After a 15-month ban on flying the 737 Max medium-haul jet, Boeing is now allowed to start test flights for recertification. An aircraft of the aircraft type already took off from Seattle, as the US air traffic control agency FAA announced. Further test flights are planned in the coming days.
Since March 2019, the 737 Max has not been allowed to be used worldwide. Two machines had previously crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, and 346 people died. According to the investigation, the two crashes may have been caused by problems in the MCAS stabilization system. In the event of an impending stall, this pushes the front of the aircraft down.
The software has now been revised by Boeing. In the test flights, which are to be carried out over a total of three days, the FAA wants to determine the functionality of the revisions. Some maneuvers and emergency procedures should be tried out "to check whether the changes meet the certification standards of the FAA". Pilots and engineers from FAA and Boeing are said to be on board.
The FAA is accused of being inaccurate in the initial certification of the aircraft type. Acting FAA director Steve Dickson said there are no deadlines for the current process, he also wants to personally inspect the machines.
The flight ban had brought Boeing into an economic crisis, which was now exacerbated by the corona virus pandemic. The aircraft manufacturer's share price had already risen through the announcement of the test flights. If the tests were successful, the 737 Max could be re-registered at the end of the year.