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Transport Canada validates the design changes to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
18 December 2020

Transport Canada has completed their independent review of the design changes to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft recently certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The return to service of these aircraft in Canada is complex, with additional aircraft changes, maintenance and training.

In January 2021, the department expects to issue a Canadian Airworthiness Directive which will stipulate the Canadian design changes that must be incorporated in Canadian aircraft. At the same time, the department will also mandate the training requirements for air crew through an Interim Order.

Thus, prior to a return to service of the aircraft in Canadian airspace, Transport Canada will require:

  • modifications to the aircraft as specified in the Canadian Airworthiness Directive;
  • incorporation of the revised pilot training syllabus into the Transport Canada-approved training program for each Canadian airline; and
  • airlines to conduct maintenance on the aircraft to ensure it will operate safely, given the aircraft have been in storage for some time.

Specifically, the Canadian design changes for the Boeing 737 MAX will include an enhanced flight deck procedure that provides the option for a pilot-in-command to disable a loud and intrusive warning system (commonly called the “stick shaker”) when the system has been erroneously activated by a failure in the angle of attack sensor system. This feature will help to reduce pilot workload given what has been learned from the two tragic accidents, and has been fully evaluated by Transport Canada’s flight test pilots. There will also be differences in training including training on the enhanced flight deck procedure.

The commercial flight restrictions for the operation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in Canadian airspace remain in effect and will not be lifted until Transport Canada is fully satisfied that all its safety concerns have been addressed, that required modifications have been incorporated, that enhanced flight crew procedures are in place, and that all training has been conducted in Canada.

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