Modern planes becoming “too complex to fly,” Trump tweets

President Trump bemoaned the complexity of modern airplane technology on Tuesday, after a second deadly crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 over the weekend left no survivors. Another plane of the same model crashed five months ago. 

Mr. Trump did not mention Boeing directly in his tweets, as some in Congress, including Republican Sen. Mitt Romney and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, are calling on all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes to be grounded until further investigation. But Mr. Trump took a different tactic on Tuesday morning, tweeting that planes have become “far too complex to fly” and rely on technology rather than skilled pilots. 

“Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly,” the president tweeted. “Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are…needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”

It’s unclear what evidence the president is citing to apparently connect additional technology and danger. The cause of the latest crash has not been determined. Boeing claims this incident and a crash of a similar design five months ago are unrelated incidents. Eight Americans were on board the downed Ethiopian Airlines plane this weekend. 

“Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the MAX. We understand that regulatory agencies and customers have made decisions that they believe are most appropriate for their home markets,” Boeing said in a statement. 

“We’ll continue to engage with all of them to ensure they have the information they need to confidently operate their fleets or return them to service. It is also important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration is not mandating any further action at this time, and based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators.”

Last year, Mr, Trump appeared to take some credit for zero commercial jet deaths in 2017. 

“Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!” Mr. Trump tweeted in January 2018.”

CBS News’ Kris Van Kleave contributed to this report.  

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