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B737 MAX Certification Flights Could Start Today

Multiple Media Reports Suggest That The FAA Will Be Flying the 737 MAX Throughout The Week

News/Analysis by Jim Campbell, ANN CEO/Editor-In-Chief

After well over a year of controversy over the once-certified Boeing 737 MAX, the recertification effort may finally be heading to a conclusion that could get the current airplanes and hundreds more in the pipeline into the air.

It's been a convoluted, political process that has often had less to do with aerodynamics than the glaring headlines that turned the issue into one of the most costly in aviation history.

To many pilots from the US with experience in the airplane, the issue was more about inadequate foreign crew training and documentation than actual problems with the airplane... and to those looking to make the two fatal foreign crashes into as much a scandal as possible, Boeing could do no right... especially to those looking to prop up Airbus as their A380 program was also hitting the skids.

If the reports are accurate, after the obligatory briefings, the FAA Test Pilots and Boeing crews will start flying a 737 MAX 7 Monday or Tuesday, through a series of conventional flight tests that will start with all the basics and eventually drill down on the MCAS issues that were the target of the political fallout. 

While Boeing has undoubtedly run through every conceivable test known to Man prior to inviting the FAA aboard, few expect the FAA to walk away from this test series and give it a clean bill of health without finding a few things to complain about and require some fixing, even though they may not (and should not, at this stage of the game) be serious issues.

The recertification has become so politicized that the FAA is going to have to be seen as being hyper-critical to be able to convince the politicians and the media that all is well. And... thereafter; there is still the overtly theatrical flight test with the FAA Administrator to undertake as well as numerous additional foreign recertification games since so many foreign governments (some with skin in the Airbus game) have used this issue to attack the FAA's own certification methodologies and protocols.

Regardless of the above, insiders believe that Boeing could finally be on the path to a return to flight status before the end of 2020... potentially ending one of the costliest commercial aviation scenarios in recent times.

More info to come...

FMI: www.boeing.com, www.faa.gov



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