Boeing readies for 737 MAX certification
Boeing is "preparing for the final certification flight" of its 737 MAX after completing a software update, the US aerospace company said on Friday.
The jets have been grounded worldwide for over two months following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people passengers and crew.
Boeing said in a statement on Friday that it has conducted simulator testing and engineering test flights on the suspended jet.
"With safety as our clear priority, we have completed all of the engineering test flights for the software update and are preparing for the final certification flight,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing chairman, president and chief executive officer.
In both accidents, attention focused on the 737 MAX's new maneuvering characteristics augmentation system software, which automatically lowers the aircraft’s nose when a sensor indicates that a stall may be imminent. Boeing has flown the 737 MAX with the updated MCAS for more than 360 hours on 207 flights, the company said.
The aircraft maker said it is providing additional information to address Federal Aviation Administration concerns and will work with the administration to schedule a certification test flight and submit final certification documentation.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China ordered the grounding of all 737 MAX planes in March after the Ethiopian Airlines crash appeared to have similarities to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October.
China has the largest number of 737 MAX aircraft in the world. Thirteen carriers operate 96 such aircraft. Worldwide, by the end of January, Boeing had delivered 350 of the 737 MAX, with about 4,660 more on order.
The CAAC has reiterated that the aircraft’s airworthiness has to be re-certified, with refits and pilot training completed.
Xu Chaoqun, head airworthiness certification at the CAAC said, “All the safety problems found during the investigations into the accidents must also be solved to ensure absolute safety."
Boeing said it has "enhanced training and education materials" that are now being reviewed by FAA, global regulators and customers.