Re: More than 300 dead is largely worth an abundance of caution
Is this to say that the 737 max is too difficult to fly manually?
With the proper training, not at all.
However, that's the point, if the aircraft required its own training régime - even if it's just a few hours 'conversion' training - then that would mean it wasn't the same aircraft and would have had to receive its own certification, rather than just using the existing 737 certification.
New certification means a more costly aircraft, as getting it certified costs money. In addition to the increased purchase cost due to having to get the aircraft certified, there'd be an even bigger training cost to the airlines. A big airline like SWA that has ordered 280 of these would have to train a thousand pilots, and that costs more money. Therefore initial operating costs would be higher, and they couldn't just assign any existing 737 pilot to it randomly, they could only assign the ones who had undertaken the training, therefore less flexibility for the airlines (until they'd competed their replacement programs eliminating all non MAX 737's) which means more cost.
Therefore Boeing introduced systems to the aircraft to (try to) make it fly to the pilots like a bog-standard 737, therefore no certification expenses therefore no training expenses. As much of this correction seems to be dependant on software 'hiding' the actual changes in how the aircraft flies, this means Boeing introduced more software complexity - read more bugs and more points of failure - to the aircraft to accomplish this. And this additional complexity means that the control systems are now more dependant on aircraft sensors (AoA in the MCAS case), which doesn't seem to have been taken into account in the sensor package of the aircraft. What was prior to the MAX a useful information system, AoA, that just provided information to the pilots (and could issue automatic alarms/warnings - "beep, beep, pull up, beep, beep, pull up..."), is now a critical control system. This increase in importance of the system doesn't seem to have been reflected in the AoA sensor package, in that there are only 2 AoA sensors (that don't even have their own instrument readout in the cockpit unless the airline pays extra for that feature), not a properly redundant 3-sensor voting system.