The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that the first certification flight of Boeing 737 MAX with the updated MCAS software could take place in a few weeks.
Steve Dickson, the FAA’s administrator, said the first 737 MAX recertification flight was a matter of weeks. “We’re working through the last few software review and documentation issues and then I think within a matter of a few weeks we should be seeing a certification flight,” Dickson revealed in an aviation conference in Washington. The flight campaign is unlikely to start before April, according to Reuters.
The main purpose of the recertification is to test the update of the MCAS system, which is widely seen as the primary cause of the two crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights that killed 346 people and led to the global grounding of the 737 MAX since March 2019.
But for Boeing’s newly appointed CEO, David Calhoun, the MCAS was not the only thing at fault. In an interview with the New York Times, Calhoun suggested that pilots from Indonesia and Ethiopia, “where pilots don’t have anywhere near the experience that they have here in the United States,” had their share of responsibility.
While this line of defense was the one Dennis Muilenburg had used for the days after the Ethiopian Airlines crash, Calhoun also criticized his predecessor, whose office he took on January 13, 2020. The new CEO claimed he inherited a situation far worse than he had imagined: strained relations with the airlines, broken ties with the authorities. Calhoun also feels the pressure of President Donald Trump, as the U.S. economy was impacted by Boeing’s poor performance at the end of his term.
It is worth noting that Calhoun has been a member of the board of directors since 2009, a management team that some employees have designated as the reason for the cost-cutting philosophy of Boeing. Calhoun was promoted to chairman of the board in October 2019.