President Trump Has Opinions About the Boeing 737 MAX, and They’re Exactly What You’d Expect

Donald Trump used to own a whole airline. He purchased the Eastern Shuttle in 1989 and renamed it the Trump Shuttle. He lost $100 million on the deal, and also lost big in a takeover attempt of American Airlines the same year. The Trump Shuttle is now the American Airlines shuttle. So he’s an expert on commercial aviation.

Trump does still own a Boeing 757 (as well as a Cessna). He acquired the jet in 2011.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign the 757 had to make an emergency landing in Nashville. So he’s an expert on air safety. In fact the record safety year in 2017 was Trump’s doing:

He considered naming his personal pilot to run the FAA. Air safety for the President, then, is clearly very personal (he might have just been looking for someone to give back the waypoints which were taken away when he launched his Presidential campaign). He also takes aircraft noise complaints seriously.

Naturally what the country wanted to know was when President Trump would speak out on the issues facing the Boeing 737 MAX. Our long national wait is now over. The President feels we use way too much technology in our aircraft.

This is actually an intellectually consistent position for the President to take. His views on trade are very much to focus on displaced workers when new technologies compete away older products, rather than to focus on what more productive uses those resources could be put towards.

Trump himself could lead the investigation into the cause of the Ethiopian 737 MAX disaster:

To be sure, I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot either. He’s been dead since 1955.

However I believe data suggests that air travel has gotten safer overall with advancements in technology.

Filed under: bad news for Uber and self-driving cars, good news for those who like the continued use of paper flight strips by air traffic controllers.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary, I told you before and I am repeating it now: “Stay out of politic”.
    Just like in my previous comment every time you go politic you trigger a huge response. As you know the country is deeply divided as never before so when you show where you stand by criticizing Trump you clearly generate an uproar from the “deplorables”. Being neither pro not against Trump, but sick of seen politics everywhere I find refreshing when you stick to travel blog content. Please don’t spoil it.

  2. “…the country is deeply divided as never before…”

    Um, the Civil War ring any bells? I think it’s pretty ridiculous when a blogster (people who get paid to share their opinions and experiences) can’t make obvious observations about elected people without getting criticized.

    And no, this isn’t the most divided the country has ever been. It only seems that way to people who don’t know our history.

  3. We may agree or disagree with Trump on many issues. But I completely agree with him on this, while his wording as usual is very questionable. Some of recent horrible crashes have been caused by Software/Computers being unable to be overruled by Pilots, and seem to have been automatic features.
    1. Software can only be as good as the programmer at the time of programming.
    2. Pilots evolve and are “automatic updating themselves” while Software needs to be updated. And Updates often do not take place until next bigger maintenance checks.
    3. At the same time, we do not know and it is hard to determine how many crashes have been avoided exactly because of excellent software.
    BUT like with Cars, extra Systems can help and alert the Pilot, Systems that takeover or do stuff (with well intentions) in the background are dangerous. Like with Tesla, it’s great to have auto pilot, but there are so many variables that the programmers can not have expected, that it still needs the human factor to be alert and able to interact.
    4. Software depends on variable inputs, and many of that is created by sensors. Sensors that can malfunction, as they normally are not like a human take many factors into consideration, but just one or a few (they are designed for). This is where AI is coming into play, where another Software tries to “understand” if the sensors data can be trusted, looking at other available data (sensors).
    I wonder if Captain Sully could have done his miracle on the Hudson with a highly advanced plane, too, or if some systems would have sabotaged him and prevented him form saving the passengers…

  4. AndyZRH–Thank you for writing the thoughtful, intelligent post that Gary Leff should have written. When he veers into attempts at comedy and political commentary, others have to clean up his embarrassing mess.

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