EASA today revealed that it has completed its test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX in Canada. The data will be analyzed before a meeting of the Joint Operations Evaluation Board next week. This will see representatives from a group of aviation authorities evaluating the aircraft ahead of a return to service.
The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for a year an a half. The type’s airworthiness certificate was withdrawn following two fatal crashes that bore strong similarities. Since the type was grounded, Boeing has been working with multiple certification agencies towards getting the aircraft back into service.
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9.5 hours of test flights
Today, EASA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, has revealed that it has completed its test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX. Due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, the flights started and ended in Vancouver. In total, according to data from FlightRadar24.com, six test flights were completed. The aircraft used for the tests is N7021S, a Boeing 737 MAX7, the smallest member of the MAX family.
Each day the aircraft started and finished in Vancouver, with the EASA representatives likely staying here. The plane started in Seattle on Monday, September 8th. The aircraft flew for half an hour to pick up EASA representatives from Vancouver. Having departed from Vancouver, the aircraft operated a 2:16 flight to Moses Lake, a Boeing 737 MAX storage facility. The aircraft then completed a 1:12 flight back to Vancouver before returning to Boeing Field for the night.
On Tuesday, the aircraft departed Boeing Field, arriving in Vancouver at 10:51. The aircraft then operated a 44-minute flight down to Moses Lake. Having arrived in Moses Lake, the plane completed many maneuvers before returning to Moses Lake two hours and nine minutes later. The maneuvers included many climbs, some on tight turns. Following this flight, the aircraft returned to Vancouver on a direct 45-minute flight before returning to Boeing Field.
Yesterday (Wednesday, September 10th), the aircraft completed its final day of test flights. Having flown from Boeing Field, only one flight was performed. This was a 2-hour 27-minute flight mostly in United States airspace. As such, 9.5 hours of test flight with EASA representatives onboard were completed.
What’s next for the aircraft
Three agencies have now completed test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX. These are EASA, Transport Canada, and the FAA. Now, all three parties, alongside representatives from other countries such as Brazil, will meet at London Gatwick next week. They will begin discussing their data and a potential path for recertification.
EASA has said that it is seeking to,
“…return the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service as soon as possible, but only once we are convinced it is safe.”
What do you make of EASA’s test flights? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!