After nearly two years of grounding due to two devastating incidents attributed to software defects, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is permitting the Boeing 737 Max to return to the skies this month.
To prepare for the return to service, Boeing has implemented a number of changes to the aircraft to ensure passenger and crew safety. A few of those changes include:
- Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) software updates, no longer relying on only one sensor and never overriding the pilots’ ability to control the airplane
- New wiring to meet FAA requirements
- Regulators to validate safety via hundreds of thousands of hours and more than a thousand test and check flights
- Enhanced pilot training
- Plane preparation via a comprehensive activation proves and rigorous inspections
American Airlines has scheduled the aircraft’s first flight on December 29, 2020 from Miami to New York. According to this Guardian article, Steve Dickson, the head of the FAA, said he would be “100% comfortable” putting his family on a 737 Max when they re-enter service. Boeing also said it would be “one of the safest airplanes ever to fly”.
Many airlines have pledged to let passengers know what model of aircraft they will be flying when booking, and will allow rescheduling free of charge if they feel uncomfortable on the aircraft.