Evaluators Wrap Up Work as FAA Head Preps to Fly Max

 - September 25, 2020, 4:36 PM
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson plans to fly Boeing's 737 Max 7 test article on September 30 as the agency moves closer to certifying the return of the Max to service. (Photo: Boeing)

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday notified key oversight committees in Congress that the U.S. agency, Transport Canada, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC) have concluded the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) assessing Boeing’s proposed differences training and return to service training for the 737 Max.

The communique added that FAA Administrator Steve Dickson plans to fly the Max on September 30 after he and FAA deputy administrator Dan Elwell travel to Seattle earlier in the week to take the recommended training the JOEB evaluated.

Finally, the FAA has begun reviewing comments it has received on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking containing the draft Airworthiness Directive to return the airplane to service. The NPRM would require updating flight control software with new control laws to prevent erroneous MCAS activation; incorporating new and revised flight crew procedures in the airplane flight manual to ensure the flight crew can recognize and respond to erroneous stabilizer movement; installing new Max display system software to alert the pilots if the aircraft’s AoA sensors disagree by a certain amount and indicate a potential failure; and changing the horizontal stabilizer trim wire routing installations to bring them into compliance with the agency’s latest standards.

It also would require operators to complete an AoA sensor system test and perform an operational readiness flight before returning each airplane to service. The NPRM further directs operators to incorporate more restrictive provisions in the FAA-approved minimum equipment list surrounding the dispatch of the aircraft with certain inoperative equipment.

“The FAA will not approve the plane for the return to passenger service until it is satisfied that all of the known issues have been adequately addressed,” said the FAA notice to lawmakers.

The FAA's release of the notice to Congress came hours after Reuters reported that EASA director Patrick Ky said the Max could gain certification to begin flying in November and enter airline service by the end of the year.