Boeing 737 Max cleared to resume flying, but can't return to the skies just yet
First Published 18, Nov 2020, 8:04 PM
Twenty months after being grounded, the American Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the way for Boeing's 737 Max to resume flying. However, the aircraft can't return to the skies just yet.
Twenty months after being grounded, the American Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the way for Boeing's 737 Max to resume flying. The 737 Max was effectively grounded worldwide in March 2019 when the F.A.A. joined regulators in dozens of other countries in banning the plane after the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed all 346 people on board.
The order paves the way for the Boeing 737 MAX to return to commercial service. However, the aircraft can't return to the skies just yet. The FAA today published an Airworthiness Directive, specifying design changes that must be made before the aircraft returns to service. The FAA must approve 737 MAX pilot training program revisions for each U.S. airline operating the MAX.
The FAA will let Boeing resume delivery of newly produced 737 Max aircraft, which will have the design changes in place. But the agency itself will issue the Airworthiness Certificate for each aircraft. According to the FAA, the design and certification of the aircraft included an unprecedented level of collaborative and independent reviews by aviation authorities around the world.
Those regulators have indicated that Boeing's design changes, together with the changes to crew procedures and training enhancements, will give them the confidence to validate the aircraft as safe to fly in their respective countries and regions. Furthermore, airlines that have parked their MAX aircraft must take required maintenance steps to prepare them to fly again.
To get the 737 Max flying again, Boeing modified the MCAS software and added other safety features to make sure that pilots can immediately disengage the system and take control of the plane. It also made sure that the two angle-of-attack sensors work in tandem with MCAS.