Thank you for answering. Our credentials are perhaps somewhat similar. I'm PPL, engineering and software. Did you actually watch the 60 minutes Australia? Also suggest that you read the article I linked by Greg Travis. You may find them informative and interesting.
Obviously what Boeing did was an epic fail. I'm not trusting of what was rolled out. Sounds borderline criminal to me. The AA pilots don't sound like they are in any hurry to trust anything from Boeing. If a plane needs MCAS to be safe then the plane may not be so good, at least not as a 737.
I'm having a hard time putting what you said together. If you have a PPL you should have a pretty good idea of what it takes to get an airplane to stall. You really have to go far out to the edges of the flight envelope to make that happen in a trainer never mind a commercial airliner. It's only in that regime where the nacelle lift comes in to play, and it's only that part of the regime that MCAS is needed to meet regulations on linearity of the control column movement.
If you have a PPL you have a pretty good idea how to cross check instruments and how to rule out which ones are giving you unrealistic info and how to fall back on basics of pitch and power especially on CAVOK days like both of these crashes were.
I have a hard time understanding how two pilots with ATPLs can lose situational awareness to the point of finding themselves in that part of the flight envelope and needing to then figure out how to do the runaway stab checklist when they really should not have been there in the first place.
I do understand the goal is to make things as easy as they can for the pilots and that Boeing did a poor job on implementing MCAS but to say MAX needs MCAS to be safe over states the situation, IMHO. I doubt these two crew's abilities to handle many other failure modes that they should be able to handle.
My prediction is that this thing continues to get uglier by the day and it's just getting started. I bet we're 6 months if ever before it flys again.
Both the NYT and the BBC reports provide AA's comments:
American Airlines said it was "confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the Max, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon."
So those pilots will really have to put it on the line to avoid flying MAX in the relatively near future.
Chances are most pilots will be fine with flying the MAX once it's recertified and this will fade away just like every other past air disaster has.