Boeing begins week of flight safety tests in bid to get 737 Max back in the skies after two crashes saw 346 deaths

  • Boeing are beginning three days of flight safety tests on the 737 Max aircraft
  • This comes after two crashes within five months of each other saw 346 deaths
  • Aviation regulators grounded the 737 Max about 15 months ago after the crashes
  • Months of further safety checks will still follow, even if this week’s tests go well 

Boeing has begun a week of flight safety tests in a bid to see its 737 Max back in the skies, after it was grounded following two fatal crashes. 

The best-selling plane was grounded by aviation regulators around 15 months ago after two crashes killed all 346 people on the flights.

Flight safety tests on the 737 Max are set to begin this week in Boeing’s bid to see the aircraft return to the skies, 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 regulators and Boeing are thought to be planning three days of tests, potentially beginning on Monday.

Even if the tests go well, months of further safety checks will still follow. 

This comes after a Lion Air flight and an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed within five months of each other, which saw 346 deaths.

The Lion Air flight 610 dove into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia, on October 29, 2018.

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 Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew members on board. 

The aircraft 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 return and land. 

But before the crew made it back, the aircraft 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 Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 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.  

After a preflight briefing, a crew will board a 737 Max kitted out with test equipment to run 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 been planned for last year, but investigations uncovered new safety issues that delayed its return to service. 

After the flights, FAA officials in Washington and Seattle will analyse the data to access if the jet is airworthy. 

The European Aviation Safety Agency said clearance by the FAA will not automatically mean a clearance to fly in Europe.

Norwegian Air, TUI, and Icelandair are among airlines using the 737 Max in Europe, while others have the aircraft on order.

Boeing and the FAA declined to comment.

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