Flight experience with the first Boeing 737 MAX 8 Blue Air (YR-MXA). This is how the flight with the newest plane in the Blue Air fleet was.
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On April 1, on a day for fools, I had one of the most beautiful experiences of this pandemic. Blue Air marked a double premiere, its new aircraft being the first Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft (Boeing 737 MAX 8) to operate commercial flights in Romania and the first to join the fleet of a Romanian air carrier.
But before we tell you about this aircraft and our experience on board, I want to remind you that the 737 MAX aircraft were recorded on the ground for 2 years, and deliveries were suspended by Boeing all this time after the crash of two planes 737 MAX.
Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been recertified by the FAA / EASA
It was discovered that the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) was the basis of the 2 accidents. Boeing introduced this system to automatically correct the plane's angle of attack, only in the case of the 2 accidents the system received erroneous data and pushed the plane's muzzle down instead to align it with the horizon.
But 2 years of inspections, updates, redesigns and resoftings followed, and in December 2020, the FAA re-authorized 737 MAX aircraft for flight. The MCAS system has been redesigned to receive data from multiple sources. At the same time, pilots now have the option to disable the system. Inclusive the FAA director sitting at the helm of a 737 MAX before releasing them on commercial flights. If you're interested in seeing the FAA's recertification documents and recommendations, go to The FAA has authorized the return of 737 MAX aircraft in flight.
After 2 years of checking, testing and resofting, I tend to believe that the plane is safe. It is a personal opinion based on all the studies and verifications made by specialists in the field. There are institutions empowered to do all these checks and certify the planes for the flights, and I trust them. At the same time, I trust the Romanian pilots.
Flight experience with the first Boeing 737 MAX 8 Blue Air (YR-MXA)
But back to YR-MXA. This is a 737 MAX 8 family aircraft 737 MAX, built in 2019. It is configured in a single class with 189 comfortable seats. It is a brand new plane as it is popularly said, but without the scream on it because it is 1.5 years old since it was assembled. In turn, this aircraft was resofted, checked, ground and air tested according to FAA and EASA recommendations. Even the pilots went through a training process according to the recommendations issued by the competent authorities in this field.
The new 737 MAX 8 Blue Air plane took off on March 30 from Seattle for Reykjavik, where it "rested" for a few hours, until the morning of April 1 when it took off for Bucharest. He arrived "at home" at around 12:30, being greeted and applauded by the representatives of the airline, by important people from the Romanian aviation industry, the representatives of the authorities, Blue Air partners and the general and specialized press.
After the welcoming event, which took place at the official lounge of Henri Coandă International Airport, a demonstration flight of approximately 1.5 hours followed. The plane was full, including Mrs. Oana Petrescu, ceo Blue Air. I was not afraid to get on the 737 MAX and I will fly with this model whenever the opportunity arises.
Returning to YR-MXA, as I said above, it is configured in a class with 189 seats, arranged 3-3 on 32 rows. Each chair is equipped with a support for clothes, USB port, adjustable headrest, table and various storage support, and under the seats there are sockets. From my checks, the sockets are 110V at 60Hz.
The seats are comfortable and the backrest can be folded back slightly. Obviously the space between the chairs is not very big, but I had enough space in my legs and I'm not really thin :). The plane is equipped with Sky Boeing, which means larger windows than previous generations, more spacious luggage compartments and LED lighting.
Propulsion is provided by 2 CFM International LEAP-1B engines, which promise 16% fuel economy compared to the 737NG model. At the same time, they are quieter engines, which greatly reduces noise pollution outside, but also inside.
This is how the flight with the newest plane in the Blue Air fleet was.
The new 737 MAX 8 Blue Air has already entered operational service, flying from Bucharest to Lisbon, Malaga, Frankfurt, Valencia, Dublin. Amsterdam will follow on April 5 and, in the near future, it will certainly arrive at London Heathrow.
According to the statement made by Mrs. Oana Petrescu, the second 737 MAX 8 (YR-MXB) will arrive in the Blue Air fleet in the second half of April 2021. By the end of this year, another 2 737 MAX aircraft will be delivered, following that another 6 to be received in 2022. We remind you that Blue Air placed orders for 737 MAX 8 aircraft at the Paris Air Show 2017. The aircraft are taken through the leasing company - Air Lease Corporation.
In conclusion, the experience on board the 737 MAX was pleasant, but short. Blue Air deserves applause for this step, but it still has to pull to regain the sympathy of many passengers in Romania, especially after the delays with the refunds. We hope that in the summer of 2021 we will be able to fly more and without restrictions, even if the pandemic will still be present among us. With the resumption of flights in several cities and on several routes, Blue Air will overcome the difficult moment it is going through.
I broadcast LIVE from the inaugural flight
We look forward to sharing your flying experience on board a 737 MAX Blue Air!
Photo / Video: Teodor Coman & Sorin Rusi