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FAA test of the 737 Max

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by TheMayor, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. TheMayor

    TheMayor Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Its just a matter of time now...

    Boeing 737 Max Takes Off for Crucial FAA Test of Comeback Effort

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-29/boeing-737-max-takes-off-for-crucial-faa-test-of-comeback-effort

    A Boeing Co. 737 Max lifted off from a Seattle airfield with a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration pilot on board, the first of several flights to test whether the revamped jetliner is safe following two deadly crashes.

    The Max 7 took off from Boeing Field at about 9:55 a.m. local time Monday and is scheduled to return about three hours later, according to its flight plan. Using call sign BOE701, the plane is flying maneuvers over central Washington state.

    The so-called certification flight is a milestone toward ending a grounding imposed worldwide in March 2019 after the accidents killed 346 people. The FAA plans to put the jet, bristling with monitoring equipment, through a comprehensive examination, said a person familiar with the matter, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the details.

    Among the flying planned is the infamous “wind-up turn,” a steep turn that essentially approaches a stall, with wings approaching 90 degrees of bank. Doing so should trigger the Boeing software system that played a role in both crashes, repeatedly pointing the aircraft’s nose downward until pilots lost control.

    “The certification flights are expected to take approximately three days,” the FAA said in a statement. “While the certification flights are an important milestone, a number of key tasks remain. The FAA is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work.”

    Boeing jumped 9.8% to $186.72 shortly after takeoff, the most on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after climbing as much as 10% on news that the fight FAA flight was slated for Monday.
     
  2. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Veteran
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    About damn time! Hopefully the FAA will actually move forward without being scared of their own shadow.
     
  3. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I presume that Boeing is already preparing teams to go to all the places worldwide where aircraft are parked to install and test the revised software and provide whatever instruction is needed to the affected airlines. That will be a big effort in its own right. (They may even need to bring along decals to cover the word MAX on the aircraft with whatever new name Boeing comes up with.)

    In a way, it's a bit reminiscent of what Lockheed needed to do to modify the L-188 Electras to eliminate the possibility of whirl-mode flutter. In a way, that was a bigger job because it involved significant modifications to aircraft structure, which is not the case here, but the number of aircraft was far fewer. They also had to rename the aircraft but left that up to the airlines; most chose "Electra II" or "Super Electra".
     
  4. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Veteran
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    Another track on the re-entry into service is getting flight crews through the new training requirements. Last I remember hearing there were unresolved discussion on sim vs computer based training and how long it would be before someone had to follow up with sim time. Sim availability is one of the bottlenecks.
     
  5. Jeff Kennedy

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    More from AWST

    FAA Authorizes Boeing 737 MAX Certification Test Flights
    Bill Carey Guy Norris June 29, 2020
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    Credit: Boeing
    WASHINGTON—The FAA has authorized Boeing to begin certification flight testing of the grounded 737 MAX with an updated flight-control system.

    In an email notification to congressional oversight committee staff on June 28, the agency said its Type Inspection Authorization board has completed a review of a system safety assessment Boeing submitted, clearing the way for what it expects will be several days of flight tests.

    The FAA expected that flights with agency test pilots aboard would begin as soon as the following day. A developmental 737 MAX 7 departed Boeing Field in Seattle for Boeing’s flight test center at Moses Lake Grant County International Airport, Washington, at 9:54 a.m. local time on June 29.

    In the email sent to congressional staffers, the agency emphasized that the certification flight tests are not a prelude to an imminent return to service of the 737 MAX, which has been grounded since March 2019 after two crashes in less than five months.

    “It is important to note, getting to this step does not mean the FAA has completed its compliance evaluation or other work associated with return to service,” the agency stated. “The FAA has not made a decision on return to service. We have a number of steps remaining after the conclusion of the certification flights.”

    Boeing has developed an update to the flight-control software of the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) implicated in the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019, both 737 MAX 8s.

