High on Boeing’s list of priorities is returning the 737 MAX to service. As Boeing works on a software solution, the FAA is working on their plans to recertify the aircraft. Central to the recertification is how pilots will be able to deal with the MCAS system in case of issues. Now, new reports indicate that the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, will test the Boeing 737 MAX with pilots who have limited experience with Boeing 737 aircraft.
The FAA intends to use inexperienced pilots
Skift is reporting that some of the pilots the FAA will bring in will have little experience with the Boeing 737. Instead of testing the pilots on actual 737 MAX aircraft, the FAA will use flight simulators. The safety of the aircraft is still in question, so it makes sense for the FAA to use simulators for this test. In addition, using inexperienced pilots allows Boeing to test how newer 737 pilots will be able to respond to the issue. And, those unfamiliar with the aircraft could offer valuable insights that other pilots might overlook.
Simple Flying reached out to Boeing who did not have a comment or confirm the reports. The FAA also has not publicly confirmed these reports. It also is not clear where these pilots will be sourced from.
Why is this important?
Boeing and the FAA are under scrutiny after two entirely fatal 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. By covering all their bases, the FAA is looking to regain international recognition as an industry-leading regulatory agency. In fact, the FAA was the last major civil aviation regulatory agency in the world to ground the 737 MAX. China was the first.
Airlines are also watching these developments closely. In the last few years, the 737 MAX grounding has received some of the most intense media sensation and public scrutiny. Another 737 MAX crash after recertification due to issues with the MCAS or autopilot would be a near deathblow for the FAA, Boeing, and airlines who fly the aircraft.
When will the aircraft fly again?
Boeing and airlines would love to see this aircraft recertified and in the air by the end of the year. In fact, this is still a possibility, depending on how FAA testing goes. However, as a precaution, many airlines have removed the 737 MAX from service until 2020. This does not necessarily indicate a lack of confidence in the aircraft. Instead, airlines can better prepare their operations in case the 737 MAX does not return to service until 2020.
We will have to wait for word from the FAA before a more concrete timeline comes into place. And, after the FAA, other international regulatory agencies will have to lift the ban before the 737 MAX enters widespread international service.
Do you think the FAA is making the right decision by bringing in inexperienced 737 pilots? Will you fly on the 737 MAX once it is recertified? Let us know in the comments!