Boeing 737 Max certification flight test expected soon

Cheryl Sanders
June 29, 2020

The flight control system, triggered by faulty readings from sensors, pushed the planes into nosedives that led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people.

Conducting test flights is one of the final steps in the process of certifying a jetliner and aviation regulators wouldn't have scheduled it if their review of Boeing's proposed fixes had revealed significant additional issues.

Regulators and Boeing are also hoping to hold an worldwide panel of airline pilots to test a proposed new training course for the 737 Max flight crews, possibly in late July and early August, according to Bloomberg.

The plane can not return to service until it receives final approval from the FAA. Boeing's worst crisis in its corporate history has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic that brought the travel industry to a grinding halt and dented aircraft demand.

The crew will run methodically scripted mid-air scenarios such as steep-banking turns, progressing to more extreme manoeuvres on a route primarily over Washington state, Reuters reported citing sources.

Pilots will also intentionally trigger the reprogrammed stall-prevention software known as MCAS faulted in both crashes, and aerodynamic stall conditions, the people said.

Now that payment deadlines have been relaxed due to COVID-19, the Moneycontrol Ready Reckoner will help keep your date with insurance premiums, tax-saving investments and EMIs, among others.

An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, US, March 21, 2019.

News of the reported certification flight came two days after the FAA said the 737 MAX planes needed to be inspected for a manufacturing defect on engine coverings. An email from the FAA stated testing "will include a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to enable the agency to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards", according to Reuters. Boeing is also adding new safeguards to the MCAS anti-stall system.

"We will conduct the certification flights only after we are satisfied with that data", the spokesman said.

That means the jet is on a path to resume U.S. commercial service before year-end, though the process has been plagued by delays for more than a year.

"Based on how many problems have been uncovered, I would be stunned if the flight tests are 'one and done, '" said another person with knowledge of the flight plans.

Last week, US safety officials required all 737 MAX planes to be inspected for any manufacturing defects on engine coverings that they say could lead to loss of power during flights. "There's a lot more play between regulators, and certainly a lot more pressure and public attention".

Other reports by iNewsToday