Boeing will fix the automation issues with the 737 MAX soon enough, but there will always be times when human pilots will be called on when computers and automation systems have failed them.

Regarding Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.’s “Boeing vs. Pilots?” (Business World, June 1): Without question, the failure of the pilots to deal with a malfunction was a major factor in both 737 MAX accidents. But in the accident chain, and it is almost always a chain of events that cause an airliner to crash, the root cause of both crashes was the failure of the automated flight-control system. As good as automation gets, it will never be flawless and there will be times when a properly trained and competent flight crew will be all that prevents disaster.

There are many examples in aviation history of pilot intervention averting catastrophe, but the most timely and profound is the “miracle on the Hudson.” The miracle was the skill, experience and coolly executed perfect judgment of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. All the automation in world could not have pulled off ditching an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River. Boeing will fix the automation issues with the 737 MAX soon enough, but there will always be times when human pilots will be called on when computers and automation systems have failed them.

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