The Boeing 737 MAX – What’s The Latest News?

It appears that the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX, which has been grounded since March 2019, is coming ever closer. Last week and this week, officials have begun testing the aircraft in line with new developments. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on.

737 MAX 9 front view
What’s going on with the 737 MAX? Photo: Getty Images

This week: training review

Over the months since the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has been working hard to get the aircraft recertified. There are several projects that it has been completing to achieve this, from software updates to global outreach. A critical facet of the recertification is training.

On Boeing’s 737 MAX update page, the airframer says that it has been,

“…developing comprehensive proposed training with global regulators.”  

This training covers new developments in the aircraft. Educating pilots and flight crews correctly should prevent further problems with the 737 MAX in the future. Yesterday, those training materials went under review.

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737 MAX parked
737 MAX training is currently under review in Gatwick. Photo: Getty Images

On September 14th, a Joint Operations Evaluation Board hosted a meeting for the 737 MAX at London Gatwick Airport to nitpick Boeing’s training. The session will last for nine days in which the board will evaluate the suitability and viability of the training.

These results will then be shared in a report by the Flight Standardization Board organized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The purpose of the report is to gain approval from the FAA Aircraft Evaluation Group and Air Transportation Division.

According to the FAA’s website,

“FAA principal operations inspectors use the approved document as guidance in approving aircraft operators’ crew training, checking and currency programs.”

737 MAX 7 in flight
Flights were also recently conducted in Vancouver. Photo: Getty Images

More testing in Vancouver

This round of testing follows on from test flights carried out in Canada last week. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) used the flights to collect data on the performance of the Boeing 737 MAX. 

It says that its findings will be shared in the Joint Operations Evaluation Board meeting in Gatwick this week.

Providing all goes well, and the Flight Standardization Board gets approval from the FAA, the aircraft will then be able to advance to the next stage of testing.

Boeing 737 MAX 9
Before it can be recertified, the MAX needs to be tested by Steve Dickson. Photo: Getty Images

Steve Dickson is the appointed FAA member who will be reviewing the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX. He will complete Boeing’s proposed training and carry out a flight to evaluate. Dickson is expected to record his findings and share them with the FAA.

Only then will the FAA review the final design for the aircraft and assess it for its suitability.

Results to come on September 21st

In addition to this, an Airworthiness Directive (AD) is currently open for public comment. The document, written by the FAA, suggests some updates that should be included in the 737 MAX before it flies again. These amendments include, but are not limited to:

  • new flight control computer software;
  • a new MAX display system; and
  • an angle of attack (AOA) sensor system test.
Unitd MAX
When resolved, Boeing can get back to fulfilling deliveries. Photo: Getty Images

The time frame for public comment will formally close on September 21st.

Things are definitely moving in the right direction, and providing Boeing has taken all the proper precautions, it will hopefully fly through the remainder of the process. The airframer is hoping that it can resume deliveries of the aircraft in the final quarter of this year.

When do you think the 737 MAX will be certified? Are you hopeful about the outcome of the current testing? Have your say in the comments.