Boeing 737 MAX test flights set to begin this week
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With shorter, domestic flights likely to lead the U.S. airline industry’s recovery, Boeing is looking to get its long-troubled but well-positioned aircraft, the 737 MAX, back into the skies sometime this year.
According to multiple sources, Boeing is said to have received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to start test flights this week. If successful, these flights will certify the manufacturer’s new safety assessments for the MAX — and get these planes one step closer to flying again.
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In an email to Senate and House oversight committee staff members, the FAA said, “Testing is expected to take several days, and will include a wide array of flight manoeuvres and emergency procedures to enable the agency to assess whether the changes meet F.A.A. certification standards”.
After being grounded for more than 15 months — following two fatal crashes — officials are now ready to allow Boeing to prove the MAX is worthy of flying.
Boeing will work with federal officials, including FAA pilots, to conduct the test flights through a series of manoeuvres and other standards. Even with these tests, it still could be months before the 737 MAX could take to the skies with paying customers on board. Before the MAX returns, pilots need to be retrained, new maintenance and testing for planes that have been in storage for months needs to be done, and approval would be needed from other regulators around the world.
However, this is a significant step in getting this aircraft airborne again. Boeing has already conducted hundreds of hours of tests on the 737 MAX and now, it looks to get a stamp of approval from the FAA.
Featured photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images.
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