The 737 MAX is Boeing’s fastest selling plane with over 5,000 orders received. Unfortunately, two plane crashes between late 2018 and early 2019 resulted in the grounding of the new model in March 2019. Investigations into the two accidents revealed flaws in the flight control system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Over the past year, Boeing has been intensively working on improvements and changes to allow for the 737 MAX to return to service.
A Boeing 737 MAX took off on Monday morning from King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field on the first day of certification flight testing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and company test pilots.
The FAA explained the flights are to evaluate Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system by conducting a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards. The testing is expected to last three days and marks a crucial moment in the manufacturer’s worst-ever crisis that has resulted in the longest grounding of a commercial airliner.
The recertification flight test is a pivotal step in the challenging process of returning the 737 MAX to service. The aircraft was initially expected to return to service by January before being pushed back to mid-2020. Given the calamity of the plane crashes internationally, the 737 MAX will need approval from regulators in Europe, Brazil, Canada, and other regions as well.
These flights are an important milestone, but there are several key tasks that still remain and unlikely that the 737 MAX will get approval to fly until this fall.
What are your thoughts on the Boeing 737 MAX? Would you feel safe flying this aircraft in the near future if deemed safe by the FAA? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Hat Tip: CNBC