Photo: AeroimagesChris/Twitter

Grounded Boeing 737 Max Planes Are Getting Rebranded

News Airports + Flying
by Eben Diskin Jul 16, 2019

To say the 737 Max has received bad press lately would be an understatement, as the aircraft’s faulty flight control system has led to two separate, fatal crashes, one in Indonesia in October and another in Ethiopia in March. Following the mass grounding of all Boeing 737 Max 8s, Boeing is now rolling out its new and (hopefully) improved versions, with one important difference — the livery reads “737-8200” and not “737 Max.”

The change was noticed after photos were released of the new 737 being prepared for delivery to Ryanair. The European budget airline ordered 135 new 737 Max models, with five being scheduled for delivery this fall, reported The Guardian.

There has been no official comment from either Ryanair or Boeing on the speculations of rebranding, though photographs of the aircraft clearly show the name change. Since the livery is entirely at the discretion of the airline, not the manufacturer, the “737-8200” designation is the work of Ryanair, likely eager to separate itself from associations with the troubled model.

Currently, Boeing is in the process of upgrading the aircraft’s flight control system, but another potential risk of the 737 Max 8 has been identified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the aircraft during simulator tests.

The FAA tweeted on June 26, 2019, “On the most recent issue, the FAA’s process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate.” And although the specifics of the problem are still murky, a source told the BBC, “During simulator testing last week at Boeing, FAA test pilots discovered an issue that affected their ability to quickly and easily follow the required recovery procedures for runaway stabiliser trim (i.e., to stop stabilisers on the aircraft’s tail moving uncontrollably). The issue was traced to how data is being processed by the flight computer.”

Boeing 737 Max 8s are grounded until the fall, but some say the aircraft is unlikely to fly before 2020.

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