Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Boeing 737 Max technical panel review to begin April 29 with UAE participation

Panel is expected to complete its review within 90 days, Federal Aviation Administration says

A 737 Max aircraft is pictured at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington, USA on March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo
A 737 Max aircraft is pictured at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington, USA on March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

The US aviation regulator said a joint government technical review of the grounded Boeing 737 Max will begin on April 29 with the participation of nine civil aviation authorities from the UAE to China.

The Joint Authorities Technical Review will conduct a "comprehensive review" of the certification of the aircraft’s automated flight control system, the US Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement on its website. The international team is expected to complete its work within 90 days.

"The team will evaluate aspects of the 737 MAX automated flight control system, including its design and pilots’ interaction with the system, to determine its compliance with all applicable regulations and to identify future enhancements that might be needed," the FAA said.

The panel is chaired by former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Chris Hart and will include experts from the FAA and NASA. The FAA had said on April 2 that it was forming the international panel to review the safety of the jet after it was involved in two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed about 350 people.

The panel will include civil aviation representatives from the UAE, European Union, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan, China, Indonesia and Singapore, according to the FAA.

The Chicago-based planemaker is making "steady progress" on the certification for the 737 MAX software update, Dennis Muilenburg said on April 17 in a video message on his Twitter account.

Boeing has undertaken 120 test flights of the 737 Max. That includes 203 flight hours in testing the redesign of the aircraft's safety system, known as MCAS, Mr Muilenburg said in the video.

Boeing has finished the final engineering test flight and the next flight will be for software certification, he said.

Of about 50 Max customers, 85 per cent of Max operators have experienced the new software in simulator sessions, according to Mr Muilenburg.

The UAE will conduct additional checks to ensure the safety of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, Sultan Al Mansouri, chairman of the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority and economy minister, told reporters on April 15.

The GCAA banned operations of the troubled jet in March amid a wave of global groundings of the industry work-horse following deadly crash of an Ethiopian Air jetliner in March and Indonesia's Lion Air plane in October.

In both disasters, a malfunctioning safety system on the plane was repeatedly driving down the nose.

Boeing has been working on a software upgrade that would prevent the MCAS from repeatedly lowering the nose of the aircraft.

The world's biggest jet-maker has orders for about 4,600 of the fuel-efficient, single-aisle MAX models.

Updated: April 20, 2019 02:23 PM

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