While the global Boeing 737 MAX fleet remains grounded, an aircraft of the type still had to make an emergency landing on March 26, 2019. While the news surely does not help Boeing safety reputation, this incident had actually nothing to do with notorious MCAS system.
A Southwest Boeing 737 MAX on a ferry flight to California experienced an engine problem, which forced it to land in Florida. The aircraft was operating flight 8701 from Orlando International Airport to Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville and had thus no passenger on board. Southwest is progressively storing all its Boeing 737 MAX at its Victorville site.
However, shortly after takeoff, pilots noticed a performance issue in one of the engines. “The crew followed protocol and safely landed back at the airport,” said Southwest in an email to AeroTime. The plane should now be reviewed at Southwest’s Orlando maintenance facility.
The problem encountered had nothing to do with the MCAS system, suspected to be the main cause of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines tragic crashes, respectively on October 29, 2018, and March 10, 2019.
Boeing should be receiving more than 200 airline pilots, managers and aviation regulators to attend an information session on March 27, 2019. The manufacturer is expected to present the software update in detail, as well as unveil its plan of 737 MAX return to service.
Meanwhile, the United States Senate is preparing to hold a hearing to “examine the state of airline safety, focusing on Federal oversight of commercial aviation” at 15:00 EDT. On March 27, the subcommittee on Aviation and Space will hear from “government witnesses” who include representatives from both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).Representatives from Boeing are expected to be appear in front of the subcommittee at a later date “in the near future”.