737 MAX aircraft at Grant County International Airport

Reuters/Lindsay Wasson

 CHICAGO, Ill. - Boeing’s grounded 737 Max planes at Grant County International Airport have been repositioned to make room for the growing fleet of dormant aircraft. Over 150 planes now sit on the tarmac. However, there may be a ‘break in the clouds’ according to the aerospace company.  

On Monday, Boeing published a “737 Max Progress Report” updating the latest developing details surrounding the beleaguered bird.

Boeing says it continues to update its MAX flight control software and expects FAA certification sometime before the first of the year. Based on the schedule, Boeing expects the resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers to happen in December. However, Boeing says the FAA needs to issue an Airworthiness Directive rescinding the grounding order.

Parallel to that, Boeing says it is working towards final validation of the updated training requirements which needs to happen before the MAX returns to commercial service and is now expected to begin in January.

Boeing listed five key milestones that must be completed with the FAA before the MAX returns to service.

-        FAA eCab Simulator Certification Session: A multi-day eCab simulator evaluation with the FAA to ensure the overall software system performs its intended function, both normally and in the presence of system failures. COMPLETED

-        FAA Line Pilots Crew Workload Evaluation: A separate, multi-day simulator session with airline pilots to assess human factors and crew workload under various test conditions.

-        FAA Certification Flight Test: FAA pilots will conduct a certification flight(s) of the final updated software.

-        Boeing Final Submittal to the FAA: After completion of the FAA certification flight, Boeing will submit the final certification deliverables and artifacts to the FAA to support software certification.

-        Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB) Simulator Training Evaluation: The Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB), a multi-regulatory body, conducts a multi-day simulator session with global regulatory pilots to validate training requirements. Following the simulator session, the Flight Standardization Board will release a report for a public comment period, followed by final approval of the training.

Boeing says it and the FAA achieved the first milestone last week and are now working towards the FAA line pilots evaluation and the FAA certification flight test.

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