India joins the world, grounds Boeing 737 Max aircraft

India yesterday decided to ground the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on March 11th said that he had directed officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to undertake safety assessment of Boeing 737 MAX (being flown by domestic carriers).

He had said that the safety of the passengers is our utmost concern.

Prabhu also said that he directed Secretary and DGCA to take appropriate action immediately.

Less than 72 hours back, on this Sunday, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed near Addis Ababa.

There were no survivors among the 157 people on the Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight. Four Indian nationals died in this crash.

This was the second crash in less than five months involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Previously, aircraft operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia killing over 180 people.

India joins the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, China and others in banning this plane.

Considering the stark situation, Suresh Prabhu’s directions make sense. Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) taking into account the safety of passengers released a statement grounding these planes.

It said:

DGCA has taken the decision to ground the Boeing 737 MAX planes immediately. These planes will be grounded till appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.

As always, passenger safety remains our top priority. We continue to consult closely with regulators around the world, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers to ensure passenger safety.

In continuation of the decision of DGCA to ground the B737 Max operations, further clarification follows. B737Max operations Will stop from/to all Indian airport’s. Additionally, no B737 Max aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit Indian airspace effective 1600hrs IST or 1030 UTC. The timeline is to cater to situations where aircraft can be positioned at maintenance facilities & international flights can reach their destinations.

But perhaps the most interesting observation on the Boeing 737 Max issue came from the US President Donald Trump who said that the airplanes are becoming too complex to fly and that rather than the pilots, Computer Scientists from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are needed to fly the planes.  He felt that unnecessary need to grow ‘one step further’ in technological advancement is a problem, especially when old and simpler is far better. His opinion was that when split-second decisions are to be made and at that stage complexity will create a dangerous situation. Here is what Donald Trump said and frankly it makes sense, development for the sake of development and not convenience will create a hazardous situation:

“Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”

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