On September 30, 2020, Boeing 737 MAX flight BOE701 landed successfully at Boeing Field (BFI), Washington, after being test-flown by Steve Dickson, the Chief of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The flight departed Boeing Field (BFI) at 8:51 a.m (GMT-7) and took a route to the east, making several sharp turns over central Washington. It then made a near-touchdown at Grant County International Airport (MWH), Moses Lake, before heading back to BFI. The aircraft was initially supposed to land at MWH and then take off before heading back, but according to Flightradar24, the flight was diverted and landed at BFI at 10:39 a.m (GMT-7).
BOE701 flightpath (Image: Flightradar24)
The test aircraft ‒ Boeing 737 MAX-7 registered as N7201S ‒ is the first MAX-7 to be assembled. It has been flying with Boeing since March 2018 and was used for the tests of redesigned Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) by both FAA and Transport Canada.
Steve Dickson announced that he would be piloting one of MAX’ test flights in November 2019, saying that he was “not going to sign off on this aircraft until all FAA are complete.” His flight was one of hundreds conducted by various civil aviation authorities in preparation for the aircraft’s ungrounding. Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide for almost two years after two fatal crashes caused by problems with MCAS.
FAA aims at lifting its ban on the flights of Boeing best-selling aircraft before the end of 2020. European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has finished its test flights in early September 2020, and may lift the ban in November.