United States: first Boeing 737 MAX certification flight, grounded in 14 months
Boeing 737 MAXs parked in a parking lot at Boeing Field in this aerial photo above Seattle, Washington, June 11, 2020. REUTERS / Lindsey Wasson
Text by: RFI Follow
The Boeing 737 MAX took off this Monday June 29 from Boeing Field at 4:55 pm GMT for a first series of tests, announced the American Aviation Regulatory Authority (FAA). A crucial step for the survival of the American aircraft giant's flagship plane, nailed to the ground for 14 months. The 737 MAX was banned from flying after two accidents that killed hundreds of people.
Before its flight ban, sales of the 737 MAX were Boeing's main source of income, two-thirds of its order backlog. Today, the American aircraft manufacturer had to suspend its manufacture.
This shows the importance of this certification flight which must allow the manufacturer to prove to the American Aviation Agency, and indirectly to the whole world, that the new version of its flagship aircraft is reliable.
The 737 MAX has not flown since March 2019 and the successive crashes of two planes, Lion Air , then Ethiopian Airlines , which had killed 346 people.
Airlines around the world decided to suspend the use of their 737 MAX aircraft.
Following these accidents, anti-stall software was first questioned, then other malfunctions , for example in electrical wiring, appeared.
Boeing now intends to prove the effectiveness of the modifications made since to its aircraft. As for the American aviation agency, it too will have to prove the effectiveness of its controls, which had certified the first version of the 737 MAX, which then tragically proved to be faulty.
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