Poll: Will the 737 MAX return to service by the end of 2020?

The FAA’s proposed steps for operators to clear Boeing 737 MAXs for service include separating wire bundles deemed to be noncompliant with regulations and conducting “readiness” flights to ensure the long-grounded aircraft are airworthy, a draft notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) made public Aug. 3 reveals.

The wire-bundle issue, discovered during regulators’ comprehensive review of the MAX’s design and certification, concerns horizontal stabilizer trim arm and control wiring that runs the length of the aircraft. The FAA found that the wiring needs to be separated in 12 places to meet 2007 regulatory changes put in place to prevent wiring failures from creating hazards.

The agency ordered Boeing to fix the issue on new-production MAXs and develop instructions for in-service aircraft.

The NPRM is in final pre-publication stages and should be out in the coming days. It stipulates a 45-day comment period, meaning the FAA will not publish a final version until mid-September at the earliest. MAX operators have said they will need at least a month, and likely more, to upgrade their MAXs, ensure they are ready to fly following extended stints on the ground, work them back into flight schedules, and train pilots.

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