FAA clears the Boeing 737 Max to resume flying

Boeing 737 Max
(Image credit: David Ryder/Getty Images)

The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing's 737 Max to fly again.

The FAA on Wednesday cleared the 737 Max to resume flying 20 months after it was grounded in March 2019 following two plane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people, The New York Times reports.

Investigations into the two fatal crashes blamed issues with the plane's MCAS software, which "pushed the nose down repeatedly on both planes that crashed, overcoming the pilots' struggles to regain control," The Associated Press explains. The crashes were ultimately "the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing's engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing's management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA," House Transportation Committee investigators concluded earlier this year.

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The FAA previously determined that proposed changes to the 737 Max "effectively mitigate the airplane-related safety issues that contributed" to the crashes, and Boeing has said that its "updated software makes MCAS less powerful, so a pilot can more easily regain control of the plane," The Washington Post writes. Still, the Times reports that seeing as the FAA "must still approve pilot training procedures for each U.S. airline operating the Max" and "planes need to be updated," the 737 Max may not actually begin flying U.S. passengers again for "months."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.