A year after its first flight, the Boeing 737 MAX has successfully passed water spray certification tests aimed at checking its performance when landing on a waterlogged track, similar to what might happen during regular civilian flights. Whenever landing or taking off at high speed, a plane’s landing gear project huge amounts of water. It therefore becomes essential to ensure that this water doesn't have any adverse effect on operation of the engines or the auxiliary power unit (APU).
Boeing’s teams simulated extreme weather conditions by pouring 3,000 gallons of water between foam blocks placed in the middle of the runway. A first for Boeing, it used a drone to film this “test-pool”, so allowing its engineers to closely observe projection of the water spray and analyse it at a new angle with high-definition images shot from above, in combination with other images captured below the aircraft. The video has only just been released on the Boeing website, but the test took place in late 2016 at the small Valley Count airport in Glasgow, Montana, 680 miles (1100 km) east of Seattle.
According to Boeing calendar, the first delivery of this 189-seater jet is expected next spring. Southwest Airlines is to be the first customer.