The Boeing 737 MAX is a step closer to his return in the air. The device was made on Monday 29 June, the first of a series of certification flights, a crucial step for the survival of the aircraft that featured in the giant aerospace american nailed to the ground since march, 2019 after the two accidents which claimed the lives of 346 people. In parallel, on Monday, the airline Norwegian Air Shuttle announced it was canceling an order of 92 copies of the 737 MAX, as well as five Dreamliners.
The plane, which took off at 9: 55 pm (1655 GMT) from Boeing Field, near Seattle, the birthplace of the constructor, landed safely at 14 h 16 (18: 16 GMT), found a photographer of the Agency France-Presse. The MAX has flown for several hours in the area, performing in addition to a landing and a takeoff on the airport of Moses Lake Ground County, to the east of the major city of the State of Washington, according to the application for tracking flights Flightradar24.
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"A wide range of flight maneuvers"
The purpose of this flight, and those that will follow, for a campaign that is expected to last three days, is to"assess the changes made to the automated control systems of the 737 MAX", had explained earlier the federal authority to control aviation (FAA)in charge of certification and flights, in a news release. The tests "will include a wide range of flight maneuvers and safety procedures to allow the agency to determine if the changes meet the certification standards of the FAA," adds the FAA.
The 737 MAX is nailed to the ground since march 13, 2019 after the accident, a copy of the company Ethiopian Airlines has made 157 dead. This tragedy occurred only a few months after the disaster from a MAX of Lion Air, which killed 189 people. The troubling similarities between the two fatal crashes shortly after take-off, with an inability of the pilot to retake control of the plane, had led the authorities of aviation safety around the world to ban flying the whole fleet, for an indefinite period.
The flight test will not be enough
For months, Boeing just to put it back into service its medium-haul, which sales were prior to this crisis as his main source of income. The anti-stall MCAS has been involved in the two accidents. But other technical malfunctions, including one about electrical wiring, have subsequently been detected during the work of alteration of the device, slowing down the process of recertification. For weeks, the aircraft manufacturer was waiting for the green light from authorities to prove with the test flights, the MAX was perfectly safe. The market seemed to be optimistic. The action Boeing has jumped 14.4 %, taking with it all the odds, the manufacturer is a key player in the u.s. economy.
The civil aviation authorities may not approve the amended version of the plane only after you have scrutinized the behavior of the device in volume They will also explore the thousands of data collected. For this reason, flight testing will last for several days. But they will not suffice, warns the FAA, whose image has been tarnished after revelations of collusion between it and the manufacturer that it has certified the device. Several investigations are ongoing on this topic, including the Congress. "Although these certification flights are an important step, a number of critical tasks remain", the agency says, "who will take the time necessary to review in detail the work of Boeing".
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The Covid-19 has disrupted the timing of Boeing
back to the manufacturer, the company Norwegian Air Shuttle, in addition to cancel orders, was also said to have launched a judicial procedure to seek compensation related to the losses generated by the blocking of the Boeing 737 MAX. Boeing was hoping there are still a few months a return-to-service MAX in June. But the pandemic of Covid-19, which had led to travel restrictions and the confinement of workers, is coming to upset his calendar.
According to the Seattle Times, the authorities of aviation safety, european and canadian would have required "new and substantial changes in the system of control in flight". "So far, the regulators have agreed that Boeing would be required to make these design changes additional (...) only after the delivery into service of the MAX", writes the american newspaper. Interviewed by Agence France-Presse on this information, a spokesman of Boeing said that the group would answer "all the questions of the regulators and to all the requirements of certification and regulation".
For Boeing, it is urgent to be sent his plane to get out of an historical crisis. This aircraft represents more than two-thirds of its backlog. At the end of April, the group announced the removal of 10 % of its staff, and 16,000 jobs. S&P had downgraded in the wake of its financial strength rating from A - to BBB, the consigning it now to a notch of the category of the speculative.