FAA Could Operate Boeing 737 MAX Certification Flights In October

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is on target to start conducting certification flights for the Boeing 737 MAX starting in October.

max7hangar(1)
737 MAX certification flights to start in October. Photo: Boeing

Knowing what we know now, the 737 MAX should never have been certified to fly in the first place.

Now after months of extensive testing, Bloomberg reports that the 737 MAX will undergo certification flights by the FAA in the next few weeks. This is consistent with Boeing’s estimate of a return to service sometime in the fourth quarter.

Boeing is keeping its customers informed about the recertification

Boeing has been busy testing the changes that have been made to the software that caused the plane to dive unexpectedly.

Featured Video:

Icelandair 737 MAX
Icelandair has taken its 737 MAX off the schedule until 2020, despite a possible early return. Photo: Icelandair

A problem with the aircraft’s MCAS system resulted in two fatal crashes that killed 346 people just five months apart.

During the grounding of the MAX, 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 planemaker 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.

The FAA will use test pilots who are not familiar with 737s

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.

Boeing 737 MAX
Test pilots to undergo abnormal conditions on 737 MAX simulators. Photo: Boeing

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.

Conclusion

The entire process of grounding the 737 MAX has been a lesson in what happens when companies cut corners to put profit over safety.

grounded 737 MAX aircraft
737 MAX aircraft are spread around the world. Photo: SounderBruce via Wikimedia Commons

Hopefully, this tragic incident will be a wakeup call to not only Boeing and the FAA, but to other industries around the world to check their products thoroughly to ensure they are safe.

If after recertification something else should go wrong with the 737 MAX or god forbid another accident, Boeing will have a hard time escaping the media’s attention while losing the trust of the flying public.

Simple Flying reached out to Boeing to see if they had any new information to share.

A spokesperson for Boeing got back to us with the following statement: “Our best current estimate is a return to service of the MAX that begins early in the fourth quarter.”

“Our focus is on safety and ensuring the trust and confidence of customers, regulators and the flying public. Timing on return to service will be driven by the FAA and global regulators.”

18
Leave a Reply

8 Comment threads
10 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Christopher Bryant

FAA can not be in bed with Boeing and just rubber stamp certification protocols

Ron

If it hasn’t been treated as a new aircraft and with the testing over the past several months finding faults I wonder what other faults remain undetected in a 737 Max and when the ban is lifted will the passengers become “human test subjects”.

Moe

Yeh maybe the reading light has a fault if you want zero risk stay in bed although you could fall out

Joe

You still have not posted a link to the official reports of why the 2 737 max.s crashed. Oh the mCAS is not an anti stall device or system you should start doing your homework,. If you fly A320s versions you have a high chance of getting ill from fumes in the cabin. There are lots and lots of reports to faa and what ever the Europeans have for their version of faa.

Joe

So could you post a link to the official report on why the 2 737 max aircraft crashed ? As far as we know no report has ever been released. No cockpit voice recordings have been heard , no report on what the data boxes had to say. The french aviation people who did the black boxes said they would not have any press conferences nor release any public statements. Just turn over what they found to the 2 airlines in question. International law prevents people from suing the 2 airlines for this information. So where is the official report… Read more »

Joe

This statement – 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. Boeing 737 MAX . It seems from the 2 incidents that little airlines like the 2 that crashed their 737 m,ax’s needed that training . There has been no incidents which the large carriers at all. And now they seem to nick-ling and dimeing the aircraft The original group of pilots who said they did not need any extra training for the max… Read more »

chuck

I don’t plan flying 737 max if they use a computor fix for plane that is just poor engineering. The engines are the problem.

Tony Jennings

Dead right Chuck. The engines are too big and too heavy mounted foreward of the wing. Huge question here. Can Boeing afford to re engine them, NO. And how long does it take to install the Mcas upgrade in roughly 300 grounded Max8’s? Six months a year no one knows.

Caroline

The FAA has lost all its credibility so even if Boeing is favored by the US political & military Establisment, the FAA should simply refuse to certify it for this aircraft was not built from scratch and has become a flying coffin because of its faulty engineering conception ,in my opinion.

Frank

In other Max news today, Boeing faces it’s first lawsuit from a customer – in Russia.

MOSCOW, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Russian conglomerate Rostec confirmed its subsidiary has filed a lawsuit in the United States to cancel its order for 35 Boeing 737 MAX jets, a company representative said on Tuesday.

The first of many? Sept 15 seems to be a watershed date, as that will make 6 months the Max has been grounded and most airlines have a clause in their contracts that allow them to bail on an order after 6 months if not delivered…

Shapes

Yes I think this will be the first of many. Having a max delivered would only be the start of more problems for airlines, as they then have to pursuade people to fly on them.
They’ve already lost millions upon millions, having a max in the fleet would be a liability.
I think airlines will politely move on when the legal side of it allows.

Shapes

It is being ignored by the media but 3,000 max pilots are sueing boeing
https://australianaviation.com.au/2019/08/boeing-737-max-pilot-class-action-grows/

Shapes

Also dropped is news of another case., this time by a leasing company saying the max is worthless as an asset

https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-737-max-customer-claims-no-value-safety-customer-fears-2019-8?r=US&IR=T

NoOneInParticular

I guess most don’t remember Air France Flight 296 a chartered flight of a new Airbus A320-111 operated by Air France. On 26 June 1988, it crashed while making a low pass over Mulhouse–Habsheim Airport as part of the Habsheim Air Show.
This particular flight was not only the A320’s first passenger flight, but it was also the first public demonstration of any civilian fly-by-wire aircraft.
Airbus has since sold 5635 A320s to date, apparently the public is not as squeamish as predicted.

Frank

Except that was crash was ruled as pilot error – not because the aircraft was built with engines too large for the outdated design and as such, needs a software kludge which was linked to only one sensor input. Here, from the AF 296 report:

The official report from BEA concluded that the probable cause of the accident was a combination of the following:

Very low flyover height, lower than surrounding obstacles;
Speed very slow and reducing to reach maximum possible angle of attack;
Engines speed at flight idle; and
Late application of go-around power.

Henry

Are you an aeronautical engineer? I think you are just a keyboard warrior like to bash boeing.
I would fly on the max.
How you could explain there is no accidents in the US with vastly experience pilots?

Shapes

Henry You don’t need to be an engineer or pilot to see the max has serious flaws.