The FAA administrator has signed the ungrounding order for the Boeing 737 MAX. That will allow it to return to the sky, once an airline’s training program has been approved, software has been updated in aircraft, and pilots are trained on new procedures.
Changes to the MAX mean that both of the plane’s Angle of Attack sensors have to match before engaging the MCAS system. We’ll wait for the final rule to know the extent of revisions to Boeing’s submitted training plane.
While Southwest Airlines says they expect to take 3-4 months to bring the 737 MAX to the skies once it is officially ungrounded, American Airlines is accelerating their process. Once the FAA issues their final rule,
- They’ll get check airmen trained
- start bringing pilots through for mandatory training (including simulator time).
American has access to three simulators, one of their own, one of Boeing’s and a third from maintenance and repair company CAE. It will take a couple of months to get all their pilots through training. They’ll introduce a small number of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft into their schedule and then gradually add more, basing the planes at Miami because that lets them “centralize the qualification requirement for pilots to certify on new training.” The MAX will replace “block 1” older 737-800s in service.
Among the 6 controversial things I believe about the 737 MAX is that even if you say you won’t fly the plane again you’re going to.
The bar for this plane to fly is higher than any other aircraft in the world, it has exceeded that bar. About 5000 of them have been ordered. American, United, Southwest and Air Canada all have MAX aircraft in their fleet. Once the plane flies again, and does so safely, it will become ubiquitous in aviation – and we’ll all wind up flying the aircraft.