Yared Getachew, the captain onboard doomed Ethiopian Flight 302, never had Boeing 737 Max 8 simulator training, despite Ethiopian Airlines’ acquisition of a simulator months earlier.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, insiders at Ethiopian told the New York Times that Ethiopian had a Boeing 737 MAX 8 simulator up and running in January, but Captain Getachew never trained on it. Getachew last trained in a simulator in late September or early October. He had over 8,000 hours of training when the deadly crash occurred. It is not clear if the first officer had 737 MAX 8 simulator training. Ethiopian requires pilot simulator training every six months.
This represents an additional datapoint but is hardly dispositive in finding the root of the problem or assigning blame. Remember that Boeing claimed that experienced 737 pilots needed only minimal training to transition to MAX aircraft like the 737 MAX 8.
But it is noteworthy that Ethiopian acquired the simulator in response to the Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crash and was well-aware of the problematic M.C.A.S. system intended to prevent against stalls.
As the investigation continues we may well see two parties blamed instead of one. Assigning blame won’t bring back lives lost, but getting to the root of what went wrong will certainly help guide other pilots at Ethiopian Airlines and around the world.