Newest Boeing 737 Max takes first test flight
The largest version of Boeing’s 737 jet successfully had its first test flight Friday as the company looks to boost its offerings after multiple deadly crashes prompted concerns on technical issues and a prolonged grounding of its jets.
The Boeing 737 Max 10, designed to seat up to 230 people, took off from the Renton Municipal airport near Seattle shortly after 10 a.m. for a two-hour test flight, according to The Associated Press.
The AP reported that Boeing hopes that airlines will begin using the new plane, which is slightly larger than the Max jets currently in use, in 2023.
The Max 10 is designed to compete with European rival Airbus’s A321neo, which can seat up to 240, according to Reuters.
Boeing did not publicly release many details about the test flight Friday, though Reuters noted that the company will likely have to complete a tough safety certification process after smaller versions of the 737 Max jet were grounded for nearly two years.
The Max 8 and Max 9 planes were involved in crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 that killed a total of 346 people.
The Hill has reached out to Boeing for additional information on Friday’s test flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) late last year cleared the Boeing 737 for service after the Chicago-based plane manufacturer was forced to implement several changes, including an overhaul of its flight-control software that was believed to have played a role in the crashes.
Prior to the FAA reauthorization, a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee report published in September following an 18-month investigation into the crashes found “repeated and serious failures by both The Boeing Company (Boeing) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during the 737 Max’s design process.”
The lawmakers largely attributed the failures to Boeing’s race to compete with Airbus.
The 20-month grounding of the planes, as well as reduced demands for flights amid the coronavirus pandemic, resulted in $8.4 billion in losses for Boeing in 2020, according to the AP.
About 100 Max jets were grounded for several weeks this year due to unrelated technical issues with electrical grounding of cockpit instruments.
Last month, House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), chairman of the Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation, requested additional information from Boeing and the FAA following reports of electrical problems, foreign objects in debris of newly manufactured aircraft and other quality control issues associated with the Boeing 737 Max and 787 Dreamliner jets.
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