Following 20 months of investigation and work the FAA approves the Boeing 737 MAX as airworthy
- FAA approves 737 MAX to fly
- Airworthiness approval follows a nearly two-year engineering and re-certification program
- Re-certification of the aircraft enables Boeing to begin handing over Max jetliners to customers
The airworthiness approval follows a nearly two-year engineering and re-certification program for the troubled commercial and business jet.
FAA investigations following two fatal crashes that led to grounding of the jet aircraft revealed design flaws, backed up by a host of internal Boeing documents showing some employees expressing safety concerns.
The whole event has applied scrutiny not just to Boeing but also the FAA negatively affecting public opinion of the two organisations.
Boeing’s CEO, David Calhoun, said in a statement: “We will never forget the lives lost in the two tragic accidents that led to the decision to suspend operations. These events and the lessons we have learned as a result have reshaped our company and further focused our attention on our core values of safety, quality and integrity.”
“I’m 100% confident,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, a former airline pilot told CNBC. “It’s the most scrutinized transport airplane in history and it’s ready to go.
The re certification of the aircraft enables Boeing to begin handing over Max jetliners to commercial customers, or which it is understood there are 450 immediately awaiting handover.
Boeing has faced a backlog of more than 3,000 other Boeing 737 Max planes, negatively affecting its share price along with the headwind that the corona-virus Covid-19 has caused a compound effect to its ability to operate as a company.
There has been news of some customers cancelling aircraft, along with existing or new customers in talks or in the wings to strike a deal with Boeing, believing the companies compound effect of troubles will result in significant discounts to be had on green aircraft; both built and awaiting delivery or build slots awaiting manufacture.
The news of re certification of the Max is naturally also good news to the Boeing MAX supply chain; including major suppliers Spirit AeroSystems, General Electric Co. and France’s Safran SA, Senior Plc., Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Honeywell International Inc., Meggitt and Hexcel Corp; along with other small and medium enterprise vendors that supplies Materials; Components; Airframe Systems; Avionics; Power Systems; Production and Testing equipment and services.
The aero parts maker gets nearly 80% of revenue from Boeing. It makes the MAX fuselage, pylons, thrust reverser, wing leading edges and engine nacelles.
The joint venture company of General Electric and Safran SA is the biggest supplier of engines to the MAX.
The CFM56-7B is an exclusive engine for the Boeing Next-Generation single-aisle airliner.
Boeing is biggest customer for the British engineer’s aerospace unit. It makes MAX parts including airframes and engine build-up tubes.
Raytheon Technologies Corp
The U.S. industrial conglomerate counts Boeing among its biggest customers. It makes landing systems, avionics and interior lighting for the MAX.
Honeywell International Inc
The U.S. manufacturer counts Boeing among its biggest customers supplying parts including auxiliary power units, weather radars and cockpit advisory systems for taxi, takeoff and landing (TTL) operations.
Boeing is Hexcel’s second-biggest customer, accounting for 25% of its annual sales. It makes composite materials used on the MAX airframe and engines.
The UK-based aircraft parts maker counts Boeing among its largest customers. It makes parts including fire protection system for the MAX engine and auxiliary power unit.
Boeing and FAA investigations into the crashes and the Max’s development focused on a fix to the automated flight-control system that was meant to prevent the aircraft from stalling. Pilots on both flights that crashed — Lion Air Flight 610 on Oct. 29, 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019 — struggled to gain control of the aircraft against the automated safety system after it was activated because of faulty sensor data.
According to multiple report, Pilots weren’t informed about the system, mentions of it had been removed from manuals when they were delivered to customers.
A House investigation in September found regulatory, design and management problems.
Boeing has since made the system less aggressive and added more redundancies, among other changes over the past two years.
FAA Statement on Boeing 737 Max Return to Service
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson signed an order (PDF) that paves the way for the Boeing 737 MAX to return to commercial service. Administrator Dickson’s action followed a comprehensive and methodical safety review process (PDF) that took 20 months to complete. During that time, FAA employees worked diligently to identify and address the safety issues that played a role in the tragic loss of 346 lives aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Throughout our transparent process, we cooperated closely with our foreign counterparts on every aspect of the return to service. Additionally, Administrator Dickson personally took the recommended pilot training and piloted the Boeing 737 MAX, so he could experience the handling of the aircraft firsthand.
In addition to rescinding the order that grounded the aircraft, the FAA today published an Airworthiness Directive (PDF) specifying design changes that must be made before the aircraft returns to service, issued a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) (PDF), and published the MAX training requirements. (PDF) These actions do not allow the MAX to return immediately to the skies. The FAA must approve 737 MAX pilot training program revisions for each U.S. airline operating the MAX and will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness for all new 737 MAX aircraft manufactured since the FAA issued the grounding order. Furthermore, airlines that have parked their MAX aircraft must take required maintenance steps to prepare them to fly again.
The design and certification of this aircraft included an unprecedented level of collaborative and independent reviews by aviation authorities around the world. Those regulators have indicated that Boeing’s design changes, together with the changes to crew procedures and training enhancements, will give them the confidence to validate the aircraft as safe to fly in their respective countries and regions. Following the return to service, the FAA will continue to work closely with our foreign civil aviation partners to evaluate any potential additional enhancements for the aircraft. The agency also will conduct the same rigorous, continued operational safety oversight of the MAX that we provide for the entire U.S. commercial fleet.
Aircraft-Completions.com has no information as of writing as to numbers and dates if green BBJ Max variants scheduled for delivery – we will provide an update as soon as this information becomes available to us.
Boeing shares ended the day down 3.2% at $203.30.
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