    Among other fixes, the automated system now compares information from two angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors instead of one and prevents MCAS from activating if the sensors disagree by 5.5 degrees or more with the 737’s flaps retracted. The system cannot command more stabilizer input than can be counteracted by the flight crew pulling back on the control column.

    European and Canadian regulators are demanding additional design changes but will not prevent the 737 MAX from returning to service before the fixes are implemented, the Seattle Times first reported.

    EASA recommends that MCAS use a third physical AOA sensor, or an additional “synthetic” sensor that draws information from a variety of other sensors, similar to a system that Airbus uses, the Times said.

    Transport Canada confirmed that it is considering several possible changes to the 737 MAX flight manual, one of which would be a procedure to disable an erroneously activated stick shaker stall-warning system by pulling an overhead circuit breaker.

    “Transport Canada will consider Boeing’s circuit breaker proposal as part of a suite of changes that could be implemented,” the agency said. “It would be premature for Transport Canada to determine the final design configuration, flight crew procedures and training requirements before all the criteria and concerns have been addressed.”

    The Canadian regulator added that it will not lift flight restrictions on the 737 MAX 8 “until the department is fully satisfied that all safety concerns have been addressed by the manufacturer and the FAA and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place.”

    The FAA listed several remaining steps after the certification test flights that will determine when the 737 MAX returns to service.

    These steps include the issuance of a draft report on minimum pilot training requirements by the agency’s Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board, which includes representatives from Europe, Canada and Brazil. The FAA will publish a final FSB report after reviewing public comments.

    The FAA will examine Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with regulations. A multi-agency Technical Advisory Board will also review Boeing’s submission and issue a final report before the FAA makes a final determination of compliance.

    Notice of pending significant safety actions will be made via a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community. The FAA will also publish an airworthiness directive (AD) advising operators of required corrective actions that must be accomplished before the 737 MAX resumes commercial service.

    The FAA will eventually rescind its grounding order, which marks “the official ungrounding” of the 737 MAX, pending the completion by operators of the work specified in the AD and any required training. The agency said it will perform “in-person, individual reviews” of 737 MAX jets manufactured since the grounding and also review and approve airline training programs.
     
  6. TheMayor

    TheMayor Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    People lost confidence in the DC 10. I think they never changed the name. But people lost confidence in them and the airlines stopped flying them. They still use them as frieghters I believe.

    IMO, it might be the 737 Max plus so people understand its been upgraded. Boeing and the airlines will have to go through some kind of marketing. Even after 2 years I think people will be worried

    But Southwest will be a big supporter and that will help.
     
  7. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    I think the average person has a terrible memory and/or doesn't care to look into what they are getting on. All they care about is spending as little money as possible and not missing any connections or having delays.
     
  8. MarkPDX

    MarkPDX F1 World Champ
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    From what I understand talking with people at Southwest they had been working to scoop up 737 Max at bargain prices but then the Corona hit and sorta threw a monkey wrench into the whole business. I’m curious what their stance might be now.
     
  9. TheMayor

    TheMayor Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    I cannot see the day Southwest buys another plane than a variation of the 737. They cut costs from having a single airplane platform. The Max was in part designed for them in mind but and airplane that works for Southwest also works for many others.
     
  10. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Veteran
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    Absolutely correct. SWA believes in fleet commonality and sees that as a critical part of their financial success.

    At least in the past they also replaced their aircraft quicker than most everyone. They accumulated more cycles than average so wanted to sell early to preserve the values. This does keep the fleet newer and gives a side benefit of limiting maintenance costs due to age.
     
  11. MarkPDX

    MarkPDX F1 World Champ
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    I wasn’t thinking that they would ditch the 737, more just wondering if their previous willingness to soak up excess Max production capacity might be pulled back a bit. I’m assuming Boeing still makes other variants?
     
