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Before certification

FAA Administrator will pilot Boeing 737 Max himself

The Boeing 737 Max has a trust problem. The FAA, the aviation authority that originally certified the jet, also plays a role here. Administrator Steve Dickson wants to take countermeasures and pilot the aircraft himself.

The recertification of the still grounded aircraft type is coming closer. After the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) carried out test flights with the Boeing 737 Max a while ago, the administrator of the authority, Steve Dickson, now wants to fly the 737 Max himself.

Next week, on Wednesday September 30, Dickson will be at the controls in the cockpit of the aircraft type, the agency told lawmakers. This is considered as a key symbolic step before the jet is allowed to take off again in the United States.

Previously with the Air Force and Delta

Steve Dickson has long experience with flying commercial aircraft. But he first started his career in the United States Air Force, where he flew the F-15 fighter jet. He then joined Delta Air Lines. During his time with the airline, he piloted Boeing 727, 737, 757 and 767, as well as Airbus A320. There he was also promoted to Senior Vice President, responsible for flight operations, including safety and pilot training. In March 2019, he became Administrator of the FAA.

Safety and pilot training are the two biggest issues at the Boeing 737 Max. Following the two crashes in October 2018 and March 2019, Boeing’s newest short- and medium-range jet had its certification revoked worldwide. Initially, the aircraft manufacturer promised a return to flight operations within a few months. But even 1.5 years later, the 737 Max is still standing on the ground. This could change soon, as both the FAA and the European EASA are currently working on recertification.

Regaining confidence

One of the problems the 737 Max will face when operations resume is its image problem. Many passengers will not trust the twice crashed aircraft even after successful recertification. This bad image is also felt by the FAA, because it is the agency that originally granted the aircraft type certification in the first place. Steve Dickson is well aware of this and has repeatedly promised to pilot the Max himself before it is allowed to fly again. Now, that promise looks to become a reality. Whether this will lead to more trust by passengers and pilots remains to be seen.

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