FAA Chief Steve Dickson will conduct a Boeing 737 MAX pilot test next week. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for its part hints at a rapid return of the MAX to European skies.
Steve Dickson, who was previously a commercial airline pilot, plans to undergo pre-flight simulator training and will then share his observations with FAA technical staff. It will be a key milestone as the US aircraft manufacturer strives to gain approval from the highest aviation authority to resume flights. The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. In particular, it is not usual for an FAA administrator to fly an aircraft before it is returned to service. Steve Dickson has said on several occasions that he will not sign his return to the air until he has piloted it himself and that he is « convinced » that he will place his « own family there without thinking. The flight is a priori scheduled for September 30.
Earlier today, EASA reported that the MAX may return to service before the end of this year. It could receive regulatory approval to resume flights in November and enter service by the end of the year, Europe’s main aviation safety regulator said Friday (September 25th). « For the first time in a year and a half, I can say that the end of work on the MAX is in sight, » said Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
EASA plans to lift its technical ban « shortly » after the FAA in the United States, possibly in November, but the national operational clearances necessary for individual airlines to resume flights in Europe could take longer, he declared.