FAA Says 777X Not Ready For Certification


The FAA has told Boeing not to expect certification of the 777X until possibly the end of 2023, citing numerous design and test issues including an “uncommanded pitch event” last December. The Seattle Times got to read a letter sent to Boeing on May 13 in which the local FAA manager Ian Won said there is a lot of work to do before he signs off on it. “The aircraft is not yet ready,” the Times quoted Won as writing. “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.”

The Times didn’t report any details of the pitch control issue but did quote the letter as saying that Boeing hasn’t satisfied the FAA that it knows what happened and has fixed it. The FAA is also worried about an unspecified avionics system proposed for the airplane and about software and hardware modifications planned for the flight control system. The 777X is the biggest twin Boeing has built and the largest version will seat more than 400 passengers, depending on configuration.

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. Wondering: If it’s taking Boeing this long to do an “upgrade,” how long will it take them to do a clean-screen design of a 797?

    • I guess it depends on if they have learned their lesson from the 787 that having bean counters in charge of the company is not the brightest of ideas if you want to produce well-engineered products. It would seem they have not yet learned that lesson.

  2. PERHAPS if they moved the “Executives” back to Seattle from Chicago, they could be closer to the people that can actually DO SOMETHING about the problems.

    Since when is it a good idea to move executives farther away from the problems–and the people that ultimately will have to SOLVE the problems?

    The move to Chicago will be written up for decades as an example of BAD DECISIONS IN BUSINESS.

    • Then they’d be further from St. Louis fighter aircraft manufacturing.

      I do urge very small HQs, preferably located near a factory. (The Long Acres name south of Seattle might remind them that you have to do your homework to pick the horse to bet on. :-o)

      Sam Walton kept HQ staff numbers very small, had a fleet of aircraft to fly to stores to check up on them. (HQ is in Bentonville Arkansa.)

  3. Get-home-itis again?

    Proper internal reviews should have caught some of what FAA is saying.

  4. Wait, the FAA says the 777x is “not ready” but approved Virgin Galactic for carrying passengers?

    I think the FAA no longer is dealing in risk assessment nor safety.