Friday, 03 July, 2020


Boeing 737 MAX flight tests begin

A Boeing 737 MAX takes off from Renton Municipal Airport in December A Boeing 737 MAX takes off from Renton Municipal Airport in December
Bennie Garza | 29 June, 2020, 20:57

Boeing has received clearance to begin test flights of its troubled 737 Max jet, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday.

According to Reuters, the "FAA has not made a decision on return to service" and there will be a multiple additional steps for Boeing to complete after the test flight certification process.

Marking a date for certification flights is a critical step in Boeing's long journey to resuming service on its best-selling plane since it was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes in less than five months.

In an email to Congress, the FAA said its Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) Board had completed its review "clearing the way for flight certification testing to begin".

Boeing is set for a crucial flight test Monday (June 29) to see if its 737 Max jet can take to the skies again.

The sources say that the plane's return would not likely be approved until September.

Once meant to become Boeing's flagship airliner, the 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since last spring, with Congress investigating the accidents involving the plane while pilots and the families of people killed in the disasters have filed class action lawsuits.

A congressional report has since accused the firm of promoting a "culture of concealment" and of "grossly inefficient" oversight.

The manufacture, which has its headquarters in Chicago, has since revealed plans to cut about 16,000 jobs, or 10% of its 160,000-strong workforce, because of the pandemic.

The FAA has said it would "evaluate aspects of the 737 MAX automated flight control system, including its design and pilots' interaction with the system, to determine its compliance with all applicable regulations and to identify future enhancements that might be needed".

The Boeing and FAA crew will run methodically through scripted mid-air scenarios, progressing to more extreme maneuvers on a route over mainly Washington state, according to Reuters.

At least one of those practice flights included the same testing parameters expected tomorrow, one of the people said.

During the training, pilots will also trigger reprogrammed, stall-prevention software, known as MCAS. "We will conduct the certification flights only after we are satisfied with that data".

That means the jet is on a path to resume U.S. service before year-end, though the process has been plagued by delays for more than a year. Flights will be adjusted based on flight plans, weather and additional factors, sources said.

Plans are being discussed to allow the group to perform its work remotely in flight simulators around the world, rather than flying to Boeing's main training center in Miami, Florida, where the number of Covid-19 cases are rapidly increasing, Bloomberg said.

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