  12. Jeff Kennedy

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    FAA and Boeing Complete 737 Max Certification Flights
    by Gregory Polek
    - July 2, 2020, 7:52 AM

    Creative Commons (BY-SA) by Creative Commons (BY-SA) by Anna Zvereva)
    The FAA and Boeing flew the last of a series of certification flights with the 737 Max Wednesday, marking the completion of three days of tests to aid the evaluation of software changes to the airplane’s flight control system. While the completion of test flights marks a key milestone in the recertification process, a number of vital tasks remain, said the FAA, including evaluating the data the team of agency and Boeing engineers gathered.

    “The agency is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work,” said the FAA in a written statement. “We will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.”

    Next, the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB)—which includes international partners from Canada, Europe, and Brazil—will evaluate minimum pilot training requirements. The FSB will issue a draft report for public comment addressing the findings of the FSB and JOEB before the FAA publishes a final FSB report.

    Other tasks include an FAA review of Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with all agency regulations. The multi-agency Technical Advisory Board (TAB) will also review the final Boeing submission and issue a final report before the FAA determines compliance. The FAA then must issue a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) of pending safety actions and publish an airworthiness directive (AD) that addresses the known problems that led to the grounding. The AD will advise operators of needed corrective actions before aircraft may re-enter commercial service.

    Once it rescinds its grounding order, the FAA will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates for all new 737 Max airplanes manufactured since the grounding and perform in-person, individual reviews of each aircraft. Finally, the FAA will review and approve training programs for all part 121 operators.
     
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  13. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Veteran
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    What other variants are you thinking of? The NGs or all the MAX models - 7, 8, 9, 10?
     
  14. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I believe once the MAX went into production, it superseded all previous models on the assembly line. Maybe they could just use their new terminology on the updated MAX models and just call them the 737-8, 737-9 and so forth.
     
  15. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Veteran
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    Such BS. The only reason to go the NPRM route with a public comment period is public politics. Another delay to just taking care of business and makes it so the FAA has to respond to petitioner comments from those that know nothing relevant.

    FAA Ready To Issue NPRM on 737 Max
    by Gregory Polek
    - July 21, 2020, 2:33 PM


    The Federal Aviation Administration plans to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for an airworthiness directive (AD) affecting the 737 Max “in the near future,” the agency said in a statement issued Tuesday. The NPRM will provide 45 days for public comment on proposed design changes and crew procedures devised to satisfy safety concerns identified during the investigations following the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents, noted the FAA.

    Meanwhile, final planning has begun for the FAA’s Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) review of proposed training for flight crews, based on the design change and crew procedures. An updated Flight Standardization Board report will include the results of the evaluation and also allow for public comment. The JOEB will include regulators from Canada, Europe, and Brazil and will evaluate minimum pilot training requirements. The FSB will issue a draft report for public comment addressing the findings of the JOEB, said the FAA.

    Other steps include an FAA review of Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with all the agency’s regulations. The multi-agency Technical Advisory Board will also review Boeing's submission and issue a final report before a determination of compliance by the FAA.

    Plans then call for the FAA to issue a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) providing notice of pending "significant" safety actions and will publish a final AD that addresses the known issues for grounding. The AD will advise operators of required corrective actions before aircraft may re-enter commercial service. Only then will the FAA rescind its grounding order.

    Separately, the FAA said it will retain its authority to issue airworthiness and export certificates for all new 737 Max jets manufactured since the grounding and perform in-person, individual reviews of each aircraft.

    “The FAA will not speculate when the work will be completed,” it stressed in the statement. “The agency continues to follow a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work. We will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.”
     
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  16. tritone

    tritone F1 Rookie
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    Too bad there's not a 'thumbs down' availability.......
     
  17. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Veteran
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    The 737 is a fine aircraft.

    Don't forget that the first accident with Air Asia had a faulty part for the previous day's flight that was not fixed. Air Asia has a horrible reputation for how much they really skimp on their pilot training.

    The second accident starts with flying through a flock of birds that too out the AOA. The crew then lost all awareness of their airspeed which led to the difficulty in resetting the trim.
     
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  18. ixlr8

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    Based on this, the 737 should be in the air again sometime in late 2024 the way our gov't works.
     
