For the first time since two crashes grounded the aircraft, the Boeing 737 Max has taken to the skies with members of the public on board. Ninety journalists and American Airlines employees flew roundtrip between Dallas-Fort Worth and Tulsa in an effort by American Airlines to rebuild confidence in the 737 Max. On December 29th, American will return the Max to service on flights between Miami and New York’s LaGuardia. The aircraft is expected to rejoin the operational fleet of United, Alaska, and Southwest airlines in 2021.
The crashes that led to the Max’s grounding were the result of a faulty sensor that caused the automated flight control systems to repeatedly send the planes into a nosedive. Boeing has since reconfigured the system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), to correct the angle of flight only when information from TWO sensors is the same. Rather than repeatedly activating, the MCAS will now only activate once in response to the sensor input.
In addition to the upgraded software, airlines are required to develop new pilot training requirements for the Max. At American, each 737 Max will also be put through extensive system checks and a test flight before returning to service. While grounded, the airline’s Max fleet continued to be rigorously maintained and tested as if the planes were operational.
For more, check out this article by Robert Silk.
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