The stage is looking set for the comeback of the grounded Boeing 737 Max jets from the hangars after being grounded for more than 5 months over safety issues from two fatal crashes.
According to reports, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may conduct a certification flight for Boeing Co.’s 737 Max in October.
Around 600 planes have been left mothballed by the grounding order.
A Boeing statement said, “while the assumption reflects Boeing’s best estimate at this time, the actual timing of return to service will be determined by the FAA and other global aviation regulatory authorities.”
Boeing, on its part, is testing changes to the flight-control software architecture of the grounded jet.
FAA focus on Flight Safety
The FAA is making sure that that the revamped 737 Max systems comply with all safety requirements. There is no timeline for returning the plane to service, according to FAA.
A review by the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board and new guidelines for pilot training will also involve the FAA procedures.
The FAA said it will be inviting “a cross-section of line pilots from carriers that operate the aircraft around the world” to participate in simulator testing “as part of the overall testing and validating of new procedures on the Boeing 737 MAX.”
New MCAS procedures to be tested
The Boeing news also said the FAA plan for simulator sessions will involve testing of the new procedures of Boeing’s updated Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control software.
The original version was under fire for being an alleged causative factor in the two fatal MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that pushed the jets’ nose down.
Since a computer glitch was discovered, pilots will get to test separate procedures on handling un-commanded nose-down movements outside of MCAS.
Dennis Tajer, the spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association union said: “anything that gets the average line pilot in to test that system — not the top test pilot at Boeing but an average 737 pilot — that’s realistic analysis and we’re encouraged to hear that.”
Boeing‘s new production plan
Meanwhile, Boeing has unveiled an aggressive production plan for the 737 Max jets reflecting the assumption that “the 737 MAX return to the service plan.”
Assuming that FAA clearance will come in October, Boeing aims to ramp up production numbers soon.
The new volumes seek to bypass the current 42 planes per month to the precrash level of 52 jets by February 2020 and 57 jets per month by next summer.