  19. F1tommy

    F1tommy F1 Veteran
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    Well at the rate things are going it won't be needed until 2024. What a mess the airline industry is in.
     
  20. tritone

    tritone F1 Rookie
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    Reference was to FAA, not 737......:D
     
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  21. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Veteran
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    My apologies for misunderstanding your comment. I agree whole heartedly on the FAA - a version I have used for years to describe their bureaucratic mindset "they will circle the wagon to protect the guilty". I have known a few that were OK and others that were head shakingly incompetent.
     
  22. Jeff Kennedy

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    U.S. Operators Shuffling, But Not Canceling, MAX Deliveries
    Sean Broderick July 28, 2020
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    Southwest Airlines plans to adjust its MAX delivery schedule and shift more aircraft into the middle of the decade, but has no plans to cancel any of the 264 it has on order.
    Credit: Southwest Airlines
    U.S. operators that have made the Boeing 737 MAX a major part of future fleet plans are reshuffling delivery schedules to match lower demand and the model’s prolonged grounding, but a lack of cancellations underscores their unwavering confidence in the troubled narrowbody.

    “We remain committed to the MAX,” says Michael Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines chief operating officer. “We look forward to its return to service. It is our most cost-effective airplane, and having it back into service will give us more certainty in terms of fleet planning.”

    • Boeing’s 737 MAX backlog stood at 4,172 on June 30
    • Nearly 1,000 could be at risk, including 600 flagged by Boeing itself
    • U.S. airlines account for 13% of total MAX commitments
    U.S. major carriers Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines collectively have firm commitments for 567 MAXs, or 13% of the total delivered and in the backlog.

    Southwest operated the most MAXs, 34, of any operator when the fleet was grounded in March 2019 following two fatal accidents in five months. Work required by regulators to address flight-control system and training issues is ongoing, and the timing of the model’s return remains fluid. Southwest is optimistic that it could operate revenue flights on MAXs in late 2020, but is not overly concerned if that timing slides to 2021.

    “We’re hopeful to begin revenue service in late December. But given the history of delays, it certainly could slide into the first quarter [of 2021],” Van de Ven says. “It will take at least a couple of months from the date the FAA formally ungrounds the aircraft for it to fly in revenue service.”

    Southwest says it expects to need 9-10 weeks to train its pilots—work that can begin as soon as new training is finalized, which may be before the aircraft is cleared to fly by the FAA.

    Southwest has 264 MAXs on order, according to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network Fleet Discovery database. The airline currently plans to take them: The question is when.

    The airline has about 60 previous-generation 737s parked, in response to reduced demand driven by the novel coronavirus pandemic, giving it flexibility to push out MAX deliveries as needed. It returned five 737-700s to lessors in the second quarter, giving it 737 aircraft in its all-Boeing 737 fleet, including the stored MAXs.

    “We will take no more than 48 [MAX] aircraft through the end of 2021,” says Tammy Romo, Southwest’s chief financial officer (CFO). “We don’t have the specifics finalized with Boeing yet, and that is by design, as the agreement gives us time and flexibility to continue monitoring demand and fleet needs for the next 18 months. At some point, we’ll need to adjust 2020 and 2021 deliveries down and shift delivery slots by year. But we have not canceled any of our orders or options with Boeing over the life of the agreement.”

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    American Airlines will take delivery of 40 of its 100 MAXs in 2025 or later. Credit: joepriesaviation.net
    American Airlines, which has 24 MAXs in storage and another 76 on order, is negotiating financing and delivery schedules with Boeing on its outstanding MAXs, including 17 scheduled to be delivered this year. American’s current delivery schedule has it taking 36 MAXs by 2023 and then the remaining 40 in 2025 and beyond.

    “Our plan would be to still take all 100 aircraft we have on order over time,” CFO Derek Kerr says. “When we take them is the discussion that we’re having.”

