Boeing 737 MAX Completes First Series of Test Flights for the FAA Re-Approval

After grounding all Boeing 737 MAX's last year, the aircraft maker is keen to see its most popular plane back in business.
Fabienne Lang
Boeing 737 MAXBoeing

Last year was not a good year for Boeing as its most popular plane, the 737 MAX, was grounded after suffering two fatal crashes within five months of each other. All passengers and crew on board died, which ended up seeing the plane grounded worldwide. 

Boeing has been working hard behind the scenes to get the 737 MAX up and running again, and this week marked the beginning of a series of flight tests for the aircraft. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in charge of recertifying the plane.


Bestseller plane

Boeing's bestseller plane, the 737 MAX, has undergone a change in its flight-control system, which was the main issue with both crashes in 2019 in Indonesia and in Ethiopia. There have been a number of other tweaks that the plane has had repaired over the past year. 

"The FAA is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work," the FAA said in a statement. "We will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards."

The process of certifying the plane began on June 29, with a first test flight taking off from Seattle, and others will follow in the next three days. "The tests are being conducted by test pilots and engineers from the FAA and Boeing," the FAA said.

It'll be another few weeks before any decision is made, as regulators evaluate the plane, and if all goes positively, the Boeing 737 MAX should resume flying in late Autumn this year. 

Boeing 737 MAX Completes First Series of Test Flights for the FAA Re-Approval
The Boeing 737 MAX test flights' tracks on 29 June, Source: FlightRadar24

There are other steps included before the plane can fly again, including an international evaluation of minimum pilot training requirements, for instance. 

Quite rightly, it won't be all that easy to get the plane certified again, as many lives could be at stake. "It is important to note, getting to this step does not mean the FAA has completed its compliance evaluation or other work associated with return to service," the FAA said.

"The FAA has not made a decision on return to service.  We have a number of steps remaining after the conclusion of the certification flights."

Boeing resumed production of the 737 MAX earlier this year, in a positive step forward. Moreover, after suffering a number of cancellations of orders, it's also getting back up on its feet with a few more pre-orders. 

You can track the plane's test flights via FlightRadar24.

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