The US aviation authority FAA has given the go-ahead for the return of the 737 Max into the airspace 20 months after Boeing’s aircraft was banned from flying worldwide. However, it will probably take months for the first 737 Max to transport passengers again.
Now that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cleared the way for Boeing aircraft, aviation inspections in other countries will follow quickly, it is expected. Among other things, the FAA worked closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Four weeks ago, the head of State said that the 737 Max could get a new certificate of airworthiness if a public consultation exercise does not raise any serious objections.
In August, the FAA had already indicated that a number of changes proposed by Boeing dispel concerns about the safety of the aircraft. The American aircraft manufacturer has modified the MCAS security system that pushes the nose of the aircraft down when “stall” warning is issued. In this situation, the aircraft flies too steep, loses its lift and eventually becomes unmanageable.
After accidents in 2018 in Indonesia and in March 2019 in Ethiopia with a total of 346 deaths, it became clear that MCAS was wrong to act when errors occurred in sensors on the outside of the 737 Max. Later it appeared that pilots were never or were not fully informed about the existence and operation of the security system.
FAA director Stephen Dickson had said that he would not allow the 737 Max to fly again until he dared to let his family board. “The path that has brought us to this moment was long and debilitating, but we have said from the beginning that we would take the time to do the right thing,” Dickson said in a video message. “I am now 100% confident when my family flies this.’
Before then, his service will have to approve the new training procedures for pilots. EASA and Brazil have also had their say on this. Furthermore, hundreds of aircraft must be equipped with new software and planes that have been on the ground for almost two years must be ‘kissed’ back to life.
This re-entry into service must be done meticulously. This week, it turned out that an Airbus A321 of Wizz Air had to abort the start twice because the speedometers showed false values. Research showed that a sensor was hidden with three insect larvae. They had been able to nest in the probe in the nearly twelve weeks that the aircraft had been unused to the ground. During an inspection, the “blockage” was overlooked.
United Airlines, the largest airline companies of the united states, said on Wednesday that it expected to complete sometime in the first quarter, to be able to fly the 737 Max, after about a thousand hours of work on each and every device, ” and ” exhaustive technical research. United has 14 of this type of aircraft in service, 16 standing by at the Boeing plant. The company had 155 in order, but this year cancelled part of its order.
More airlines have done that. Boeing lost orders for over a thousand 737 Max aircraft this year. Other customers have either changed their order, for example for another type of aircraft, or suspended the delivery of aircraft because they cannot use them because of the corona crisis. In Europe, airlines do not fly half of the number of flights they operated last year around this time.