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FAA leaders to fly grounded Boeing 737 MAX over Seattle this week

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration will be in the Des Moines/Seattle area to test 737 MAX jets in a step toward re-certification.

DES MOINES, Wash. — Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson spent the day in Des Moines, Wash. to meet with agency engineers overseeing the recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX, according to the FAA. 

The meetings are part of a week in the greater Seattle area that will see Dickson spending time in a full-motion MAX simulator on Tuesday, reviewing training that all pilots who will fly the airplane will receive.  

On Wednesday, Dickson is scheduled to take the controls of the 737 MAX personally. Boeing has used this jet for well over a year to test changes to the MCAS software, which is blamed in two 737 MAX crashes in October of  2018 and March of 2019 at the loss of 346 lives. 

RELATED: Top FAA official will personally fly grounded Boeing 737 MAX in Seattle this week

MCAS is an automation system designed by Boeing to help pilots better control the up and down pitch of the airplane, but in both accidents, the system caused the nose of the plane to pitch unexpectedly down at severe angles, causing confusion in the cockpit and ultimate loss of control.

Des Moines is the headquarters for the FAA’s Northwest Mountain Region and the organization which oversees Boeing’s aircraft development.  

The certification process and the FAA have been blamed for their role in how MCAS was approved in the first place.  Legislation is expected from Congress on making changes soon.

RELATED: House panel's report blasts Boeing, FAA for crashes, seeks reforms