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Canadian regulator to perform independent 737 MAX flight test

written by Hannah Dowling | August 21, 2020

Transport Canada, the national body responsible for overseeing transportation policies and programs, is set to conduct its own flight tests of Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX next week, following ongoing recertification efforts on the grounded aircraft.

The tests are due to be performed at Boeing’s own facilities in Washington state, and form a part of the Canadian regulator’s “independent review” of proposed changes to the aircraft by Boeing, previously outlined by the FAA.

“These tests will validate key areas of the FAA certification,” Transport Canada said, also noting that it would be “premature” to reveal details about “the design configuration, flight crew procedures and training requirements before the validation activity is complete”.

The Canadian body is also due to participate in the FAA’s Joint Operational Evaluation Board (JOEB), which will determine minimum pilot training requirements on the new 737 MAX, joining regulators from Europe and South America.

The board is planning to meet in mid-September, according to sources close to the matter.

“The scheduling and participation in the JOEB is dependent on the outcomes of the current certification and validation activities,” Transport Canada said.

Previously, the FAA had said that “each country will make its own decision” on the 737 MAX’s return to service and that the “JOEB is the next milestone”.

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The Canadian body is the first non-US based regulator to conduct such flight tests since the beginning of the recertification process, while the European Union Aviation Safety Agency has not yet mentioned a timeline for its own testing.

The MAX was grounded around the world in March 2019, following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. The aircraft is likely to not return to service until 2021.

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