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FAA Administrator Tests Boeing 737 MAX Flight

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Boeing's most popular 737 MAX, which has been grounded for long following two fatal crashes, has passed a major milestone in its efforts to return to service.

In a statement, Federal Aviation Administration or FAA announced that Administrator Steve Dickson has completed Boeing 737 MAX flight before the FAA approves the aircraft's return to service.

Dickson's flight, which took two hours, included a number of scenarios to demonstrate the proposed software and design changes to the aircraft's automated flight control system.

Dickson noted that his flight was separate from the official certification process that's still underway by the FAA.

The Administrator, along with FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell, completed the new recommended pilot training for the aircraft on Tuesday.

The FAA noted that Dickson's flight is an important milestone, but other key steps remain in its evaluation of Boeing's proposed changes to the aircraft's flight control system and training.

These include Flight Standardization Board or FSB Report, Final Design Documentation and Technical Advisory Board or TAB Report, Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community & AD, FAA Rescinds Grounding Order, Certificates of Airworthiness, as well as Operator Training Programs.

The U.S. aviation regulator said these actions are applicable only to U.S. air carriers and U.S.-registered aircraft. The FAA will inform other civil aviation authorities, but they are required to take their own actions to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service for their air carriers.

The agency did not want to speculate about how long it will take for the aircraft to return to passenger service.

"We will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards," the agency said.

It was in late June that the FAA began its formal test flights of Boeing 737 Max, evaluating the proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the aircraft.

Boeing's best-selling aircraft was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two crashes killed all 346 people aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

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