A Boeing 737 MAX, in Boeing livery, in-flight

Public will have 45 days to comment on proposed 737 MAX changes

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Members of the public will soon be able to share their thoughts about proposed fixes for the Boeing 737 MAX, as the US Federal Aviation Administration works towards re-certifying the type.

The 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019, following two fatal accidents. In a statement today, the FAA said it will issue a proposed airworthiness directive “in the near future”, providing the public with 45 days to comment on “proposed design changes and crew procedures to mitigate the safety issues identified during the investigations that followed the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents”. A total of 346 people died in the two crashes.

In April 2019, Runway Girl Network joined a chorus of others in making the case for why 737 MAX pilots should receive MAX simulator training, stating in an opinion piece: “The minimum is not acceptable. Boeing has to go above and beyond in this case to eliminate doubt.”

Representing a reversal for Boeing, the airframer in January recommended simulator training in addition to computer-based training for all MAX pilots prior to return to service of the aircraft. A final determination will be made by regulators.

The FAA said today it continues to follow a robust certification process for the MAX. In addition to the standard certification team, the 737 MAX Technical Advisory Board (TAB) will review the final Boeing submission and issue a report prior to a final determination of compliance by the FAA, said the agency.

TAB is a multi-agency panel of government flight-safety experts tasked with independently reviewing the changes.

Publishing a proposed AD is an important milestone, but a number of key steps remain to re-certify the type. Reuters is reporting that an ungrounding of the MAX is not expected before October.

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Featured image credited to istock.com/the_guitar_mann