Pilots Union Opposes MAX 10, 7 Certification Extension


The Allied Pilots Association is opposing Congressional moves to allow Boeing to duck an upgrade to the crew alerting system in two models of the 737 MAX that have yet to be certified. According to Reuters, the union, which represents 15,000 American Airlines pilots, says Boeing needs to bring a legacy system from its oldest design into the 21st century. “Boeing needs to proceed with installing modern crew alerting systems on these aircraft to mitigate pilot startle-effect and confusion during complex, compound system malfunctions,” union President Capt. Edward Sicher told Reuters.

As we reported, Boeing has been given until the end of the year to certify the MAX 10 and MAX 7 without including an updated alerting system that meets current regulations. Boeing has been struggling with the certification paperwork, and Reuters reported that it’s projecting the summer of 2023 for certification. Sen. Roger Wicker, the ranking member of the Commerce Committee, has proposed attaching legislation to the next defense appropriations bill giving Boeing another couple of years to avoid the alert system redesign in the 7 and 10. So far, there has been no indication of support for Wicker’s plan.

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  1. Why no reports from pilots of US airlines having a problem with the original system? Were there more 737 MAXs flying outside the USA than in the USA? How much was saved by ordering single AOA instead of dual AOA systems, that dual was not a requirement? So many questions.

  2. The union’s argument that “our pilots are smart enough to handle two airplane configurations” seems to me to actually be an endorsement of Boeing’s argument that the global fleet benefits from standardization more than a portion of it might benefit from an upgrade.

    The other problem is that slapping an EICAS area on the screen doesn’t create the data needed to drive the display. The 737 systems for the most part aren’t computerized, they are more simple and mechanical than newer airframe designs. So, for example, if you wanted to have air conditioning in your remote weekend cabin that doesn’t have electricity, simply buying a window unit doesn’t really solve the problem. There’s a much larger effort needed below the surface.

  3. The APA and the FAA are well aware of the engineering and manufacturing implications of implementing EICAS. EICAS is a safety improvement which has been developed and approved. At some point, a decision has to be made when newly manufactured aircraft will be required to meet a new standard. This is an argument over Boeing saying they will be the ones to decide when a legacy airframe needs to either be discontinued or updated or the government making that decision. At its core, the 737 Max tragedy was a result of the dynamic of this complex process of safety decision making migrating from the regulator toward the manufacturer. Not only the safety of the flying public and crews, but also, the worldwide reputation and confidence in Boeing and the FAA require that dynamic to shift back toward the FAA.

  4. I first flew the B737-200 with Transavia (Holland) and Britsh Airways in November 1979, after 4 years converted to the superb B757/767 then 7 years later to the B747-100/200 and finally the splendid 747-400. As conversions progressed the Boeing family steadily improved in flight deck presentation, the only dual rating being the 757/767. Then after 9 years back to the B737-300 and B737-700NG, where to my surprise found much the same flight deck as on the -200 of 19 years previously. Little of the advances found in 757 and 747-400 were installed on the 737NG after all these years, meanwhile back in Toulouse the clever Airbus designers were standardising across a large variety of models from the 319 up to the bigger long range twin jets. I fear that Boeing has missed the Bus with a stretch too far in the MAX On a personal note may I mention that I was a check and training captain on all models except the 747-100/200, and did my initial conversion at Boeing before the 737/757/747-400 entered service. I hope Boeing can survive their problems, perhaps a clean sheet start for a new model short range twin could be the solution.

  5. Did anyone besides Southwest have a clause in their contract with Boeing requiring Boeing to pay Southwest a penalty fee if the Max required any type of supplemental training? Does anyone know how much the penalty was?

  6. My questions that I’m sure someone out there can answer:
    1) Is Boeing still designing the new systems required for certification?
    2) Can any of it be implemented in stages?
    3) Russ’s article stated Boeing was ‘struggling with the certification paperwork’.
    4) If they can’t do the paperwork, how can they implement anything?

  7. Boeing doesn’t want to EVER have to retrofit the 737 Max with an EICAS because they know it can’t be done. They just want to keep the type limping along under the old rules while everyone else has to abide by the new rules. This is just further evidence of the folly of Boeing’s disastrous 1996 decision to discontinue the 757. Finest airplane I ever flew! Try as Boeing might, the 737 can never replace the 757.