MIAMI – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday confirmed that the Boeing 737 MAX will undergo flight tests next week, including one piloted by FAA Administrator and former Delta Air Lines (DL) pilot Steve Dickson.

An FAA statement reads, “FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell will be in Seattle next week to take the recommended training that the JOEB (Joint Operations Evaluation Board) evaluated. Following the simulator training, Administrator Dickson is tentatively scheduled to pilot a Boeing 737 MAX on September 30, 2020, fulfilling his promise to fly the aircraft before the FAA approves its return to service.”

The FAA further announced that it “will not approve the plane for [its] return to passenger service until it is satisfied that all of the known issues have been adequately addressed.”

Boeing 737MAX. Photo: Boeing.

A Long Process

Following two fatal accidents in 2019 involving the Boeing 737 MAX that claimed 346 lives, a worldwide grounding of the aircraft type ensued. Since then, Boeing and global aviation regulators have been working on technical fixes to get the jet back into service.

Following a training review in London, the top European aviation regulator on Friday signaled the possibility of the jet returning to service before the end of this year.

While more flight tests are necessary, the Boeing 737 MAX appears to have a roadmap back to service.

Featured image: Flightdeck of the first 737MAX8 for Air Italy. Picture by Bernie Leighton.