Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft will be subjected to a new series of test flights this week, this time overseen by Canadian civil aviation regulators. Transport Canada is the first regulatory body to conduct a review of the narrow-body aircraft since the Federal Aviation Administration completed three days of certification flights in late June.
The 737 MAX is a twin-engine, narrow-body aircraft that Boeing introduced in 2017. After two crashes in October 2018 and March 2109 killed 346 passengers and crew members, it was concluded that the flight-control software (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS) prevented pilots from overriding a movement that accelerated the jets toward the ground — in an effort to prevent engine stalling on takeoff.
During the ongoing 17-month grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has revised the MCAS and addressed some additional electrical wiring issues. The test flights are intended to validate the effectiveness of the revisions. In addition to the Transport Canada tests this week at Boeing's operations Washington State, regulatory bodies in the European Union, Brazil, and other nations are expected to conduct their own test flights.
While hopeful of returning the 737 MAX to commercial service during 2020, Boeing is proceeding according to FAA's recent "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for an Airworthiness Directive (AD)", which requires four specific revisions to the 737 MAX flight-control software and guidance systems, and mandates other changes to crew training and flight manuals.
FAA established a Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB), including safety-regulation agencies from Canada, Europe, and Brazil, to evaluate minimum pilot training requirements, and issue a draft report of the consolidated findings for public comment.