Boeing may begin test flights of the 737 Max, according to the FAA

The move represents an important step in the 737 Max re-certification process, which has been established since March 2019, for passenger flights.
Boeing said it expects to receive full approval for the plane’s flight by the middle of this year. The FAA said in a letter to Congress on Sunday that there was no date yet when the grounding would be lifted.

“Flights with FAA pilot pilots could begin as early as tomorrow, assessing Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system at 737 MAX,” the administration wrote in a letter to lawmakers, which was given to CNN. “Testing is expected to take several days and will include a wide range of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures so the agency can assess whether FAA meets certification standards.”

Boeing is working with the FAA to bring the 737 Max back into the air after two crashes that killed 346 people. The company initially hoped the plane would take off again before the end of 2019, but the effort hit a number of roadblocks, including a new software problem that was discovered in February.
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“Boeing continues to work diligently to support the safe return of the 737 Max to commercial services. We leave it to the FAA and global process regulators,” Boeing said in a statement to CNN on Sunday.

Problems with the 737 Max have so far cost Boeing $ 18.7 billion, and that number is likely to continue to rise.
The company temporarily stopped building the 737 Max in January, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit most of the world’s airlines. She couldn’t afford to continue building Max without the ability to deliver planes and sell jets in full.
Boeing launched aircraft production in May, but airlines decided to cancel or delay the delivery of new jet vehicles during the Covid-19 crisis, forcing Boeing to greatly reduce its production plans for at least the next few years.

The aircraft cannot be returned to service until it has received final FAA approval.

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A letter from the FAA to Congress says the start of test flights does not mean the agency has “performed a compliance assessment or other job related to return to service.” In the letter, the agency outlined steps that will remain in the approval process after test flights, which include an assessment of minimum pilot training requirements among other processes.

– CNN’s Greg Wallace, Rebekah Riess and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.

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