Boeing holds test flights for 737 MAX fix

China not taking Boeing 737 MAX 8 airworthiness certificate applications

In a sign of how the credibility of the Federal Aviation Administration has been undermined in recent weeks, House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio on Tuesday said "independent, third-party" reviewers must confirm that software and other fixes for Boeing's 737 Max 8 jets are sufficient before the FAA allows the planes to fly again.

Simulation tests imitating a flight on a Boeing 737 MAX with a faulty nose position sensor showed that if the pilots from Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines engaged the problems with the plane's automatic anti-stalling system (MCAS), they had only 40 seconds to prevent the crash, The New York Times reported, citing people participating in the tests.

No passengers were aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 8701, which was being ferried from Orlando International Airport to Victorville, California, for short-term storage, the airline said.

Southwest Airlines said the plane returned to the airport after pilots reported a "performance issue" with one of the engines.

On Saturday, pilots and training officials from Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines met with Boeing officials to review updated software for 737 Max planes in the Seattle area, where the model is assembled, multiple airline sources told CNN on Monday.

The plane involved in the incident is one of 34 Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the Southwest fleet that were grounded by an FAA emergency order earlier this month after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302.

The system is created to automatically command a plane to pitch down if it senses an imminent stall.

"It just happened within a span of five months, a similar flight pattern", Gebremariam said.

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Boeing and the FAA decided pilots did not need to be informed about the change to the flight control system when the 737 Max 8 rolled out, helping airlines avoid the cost of more extensive retraining of pilots.

Preliminary investigations have pointed to similarities in the circumstances surrounding the two crashes.

These procedures are "extensive, well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs for decades", the remarks say.

The causes of the crashes have yet to be determined. The Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10 killed 157 people.

Asked whether the issue could be related to the software malfunction that might have caused the previous MAX 8 crashes, the spokesperson said, "No connection at all", noting Tuesday's problem was "all engine related".

In a statement Sunday, Boeing called the weekend meeting a "productive session" and said that it had invited more than 200 pilots and technicians, as well as regulators, to an informational session at the company's production facility in Renton, Washington, on Wednesday.

The Senate aviation subcommittee is scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday from the acting head of the FAA, the Transportation Department inspector general, who is leading a review of the FAA and Boeing, and the nation's top transportation safety investigator. It is now grounded by the FAA for passenger flights, though airline crews are allowed to fly them on so-called ferry flights from one airport to another. He said the decision was based on information that the Ethiopian Airlines flight path resembled that of the Lion Air crash.

Boeing needs authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration before the MAX can return to service.