Test flights for redesigned Boeing 737 MAX begin in Vancouver

From CBC News – link to story

Jet arrived at YVR on Tuesday for flights conducted by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency

CBC News · Posted: Sep 09, 2020

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 is pictured arriving at Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday to begin test flights. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A Boeing 737 MAX jet has returned to the skies over Vancouver this week as part of an effort to determine if it’s safe for the model to begincarrying passengers again after two fatal crashes.

A 737 MAX landed at Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday to be used in test flights conducted by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, agency spokesperson Jagello Fayl told CBC in an email.

“We have been working steadily, in close cooperation with the FAA [U.S. Federal Aviation Administration] and Boeing, to return the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service as soon as possible, but only once we are convinced it is safe,” Fayl wrote.

“While Boeing still has some final actions to close off, we judge the overall maturity of the redesign process to be sufficient to proceed to flight tests.”

Vancouver was chosen as the site for the test flights because of COVID-19 travel restrictions between Europe and the U.S.

The MAX was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes killed 346 people. 

An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed outside the capital Addis Ababa killing all 157 people onboard. Five months earlier, a MAX owned by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea after taking off from Jakarta, killing 189 people. 

In both crashes, investigators found faulty sensors activated the plane’s automated anti-stall system, known as MCAS, that repeatedly pushed the jetliner’s nose down. Pilots tried to fight the system, but eventually lost control.

Foreign regulators have been scrutinizing proposed software changes and training revisions for the aircraft, which may only return to service in 2021.

Transport Canada began performing test flights in August at Boeing’s facilities in Washington state as part of an “independent review” on whether to validate Boeing’s proposed changes.

The FAA, which is tasked with certifying the aircraft, began test flights earlier this summer.

With files from Reuters