In The News

Graves Letter to the Editor, Seattle Times, regarding Pilot Training Standards

Washington, D.C., May 24, 2019 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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Letter to the Editor of the Seattle Times
Submitted in response to a May 15, 2019 article but not printed by the Times

My views that came under attack in Mr. Gates’ article, "How much was pilot error a factor in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes?", are based on my 38 years as a pilot and information gathered from my review of the accident reports and conversations with government officials, engineers, and pilots. Insinuating that pilots like me, who do not believe the 737 MAX’s flight control system was solely to blame for these tragedies, are conspiring with a private company is wrong and insulting.

We all share the same goal: ensuring safety remains the top priority.  Aviation accidents are the result of many factors.  To focus on only one does not make aviation safer as a whole.

No one suggests that Boeing and federal regulators should not be equally scrutinized. They have difficult questions to answer.  I have clearly stated that should any investigations reveal problems with the certification of the 737 MAX, Congress should act.

But if pilots are not properly trained, passengers will still be put at risk.  Lessons learned from these accidents cannot be limited to aircraft design and certification; they must address any aircraft’s most important safety system: a well-trained pilot.  If we address only certain factors surrounding both crashes while ignoring others, we are not doing our best to improve the safety of our system.

Congressman Sam Graves of Missouri
Ranking Member of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

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Tags: Aviation