Pilots and test crew members from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing Co are slated to begin a three-day certification test campaign for the 737 MAX from today (26th June).
In an email to Congress, the FAA said its Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) Board completed its review “clearing the way for flight certification testing to begin”.
The email noted that the “FAA has not made a decision on return to service” and has a number of additional steps. Boeing’s best-selling 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.
After a preflight briefing over several hours, the crew will board a 737 MAX 7 outfitted with test equipment at Boeing Field near Seattle, it is reported.
The crew will run methodically scripted mid-air scenarios such as steep-banking turns, progressing to more extreme manoeuvres on a route primarily over Washington state.
The FAA email said the testing will last several days and “will include a wide array of flight manoeuvres and emergency procedures to enable the agency to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards.”
It added the “FAA has not made a decision on return to service” and has many additional steps before it can clear the plane to do so.