Next Regulator to Test 737 MAX Revealed

After the FAA’s string of flight tests last month, the next regulator to put the grounded jet through its paces has been revealed  

Following a series of flight tests by the US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June, it has been revealed that Canadian regulators will be next to conduct tests on the Boeing 737 MAX as it continues along its path to recertification. 

Boeing 737 MAX
The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019. Boeing

Transport Canada told Reuters that it intends to carry out flight assessment activities for the validation of the jet next week. The agency will be the first non-US regulator to conduct such actions. 

The inspection forms part of a global effort to return the aircraft to service following a worldwide grounding initiated in March last year, after the type was involved in two fatal crashes.

Air Canada 737 MAX
Air Canada currently has 24 of the type in its fleet with orders for 12 more. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The jet’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) – which is a piece of technology designed to mimic pitching behaviour similar to previous generations of 737 – was found in preliminary reports to be a contributing factor in both crashes.  

Across the pond, European regulators do not appear to currently have a schedule for similar flight tests.  

Speaking to the Seattle Times in June, Janet Northcote, head of communications at the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said that MCAS “absolutely needs to be fixed for the plane to be recertified as airworthy”. 

WestJet 737 MAX
Calgary-based WestJet holds a fleet of 13 Boeing 737 MAXs. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The Canadian tests will verify key areas of the FAA certification as well as assess the proposed design changes by Boeing to the aircraft. 

Other foreign aviation regulators have been scrutinising the suggested software and training modifications for the MAX, which it’s thought will now return to service during 2021.