Transport Canada today began test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX. The flights come some 17 months after the type was grounded following two fatal crashes. The US regulator, the FAA, finished its testing of the MAX at the start of July.
The Boeing 737 MAX has now been grounded for almost a year and a half. Interested parties are keen to get the aircraft back into the skies. However, for this to happen, multiple milestones need to be passed to ensure that the plane is safe to fly, following Boeing’s remedies. Test flights by aviation authorities are a crucial step in the recertification of the aircraft.
Boeing 737 MAX 7 test flight
Today Transport Canada became the first non-American entity to begin test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX, according to FlightRadar24.com and Reuters. The first test flight conducted was a round trip from Moses Lake with N7201S, a two-year-old Boeing 737 MAX 7. This is the same aircraft that the Federal Aviation Administration used for test flights.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) August 26, 2020
According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft got airborne for its test flight at 09:29. The plane turned left immediately after departure, before making a right turn. In the first six minutes of flight, the aircraft climbed to 15,300 feet, a rate of climb of roughly 2,500 feet per minute.
The aircraft then spent 12 minutes performing a series of turns before beginning its descent at a much more gentle angle. After approaching the runway, the plane completed a go-around before making a left circuit of the facility. It finally touched back down at 10:09, 40 minutes after it took off.
Transport Canada’s test plan
Simple Flying previously reported that, when testing the Boeing 737 MAX, the aircraft would fly to Vancouver to pick up Transport Canada officials. It was then to fly into US airspace to complete the flight tests before returning to Vancouver so that the Transport Canada officials could disembark.
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On the matter, a Boeing spokesperson previously told Simple Flying,
“Boeing continues to work with regulators to conduct their respective validation flights and simulator tests in order to better understand enhancements to the airplane. Plans will accommodate COVID-19 precautions and restrictions.”
Return to service
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to be the first to recertify the Boeing 737 MAX. As such, it is likely that the aircraft will first return to service in the United States. It’s impossible to say exactly when the plane will definitively be recertified.
A month ago American Airlines’ President, Robert Isom, shared that he expects the FAA to approve the aircraft for flights in October. Following recertification, airlines will likely be looking to complete their own tests on the plane. As a result, American Airlines is currently expecting to see the aircraft back on its rosters by December.
What do you think of the Boeing 737 MAX’s recertification program? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!