How Long Will Flight Crew Training Take For Boeing 737 MAX’s Return?

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Now that the FAA has given its approval, how long will it take to train flight crews and get the Boeing 737 MAX back into service? 

Aviation Week’s Senior Propulsion Editor, Guy Norris, teamed up with Air Transport and Safety Editor Sean Broderick to answer this question: 

From a flight crew training perspective the procedural and system software changes will require an additional 1-2 hr. of classroom or, more likely, computer-based training plus a simulator session. Operators and regulators working with Boeing indicate that it will require around 2 hr. of simulator time to complete the required additional training per flight crew, plus an hour of presession briefings. More details on the new baseline training requirements can be found here. The total time to train a given airline’s 737 MAX pilots will vary based on several factors, including the number of pilots that must undergo the sessions and availability of MAX simulators.

To return aircraft to service, operators have been advised to initially expect around 300 hr. to depreserve each of the 385 delivered aircraft that were in long-term storage, and up to 400 additional hours to complete modifications to software and wiring that will make them compliant with updated certification standards and airworthiness directives. Operators such as American Airlines report the new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS software takes around 6 hr. to update as part of this overall period, while the wiring modifications took American about three days per airframe.

For approximately 450 aircraft that were completed but never delivered, Boeing estimates a flow time of around 16 days from starting depreservation to delivery. The first 10 days of the process will cover bringing the aircraft out of storage, while the final six days will be dedicated to preparations for delivery.

Breaking this down further, Boeing is expected to use the first three days to reactivate systems and depreserve the engines. The midperiod, from around Day 4 to 10, will cover functional tests and software updates, and culminate in a post-storage check flight. The remaining time will be allotted to delivery, with reviews and walk-throughs by the customer airline as well as certification by regulatory authorities.

Guy Norris

Guy is a Senior Editor for Aviation Week, covering technology and propulsion. He is based in Colorado Springs.

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.


1 Comment
A new word depreserve. What happened to that old fashioned word ‘prepare’.