is an essential piece of the puzzle to the level of reassurance that the MAX 8 is safe to fly, for both our craft and the flying public. We further recommend the use of aircraft maintenance labor to assist as experts of the mechanics out in the field, and offer our services to that end. We look forward to working with you on these issues and others of mutual interest moving forward.
On Behalf of the NEC,
AMFA MAX Training Recommendations
Prior to the aircraft’s release to revenue service, and in an effort to the craft more knowledgeable and the flying public more comfortable with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, AMFA recommends the following training solutions for a successful relaunch:
- Utilize a training CBT to discuss MAX 8 differences on the MCAS system and any FCC software changes for all mechanics, inspectors, and maintenance controllers in the industry.
- Develop and implement a hands-on training course consisting of various simulations that can be accomplished in a few hours while on shift, and make available to all mechanics, inspectors, and maintenance controllers
- Utilize mechanics (i.e. "train-the-trainer") to facilitate hands-on-training
- Position aircraft at MX bases as well as other locations deemed appropriate (including those with Line RON capabilities and those expected to service initial relaunch flights) to accommodate course
- Suggested simulations include: general aircraft walk around, engine (opening cowl, MEL procedures, etc.), flight deck/cabin (common faults and messages, MAS system, etc.) and any other scenario deemed appropriate
- Develop classroom training classes (such as MAX differences) and make available to mechanics, inspectors, and maintenance controllers, ensuring that accomplishing a walk-around of the aircraft is part of the class
- Utilize all additional resources (including the manufacturer) for further training and support of Line Maintenance and Maintenance Control initially, and Intermediate/Heavy Maintenance at the appropriate time
- Set up stations with a monitor for computer-based trouble shooting aids from Boeing, such as the full interactive version (not the training version currently in use) of 737 Max MDS MAS/OMF MX light trouble shooting aide
- Fully utilize LEAP engine training offered by GE