Congress Eyes MAX 7, 10 Certification Extension


Congress appears to be Boeing’s last hope to extend the certification deadline for its 737 MAX 7 and 10 models to avoid a hugely expensive redesign of the models’ flight deck alert system—or the possible cancellation of both programs. FAA Director of Certification Lirio Liu sent Boeing a letter in mid-September saying there was no hope those two aircraft will be certified by the end of the year because Boeing hasn’t provided the necessary documentation. Two years ago, the agency gave Boeing until the end of this year to get the 7 and 10 certified without the requirement to bring the alerting system up to current FAA standards. The political wheels are already turning, however.

The Seattle Times is reporting that Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the ranking member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would push the requirement for the new alert system out to the end of 2024. Influential Democratic members of both houses are at best lukewarm to the extension and its failure poses a big problem for Boeing. CEO David Calhoun has said he’d consider canceling the 10 if the company has to redesign the alert system and now the 7 is also affected by the circumstances. Further complicating Calhoun’s call is that Boeing just booked a $2.8 billion order from WestJet in Canada for 42 MAX 10s.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Why is it acceptable to certify aircraft that don’t meet FAA standards in the first place?!

    Are the standards excessive or onerous? In that case they should be fixed.
    Are they allowing exceptions for updates of old designs? That’s not a good excuse, methinks.

    • Boeing has gobbled up all the other major airliner mfr’s in America and Brazil, China, France, and others are now producing fine alternatives while Boeing (and American Workers) are losing out on Boeings’ self-induced down-hill slide.

      It’s time to break Boeing up so that competition can be re-introduced to the American aviation workplaces.

  2. It’s difficult to feel sorry for either party here. If the FAA is really waiting for additional documentation then why is Boeing not forthcoming with that documentation? We all know how the FAA has in the past dragged their feet on making decisions. I would be surprised if Boeing is able to convince enough politicians in Washington to extend the deadline. I would not be shedding any tears if Boeing decides to cancel both projects. It is time for Boeing to come up with another up to date design for an airliner.

  3. The MAX has an aerodynamic problem; it needs an aerodynamic solution, not a software kluge!
    As the angle of attack increases, he larger nacelles provide lift forward of the center of lift cause the stick force to reduce; the opposite of what is acceptable.
    The normal solution for too much area forward, is to add area aft; a larger horizontal stabiliser.
    This would have solved the problem, been a lifetime solution with no special maintenance, training, or warning systems required.
    It would have cost a fraction of what Boeing has spent and lost by installing a system to run the trim to the limit, overpowering the pilots ability to control the aircraft.
    That system, also subject to a single point failure; a cardinal sin, should never have been installed, but Boeing wanted to save money, so they lied about the system to the FAA, and hid it from crews.
    Trying to fix the flawed software system is a red herring; Boeing should be made to install a larger horizontal stabiliser, or discontinue the MAX.

    • Adding to your comments Lewis:
      If they would put solar panels all over the plane and claim it will stop climate change congress/faa will approve the MAX by morning.

      They should also put the word “HYDROGEN” on the sides and congress will give boeing grant money besides. The MAX will be declared the greatest aviation achievement in history and be given awards. 🤪

  4. Congress Eyes MAX 7, 10 Certification Extension. That’s the problem. Congress. Any time that Congress becomes involved in anything, means that the process has been politicized. The politics of public opinion (mostly an uninformed general opinion) always takes over in politics. Bad for any industry.

  5. It is not just the FAA that has to agree to the extension, other regulators have to sign on too. I believe Transport Canada and EASA are not going to like an extension and the FAA burned a lot of bridges with the initial MAX certification as other regulators accepted the FAA certs without their own review. They are not going to be so gullible this time.

    As for the politicized process, well Boeing only has itself to blame