The highly-anticipated Boeing 737 MAX recertification flights have begun this week in order to resume commercial passenger service – at least in the United States. The test flights are for the Federal Aviation Administration, otherwise known as the FAA. On Monday, June 29th, a Boeing 737 MAX 7 took off from Boeing Field at 09:55 local time for the first round of testing.
It’s quite safe to say that ‘avgeeks’ and aviation enthusiasts around the world are already closely following the flights. At the time of writing, aircraft can be tracked live on websites such as FlightRadar24.com and FlightAware.
For those looking for a summary, we can say that the 737 MAX 7 took off from Boeing Field, outside of Seattle, at 09:55 local, on June 29th. The flight is expected to take several hours. FlightAware lists the flight as scheduled to arrive at 13:22 local time.
According to FlightRadar24.com, the MAX 7 has registration N7201S, which Airfleets notes to be 2.3 years old, delivered in mid-March 2018.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
The FAA’s statement on the flights
Simple Flying contacted Boeing for a statement on the commencement of these flights. However, we were redirected to the FAA, which is the lead regulator on this certification process. A report on the FAA’s website states the following:
The FAA and Boeing are conducting a series of certification flights this week to evaluate Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX…While the certification flights are an important milestone, a number of key tasks remain.
Conducted by test pilots and engineers from the FAA and Boeing, the FAA notes that these certification flights are expected to take approximately three days and will include a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to assess whether the changes meet certification standards set by the FAA.
These flights are part of a “deliberate process” and the FAA says that it will take the time it needs to review Boeing’s work thoroughly. “We will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards,” the statement reads.
A critical milestone
With a large portion of the aviation world following these flights live, the pressure is immense for Boeing. This is especially true given the fact that hundreds of 737 MAX jets from dozens of airlines depend on a successful outcome of this week’s flights.
Of course, this is just one step, with several more to go. Once successfully recertified, US airlines will need to retrain their pilots while Boeing will have to make all the necessary and critical updates to fleets around the world.
Furthermore, it is widely known that EASA and Transport Canada have their own issues with the MAX, which will also need to be examined in due time. EASA and Transport Canada are civil aviation regulators for the European Union and Canada, respectively.
Are you closely following this week’s recertification flights? Let us know in the comments!