Embattled B737Max Test Flights, Certification To Commence Next Month
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be conducting certification flights for the embattled Boeing 737 Max starting in October.The certification follows months of extensive testing by the manufacturer- Boeing, and its expectations of a return to service by December.
The American manufacturer has been busy testing the changes that have been made to the software that caused the plane to dive unexpectedly.A problem with the aircraft’s MCAS system resulted in two fatal crashes that killed 346 people just five months apart.
While Boeing hasn’t stopped making the aircraft, deliveries have paused and about 5,000 Boeing 737 Max aircraft ordered by 79 companies, among them Nigeria, are pending.
During the grounding of the Max model, Boeing engineers have been answering questions and working their way through hundreds of queries brought up by the FAA and other regulatory bodies around the world.
The Seattle plane maker is also keeping its 737 Max customers up-to-date on all the latest developments and its plans for getting around 600 grounded planes back in the air. “We continue to support the FAA and global regulators on the safe return of the Max to service,” Boeing said in a statement.
The FAA, meanwhile, is working to ensure that the overhauled 737 Max systems meet all safety standards. They do not have a timeline as to when the aircraft will be certified.
According to a statement by the government aviation agency, FAA employees have logged in over 110 thousand hours on the Max alone.“The FAA’s certification of the Boeing 737 Max is the subject of several independent reviews and investigations that will examine all aspects of the five-year effort,” the agency said.
“While the agency’s certification processes are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs, we welcome the scrutiny from these experts and look forward to their findings.”
Before Boeing can wrap up its submission to have the aircraft recertified there are still numerous tasks that need to be fulfilled.
One of the final steps in the process is a certification flight with FAA test pilots that must be completed before Boeing is allowed to submit any paperwork.
To ensure all safety aspects of the 737 Max have been addressed, the FAA is looking to use test pilots, who have had little or no experience flying the Boeing 737 family of aircraft.The first training will be done on simulators to see how the test pilots respond to abnormal conditions.
No mention has been made as to where the FAA will get these pilots from, but the assumption is they will come from some of the airlines that have been working with the FAA.If everything goes smoothly, as Boeing expect, the outcome will be combined with all the other test results to become a part of the recertification package.