"Several aviation experts have said that if either of the Boeing 737 Max incidents had occurred with a pilot with a level of training typical of western airlines, the flights would have been recoverable. "
Western pilots in western spec 737MAX's have experienced issues with MCAS causing nosedoves and survived. However, the reports from those pilots do not appear to have approached the severity of the issues experienced during the crash.
There are doubts that the Indonesian/Ethiopian 737MAX's had equivalent hardware to allow pilots to recover the aircraft if they were put into a dive. In particular, it appears that the input from the Lion Air AoA sensor differed by 20° and they were initially blamed on maintenance issues inspite of the sensor being replaced in the preceding 24 hours. For Ethiopian Airlines, the sensor was apparently out by 50° which led to an investigation and the possibility that the sensors could not be correctly calibrated at ground level if certain options were not present.
The relevant equipment appears to be:
- the cockpit warning light for AoA disagree. I'm unsure if this is strictly necessary, but it provided a warning of the issue on Western airlines aircraft, allowing them to recover
- the cockpit AoA indicator.
- equipment to allow the AoA to be calibrated correctly while the plane was still on the ground
MCAS being poorly implemented (calibration, redundancy, sanity checking input/output etc) is part of the issue but pales into insignificance compared to Boeing selling aircraft without key components that MCAS or the pilots relied on to prevent MCAS flying the plane into the ground because they didn't understand how the system functioned
i.e. a technical solution that was supposed overcome the design limitations of the aircraft WAS NOT understood by the manufacturer