The head of the FAA says he will personally fly a 737 Max before it is ungrounded

Undelivered Boeing 737 Max planes sit idle at a Boeing property in Seattle, Washington, in August 2019.

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Undelivered Boeing 737 Max planes sit idle at a Boeing property in Seattle, Washington, in August 2019.
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David Ryder/Getty Images

  • The head of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says he will pilot a Boeing 737 Max himself before it gets ungrounded.
  • FAA chief Stephen Dickson, a former US Air Force pilot, flew a 737 Max simulator on Thursday at Boeing’s facility in Seattle, and told The Associated Press he will do it for real.
  • Every 737 Max in the world was grounded in March 2019 following two devastating crashes which killed a combined 346 people.
  • Boeing is racing to fix the anti-stall software blamed for the crashes, and won’t be able to deliver any more until regulators sign off.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said he will take a Boeing 737 Max for a test flight himself before his agency clears it to carry passengers again.

Stephen Dickson made the comments to The Associated Press (AP) on Thursday after completing two rides on a 737 Max simulator at Boeing’s assembly facility near Seattle.

“It handles like a 737,” the Donald Trump-appointee told the AP. “The airplane handles very well from everything I can tell.”

Every 737 Max has been grounded since March 2019 after two crashes in 12 months involving the craft that killed 346 people.

The clock is ticking for Boeing to fix the faulty MCAS anti-stall software investigators blame for causing the crashes.

Read more: The 737 Max will be the safest plane in the skies once it starts flying again

Dickson flew a simulation on Thursday where a new, updated version of the anti-stall software kicked in, and pushed the nose down, the AP said. It is not known how the plane or pilot reacted.

Before joining the FAA, Dickson was an Air Force fighter pilot. He also flew older 737 iterations while working for Delta, the AP report.

Read more: 400 pilots have joined a growing number of airlines in demanding payback from Boeing for its 737 Max disasters – here’s the full list

Dickson said he wants to see the findings from a special Transportation Department committee before the FAA makes any decisions.

Even if the FAA signs off on the 737 Max repairs, other nation’s regulatory bodies will likely want to do their own tests before clearing it.