FAA Completes MAX Certification Flights

Yolanda Curtis
July 5, 2020

Civil aviation authorities can not approve the modified model until they have examined how it performs in the air, and looked at the thousands of data points collected during the test flights.

The MAX has been grounded worldwide since March 13, 2019, following an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people.

The inspector general's report is a timeline of the plane's history from design work in 2012 until 2019, when the plane was grounded. But the report provides more evidence for lawmakers who want to overhaul FAA's process for approving new aircraft.

But beyond that Boeing still must develop pilot training protocols for the MAX that will be subject to public comment and a final review by a technical advisory board.

A Boeing spokesman said that since the accidents, "we have made substantial changes within our company to further enhance our commitment to safety".

After the October 2018 crash in Indonesia, FAA risk analysis determined that uncorrected risk to the 737 MAX was 2.68 fatalities per 1 million flight hours, which exceeds FAA guidelines of 1 fatality per 10 million flight hours.

Boeing's MCAS stall-prevention system has been faulted in both crashes. But the company did not submit documents to the FAA detailing this change, the inspector general found. It was the first time agency engineers had taken a detailed look at the system, according to the report. Now, after more than a year of additional delays and expanded scrutiny of other flight-computer and cockpit-alert features, besides MCAS, software and hardware fixes to the MAX fleet are expected to be approved by this fall.

Boeing 737 MAX jets were grounded in the United States and many countries across the world following two deadly crashes in the space of five months.

Wednesday's report goes beyond earlier findings released in March of this year by Democrats on the House Transportation Committee, which pinpointed some squandered opportunities by the FAA to prevent the second crash. The FAA has not given any details on how the theft took place but has taken the trouble to insist on the fact that the agency "does not lift the flight ban when the security experts of the FAA will be certain that the aircraft met the certification criteria".

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