The FAA and Boeing have completed the certification flight tests for the grounded Boeing 737 MAX. According to the FAA, the tests were aimed at evaluating “Boeing’s proposed changes in connection with the automated flight control system on the aircraft.” The test flights occurred over three days with the first series performed on Monday.
“While completion of the flights is an important milestone, a number of key tasks remain, including evaluating the data gathered during these flights,” the FAA said in a statement. “The agency is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work. We will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.”
Remaining recertification tasks include an evaluation of minimum pilot training requirements by the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) and the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board (FSB)—which will be issued as a draft report and open for public comment—followed by a final FSB report after public comments have been reviewed and addressed. In addition, the FAA and the multi-agency Technical Advisory Board (TAB) still need to review Boeing’s final design documentation and determine compliance with all FAA regulations. Following those steps, the FAA will issue a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC), publish an Airworthiness Directive (AD) and rescind the grounding order. The FAA reiterated that it will retain authority to issue airworthiness and export certificates for all 737 MAX aircraft manufactured since the model was grounded in March 2019, along with performing “in-person, individual reviews” of those aircraft.