First Boeing 737 Max certification flight test set for Monday: report

The first Boeing 737 Max certification flight with the pilots and test crew members including Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) staff are set to begin Monday, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing unidentified sources.

Three days of tests are reportedly scheduled for the popular jet, which was grounded in March 2019 after fatal crashes killed 346 people. 

The crew will board a 737 MAX 7 outfitted with test equipment at Boeing Field near Seattle after a preflight briefing over several hours, a source told Reuters. 

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The source told Reuters that pilots will intentionally trigger the reprogrammed stall-prevention software known as MCAS that was faulted in both crashes.

Asked about the report, a spokesperson for Boeing deferred to the FAA and global regulators. 

“We continue to work diligently on safely returning the 737 MAX to commercial service,” the spokesperson said. 

The FAA said it has cleared the way for the certification flights to occur, which they said occur as early as Monday. The agency deferred to Boeing for details. 

FAA officials in Washington and the Seattle area will analyze reams of digital and paperwork flight test data after the flights, Reuters noted. 

Two sources told Reuters that FAA Administrator Steve Dickson will board the same plane to make his assessments, likely weeks later. Dickson has said the 737 Max will not be approved until he has personally signed off on it, according to the news service. 

The FAA would then need to approve new pilot training procedures, among other reviews, sources said, telling Reuters that the FAA would not likely approve the plane for flights until September.

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