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Boeing 737 MAX flight test certification begins



(Reuters) – Pilots and test crew members from the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing Co. is scheduled to begin a three-day certification test campaign for 737 MAX on Monday, people told the matter to Reuters. [19659002] The test is a crucial moment in Boeing's worst business crisis, which has long been aggravated by the new coronavirus pandemic that has cut out air travel and jet needs.

The basis for the fast-selling 737 MAX in March 2019 after two crashes of five months killed 346 people in Ethiopia and Indonesia called out summonses, congressional investigations and the Ministry of Justice and cut off a key source of Boe's cash.

The FAA confirmed to US lawmakers on Sunday that an agency board had completed a review of Boeing's assessment of the 737 MAX security system, "clearing the way to test flight certification. Flights with FAA test pilots could begin as early as tomorrow and evaluate Boese's proposed modifications to the 737 MAX automatic flight control system. "

After a multi-hour preflight briefing, the crew will board a 737 MAX 7 equipped with test equipment at Boeing Field near Seattle," one of the people said.

The crew will run methodically scripted aerial scenarios such as steep bank turns and continue to more extreme maneuvers on a route mainly across Washington State. The plan for at least three days may include touch landings at Eastern Washington Airport in Moses Lake, and a path across the Pacific Coast, adapting the aircraft and the timing of the weather and other factors, one of the people said.

Pilots will also intentionally trigger the reprogrammed stall prevention software, known as MCAS, faulty in both crashes, and aerodynamic stall conditions, the people said.

Boeing declined to comment.

The FAA email said testing will continue for several days and "will include a wide range of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to enable the Agency to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards."

It added "The FAA has not made a return decision to service" and has a number of additional steps before it can clear the plane to do so.

The gravity of the test campaign goes beyond previous Boeing test flights, which were completed within a few hours in a single day, industry sources said.

The tests are intended to ensure new protection Boeing added to MCAS is robust enough to prevent the scenario pilots before both crashes, when they could not counter MCAS and fought with "stick shaker" column vibrations and other warnings, one of the people said.

Boeing's preparations have included hundreds of hours in a 737 MAX flight simulator at its Longacres facility in Renton, Washington, and hundreds of hours in the air on the same 737 MAX 7 test aircraft without FAA officials on board.

At least one of these exercise flights included the same test parameters expected on Monday, said one of the people.

Following the flights, FAA officials in the Washington and Seattle area will analyze digital and paperwork. flight test data to evaluate jet airworthiness.

Probably weeks later, after the data has been analyzed and training records have been heated, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, a former F-1

5 pilot who has promised a 737 MAX, will not be approved until he personally writes it, aboard the same plane to make their assessments, said two of the people.

If all goes well, the FAA would then need to approve new pilot training procedures, including reviews, and probably would not approve the plane's departure until September, the people said.

That means the jet is about to resume US service before the end of the year, though the process has been plagued by delays for more than a year.

"Based on how many problems have been detected, I would be stunned if the flight tests are & # 39; and done & # 39 ;," said another person with knowledge of the aircraft. [19659002] Regulators in Europe and Canada, while working closely with the FAA, will also make their own assessments and have identified concerns that go beyond the FAA. They may require additional changes after the 737 MAX has been cleared to return to service.

"This is a new territory," said one industry source with knowledge of previous Boeing tests. "There is a lot more play between regulators and certainly a lot more pressure and public attention."


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