Boeing 777X Certification Hits Snag with the FAA

June 28, 2021

Boeing 777X Certification

Boeing 777X Certification Likely Won't Happen Until 2023 Due to Testing and Design Issues

Boeing's hopes to get its new 777X in to the skies by next year were dealt a big blow as the FAA told the plane maker it's not happening until sometime in 2023.

In a letter sent to Boeing by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dated May 13th and reviewed by The Seattle Times, the aircraft maker was told that certification of the plane would most likely not happen until 'mid to late' 2023 due to a testing incident and a lack of software and hardware design maturity.

Boeing 777X Test Flight: Uncontrolled Pitch not Prompted by Pilots Highlights Possible Serious Issue with Aircraft

During a test flight on December 8, 2020, pilots encountered a serious error with the flight software when the plane's nose pitched up and down (called an “uncommanded pitch event”) with no input from the test pilots themselves.

The FAA is apparently not satisfied with Boeing's response as to what when wrong during that flight and that they have fixed the problem.

FAA Manager Says Boeing's Avionics Do NOT Meet Requirements

FAA manager Ian Won says Boeing has not satisfied the FAA that their systems meet certification requirements and that proposed changes to the software and hardware are 'concerning':

“The aircraft is not yet ready,” Won wrote. “The technical data required for type certification has not reached a point where it appears the aircraft type design is mature and can be expected to meet the applicable regulations.”

Boeing told The Hill that they are working transparently with the FAA to make certain the 777X meets all requirements:

“As we subject the airplane to a comprehensive test program to demonstrate its safety and reliability, we are working through a rigorous development process to ensure we meet all applicable requirements. We continue to communicate transparently with the FAA and other global regulators about 777-9 certification.”

If the 777X isn't certified until late 2023 the plane won't be flying passengers until mid-2024 at the earliest.

Development for the 777X started in 2013 and the target to enter commercial service was 2020.

The FAA could very well be more stringent and cautious than ever in the wake of Boeing's two 737MAX disasters that claimed 346 lives.

Boeing can ill-afford another large-scale misstep with a plane that's not safe.

But neither can they afford to be delayed much longer before getting this bird in the sky.

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