EASA to flight test Boeing 737 Max

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The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has started simulator testing of the re-designed Boeing 737-8 Max and is to conduct flight tests of the troubled aircraft next week.

The global fleet of 737 Max aircraft has been grounded since March 2019 after two 737 Max crashes during 2018 in Ethiopia and Indonesia, which killed 157 and 189 people respectively.

The simulator tests are taking place this week at London Gatwick Airport, UK, while the flight tests will take place in Vancouver, Canada during the week commencing September 7, 2020.

The FAA completed its flight tests of the updated Boeing 737 Max two months ago, while Transport Canada completed its validation flight tests last week.

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau said, “Transport Canada will not lift the flight restrictions on the Boeing 737 Max until the department is fully satisfied that all safety concerns have been addressed by the manufacturer and the FAA, and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place.”

The three regulators have been working in partnership to return the 737 Max to service. However, both European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Transport Canada have stressed the independence of their testing and that the aircraft will only return to service once they are convinced it is safe.

At the beginning of August, the FAA formally proposed a number of design changes for the 737 Max following its test flights. The changes include include modifications to the flight control software, a revision of crew procedures and the rerouting of internal wiring

EASA said, “While Boeing still has some final actions to close off, EASA judges the overall maturity of the re-design process is now sufficient to proceed to flight tests. These are a prerequisite for the European agency to approve the aircraft’s new design.”

The Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) will also take place in Gatwick during the week beginning September 14. The JOEB is a group of international aviation authorities and representatives of commercial pilots who are tasked to look at the training requirements for the updated 737 Max.

The JOEB will send information and data to the FAA based on which the final training recommendations will be made.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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