MIAMI – The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is set to carry out flight tests on the Boeing 737 MAX from Vancouver, Canada, starting the week of September 7.
EASA also confirmed that it will perform simulator testing at London Gatwick Airport (LGW) on September 1. Additionally, The agency will take part in the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) to convene at LGW during the week of September 14.
The announcement comes a day after Transport Canada began its 737 MAX upgrade validation test flights between Boeing Field in Seattle and Grant County International Airport (MHW), six miles northwest of the central business district of Moses Lake in Washington.
Due to practical issues associated with COVID-19 travel restrictions, Transport Canada staff boarded the aircraft in Vancouver and carried out the testing in US airspace. EASA stated that travel restrictions also hindered its scheduling process.
Comments from EASA
“EASA has been working steadily, in close cooperation with the FAA and Boeing, to return the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service as soon as possible, but only once it is convinced it is safe,” the agency noted.
“While Boeing still has some final actions to close off, EASA judges the overall maturity of the re-design process is now sufficient to proceed to flight tests. These are a prerequisite for the European agency to approve the aircraft’s new design.”
At the start of August, the FAA determined final corrective action for the Boeing 737 MAX to once again take flight. These actions are necessary to address the aircraft’s unsafe condition.
What is being Evaluated on the MAX?
According to ainonline.com, both European and Canadian evaluations include validation of data obtained from June 29 to July 1 by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) using a Boeing 737 MAX 7.
The test flights focus primarily on the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) of the aircraft. The system contributed to the October 2018 and March 2019 737 MAX crashes.
Specifically, the MCAS generated repeated airplane nose-down horizontal stabilizer trim commands. These commands were found to be the root cause of both accidents.
Boeing’s shares traded up 5% on Thursday morning based on the aforementioned upgrade evaluations to get its troubled 737 MAX flying again.