Boeing is set to begin a week of flight safety tests in a bid to get its 737 Max back into the skies, after the plane was grounded following two fatal crashes.
The best-selling aircraft was grounded around 15 months ago after two fatal crashes killed 346 people.
Now, the Boeing 737 Max is set to begin a series of flight safety tests near Boeing’s manufacturing base in Seattle, the BBC reported.
Flight safety tests on the Boeing 737 Max (pictured) are set to begin this week after the aircraft was grounded around 15 months ago following two fatal crashes which saw 346 deaths
Three days of flight safety tests on the 737 Max (above) will potentially begin on Monday at Boeing Field near Seattle
Pilots and technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing are thought to be planning three days of tests, potentially beginning on Monday.
But even if the tests go well, months of further safety checks will still follow.
Aviation regulators grounded the 737 Max around 15 months ago, after two aircrafts crashed within five months of each other.
On October 29, 2018, a Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea just 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia.
The flight crew made a distress call shortly before losing control but the crash killed 189 people.
The aircraft was almost brand-new, having arrived at Lion Air just three months earlier.
Less than five months later, a second crash occurred on March 10, 2019, when the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members on board.
The aircraft had departed from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and was bound for Nairobi, Kenya.
The Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea on October 29, 2018, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. The fatal crash killed 189 people on board (pictured, investigators examine parts of the plane recovered from the sea)
The Lion Air plane was almost brand-new, having arrived just three months earlier. Pictured, debris from the Lion Air crash is examined
Just after takeoff, the pilot radioed a distress call and was given immediate clearance to turn around and land.
But the plane crashed 40 miles from the airport, just six minutes after leaving the runway.
The aircraft involved was only four months old.
The grounding of the 737 Max triggered lawsuits and investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice.
Questions were also raised about the FAA and Boeing’s safety approval process.
Investigators blamed faults in the flight control system, which the 103-year-old company has been overhauling for months to meet new safety demands.
In this week’s flight safety tests, a 737 Max kitted out with test equipment will run a series of scripted mid-air scenarios at Boeing Field near Seattle.
On March 10, 2019, the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed (site of the plane crash pictured) soon after taking off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members
The two fatal crashes (pictured, the wreckage from the Ethiopian Airlines crash) led to the grounding of the 737 Max, which then triggered lawsuits and investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice
Pilots will intentionally trigger the reprogrammed stall-prevention software, known as MCAS, that was blamed for both the crashes, according to Reuters.
Test flights had originally been planned for last year, but investigations uncovered new safety issues that delayed its return to service.
After the flight safety tests, FAA officials in Washington and Seattle will analyse the data to access if the jet is airworthy.
But the European Aviation Safety Agency maintained that clearance by the FAA will not automatically mean a clearance to fly in Europe.
Regulators in Europe and Canada, while working closely with the FAA, will also conduct their own assessments.
Norwegian Air, TUI, and Icelandair are among airlines that use the 737 Max in Europe, while others have the aircraft on order.
Boeing and the FAA declined to comment.