    United Airlines operated 14 MAX 9s when the fleet was grounded. In June, it reworked its MAX delivery schedule and terms. The carrier now plans to take 40 aircraft in the next two years—less than half of its planned total prior to the grounding—and none in 2022. It still has another 131 on order. But, United CFO Gerald Laderman said earlier this year, “I do not anticipate taking any of those aircraft unless and until we need them.”

    Alaska Airlines has 32 MAXs on order and is planning on taking delivery of three this year, all of which were originally scheduled to arrive in 2019. Boeing has produced three MAXs for Alaska. They are among the 450 that the manufacturer placed into storage after it halted deliveries following the model’s grounding. The airline is weighing whether to keep its mixed mainline fleet of 737s and the Airbus A320-family models it acquired as part of its Virgin America purchase. The MAX’s challenges do not seem to have dampened the longtime 737 operator’s enthusiasm for the newest Boeing narrowbody.

    “I think our team is satisfied with the safety of the MAX,” CEO Brad Tilden said on a recent Aviation Week webinar.

    While U.S. operators are standing by their MAX orderbooks, other customers have changed course, and the lingering demand headwinds created by the pandemic will likely lead to more changes.

    The MAX backlog stood at 4,172 as of June 30, Boeing’s official figures show. This does not include more than 600 orders that are considered questionable under the ASC 606 revenue-recognition standard Boeing adopted in 2018, even though they have firm contracts.

    Even after factoring these into future adjustments, Canaccord Genuity analysts see another 350 or so orders in jeopardy on top of the 600 lost since the start of 2019.

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    United Airlines expects to have 40 MAXs by 2022, less than half of the total originally planned. Credit: joepriesaviation.net
    “We believe the ASC 606 adjustments reflect much of the current MAX uncertainty . . . but we believe that [approximately] another 10% of the MAX backlog could be at risk due to soft demand and the financial health of airlines” into 2021, Canaccord analyst Ken Herbert wrote in a recent research note. “Much of the initial backlog pressure has come from leasing companies. We expect more pressure from airlines over the next 6-12 months.”

    Boeing has delivered 58 MAXs since Dec. 31, 2018, Aviation Week Fleet Discovery data show—all of them in 2019 before the aircraft was grounded. MAX production was halted in January 2020 so Boeing could conserve cash and manage the buildup of the stored, undelivered aircraft. It restarted several weeks ago, and Boeing has not publicly revealed its production-rate plans. Canaccord projects Boeing will produce 28 MAXs in the third quarter and 36 in the fourth quarter, suggesting a notional rate of about 11 per month through year-end.

    Deliveries, which cannot resume until the model is cleared by the FAA and other regulators, will start more slowly before surpassing production in early 2021 as Boeing focuses on clearing the stored inventory.

    Under Canaccord’s model, Boeing’s 737 program production—mostly MAXs but a group that includes a few business jets and military variants based on the 737 Next Generation—will reach 47 per month in mid-2023. Monthly delivery rates will peak at 62 per month during the first half of 2023.

    Boeing and the FAA are in the final stages of reviewing the MAX flight-control software and training updates and are seeking input from other regulators and industry. But the process is not expected to wrap up before the fourth quarter.

    “Even if MAX recertification is finally achieved this fall, Boeing faces an enormous challenge in ramping [up] production and delivery volumes anywhere back near the 52 per month previously reached in 2019,” Herbert wrote.
     
  23. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    ".....giving it 737 aircraft in its all-Boeing 737 fleet....."

    I have to believe that is a sheer coincidence!
     
  24. albkid

    albkid Formula Junior

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    Notwithstanding the fact that the airlines have been hit hard by the pandemic, we are at historic levels of liquidity. It would not surprise me that the guesstimates of how much equipment the airlines will need in the coming years is revised upward. This opinion comes from an individual with no particular knowledge nor insight into the business, so I may be utterly wrong.
     
  25. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I think that once vaccines are readily available and most of the populace has received one, the pent-up demand for travel will explode and there will be higher demand than we've seen in years!
     
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