Optimism for 737 MAX – FAA likely to grant certification in October

©Boeing 737 MAX

With the FAA having completed three days of certification flight tests on July 1 relating to the Boeing 737 MAX automated flight control system, its Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) are making final plans to review proposed training for flight crews that now incorporate design changes and crew procedures.

The 737 MAX has remained grounded since March Last year after two fatal crashes involving the plane which killed 346 passengers and crew, costing the planemaker US$18 billion to date. It is anticipated that clearance will be given to Boeing to resume deliveries of the troubled jet at the end of September, while the long-awaited certificate of airworthiness should be issued at some point in October.

Company spokesperson Gordon Johndroe commented that:  “Boeing is working closely with the FAA and other international regulators to meet their expectations as we work to safely return the 737 MAX to service”. The FAA has confirmed that the public will have 45 days to comment on “proposed design changes and crew procedures to mitigate the safety issues identified during the investigations that followed the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents,” noting that there are still some key steps to be taken before the plane can resume commercial service.

According to Reuters news agency, the JOEB will include regulators from Canada, Europe and Brazil and will evaluate minimum pilot training requirements. The FSB will issue a draft report for public comment addressing JOEB findings. Boeing has to add significant safeguards to a key safety system tied to both crashes, make other software updates and move wiring bundles.

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