Here Is How Transport Canada Will Test Fly The Boeing 737 MAX

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Yesterday, we wrote about Transport Canada’s plans to conduct its own flight testing of the 737 MAX. Since then, additional information has come out, with a few updates to what we had understood previously. Here is how Transport Canada plans to test fly the 737 MAX.

There has been an update regarding Transport Canada’s 737 MAX testing plans. Photo: Getty Images

Test aircraft to fly from and to Vancouver

According to information communicated by an official spokesperson, Transport Canada has completed its review of the results of the FAA’s own series of flight tests. As a result, it is ready to proceed in conducting its own validation test flights the week of August 24th.

Here is the plan as laid out by Transport Canada:

  • Transport Canada employees will be flown to Seattle, WA, to conduct evaluations on the engineering simulator at the Boeing facility.
  • The employees will then be flown back to Vancouver, BC.
  • For the flight test activities, as a result of the ongoing public health situation, the test aircraft will fly to Vancouver, BC, to allow Transport Canada employees to board.
  • Flight testing will take place in US airspace, and then the aircraft will return to Vancouver, BC, to allow Transport Canada employees to disembark.

The ‘ongoing public health situation’ that Transport Canada is referring to is obviously COVID-19. The government agency says that “mitigation measures have been established for the validation activities including flight tests to ensure the health and safety of Transport Canada employees.

Vancouver International Airport
The 737 MAX used for flight testing will collect Transport Canada employees from Vancouver. Presumably, YVR will be the airport selected. Photo: Vancouver International Airport

“Transport Canada remains committed to ensuring that the flight restrictions in Canada are in place until fully satisfied that all safety concerns have been addressed by the manufacturer and the FAA and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place.”

Working closely with Boeing

A spokesperson with Boeing offered a statement to Simple Flying which reads:

“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.”

Having conducted flight testing with the FAA just a few months prior, the US plane manufacturer will have already had some fresh practice.

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737 max recertification flight
Flight tracking displaying the flight path of the first FAA tests on June 29th. Photo: FlightAware

Canadian customers: Air Canada, WestJet, and Sunwing

Transport Canada’s approval is necessary for Canadian carriers Air Canada, WestJet, and Sunwing to fly the 737 MAX jets they have purchased. Sunwing has four 737 MAX jets, WestJet has 13 MAX jets, while Air Canada has 24 with 26 yet to be delivered. In a statement to Simple Flying, WestJet said the following:

“While Transport Canada test flights are a key step in the MAX return to service, there are still a number of steps to be made before the skies in Canada are open to the aircraft. WestJet looks forward to returning the MAX safely to service given the regulator’s focus and diligence throughout the certification program.”

Air Canada, WestJet, and Sunwing would depend on Transport Canada’s approval of the 737 MAX. However, any other operators flying in Canadian airspace would also depend on it as well. This would obviously include American carriers operating transborder services. However, Aeromexico and Icelandair – both 737 MAX customers – could both potentially fly the 737 MAX on services to Canada.

How optimistic are you about the 737 MAX’s return to service? Let us know in the comments.

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