The Federal Aviation Administration last month denied Boeing official approval to move forward with a major step in certifying the upcoming giant widebody 777X. arrived
In a violent letter dated May 13, reviewed by The Seattle Times, the FAA warned Boeing that it may need to increase the number of planned test flights. And the actual certification is now more than two years old. Maybe late 2023
That could push the jet into commercial service in early 2024, four years later than originally planned.
The FAA cited longstanding concerns, including a fatal flight control incident during a test flight on December 8, 2020, when the plane suffered. “Unordered pitch event”; – means that the aircraft’s nose takes off or land suddenly without input from the pilot.
Boeing has yet to fully appreciate the FAA’s understanding and correction of what went wrong that day.
The letter was signed by Ian Vaughan, manager of the local FAA office, which decides whether Boeing complies with all regulatory standards. He also told Boeing that the proposed major avionics system for the aircraft did not meet the requirements.
And he expressed concern about the proposed modifications, which involved changes in both software and hardware on the tail end of the jet’s flight control electronics.
“The aircraft is not yet ready,” Won wrote, “the technical data required for type certification has not yet reached the point where it appears that the design of the aircraft type has been completed. and it is expected to comply with applicable regulations.”
An FAA official, who asked not to be identified to speak independently, said 777X certification now “is a matter of high interest” both at the agency and at Boeing.
Boeing’s newest Boeing 787 had to land in 2013 when a battery burst into flames in flight. The next-generation aircraft, the 737 MAX, has been suspended for 21 months starting in 2019 after a new flight control defect led to two fatal crashes.
Right now the upcoming 777X is having trouble in the certification process. Is this just the FAA that has been hard on all considerations?
FAA officials said that although MAX was not a problem. But the list of serious issues raised about the 777X right now deserves the attention of strict regulations.
Within the FAA, the person said: “There is a general feeling that Boeing has lost a step,” referring to a postponement of its historic reputation for engineering talent.
and because of all the mistakes The official added that “The days when Boeing was able to say to the FAA ‘just trust us’ are long gone.”
In a statement on Friday Boeing said “Security remains our top priority throughout the development of the 777X.”
The plane is in between “A comprehensive testing program to demonstrate safety and reliability … to ensure we comply with all relevant requirements,” Boeing added.
The FAA in a statement said safety drives decision-making and timing.
“The FAA will not approve any aircraft unless it meets our safety standards and certifications,” the agency said.
The FAA is outraged.
Boeing launched the 777X at the Dubai Air Show in the fall of 2013 and at the time was targeting 2020 as the year it will enter service.
Boeing 747 Jumbo and Airbus A380 Super Jumbo which is no longer produced It replaces the Boeing 747 Jumbo and Airbus A380 that are no longer in production. As the largest passenger aircraft in production, the 777X is an extended version of the successful 777 passenger plane. with foldable extra-long carbon composite wings Biggest Jet Engine Tricks and Tricks Ever Made
Boeing has invested more than $1 billion in a new composite plant in Everett to build the wings.
Inside Everett’s main assembly building, Boeing has also installed a state-of-the-art automated station to assemble the robotic wings — a device designed by Mukilteo’s Electroimpact engineering firm — and change the way the 777’s fuselage and wings come together to create a “super-powered robotic wing.” Assembly is more flexible and efficient.
The first of two aircraft, the 777X, and the largest, the 777-9X, carried 426 passengers in a double decker configuration. It flew for the first time in January 2020, starting a test flight program.
So far, four test planes are taking off from Boeing. And at least 17 more 777X aircraft for Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and All Nippon Airways customers have already been launched from the factory.
Boeing will have to park production planes and will build more from now until at least late 2023 until certification permits deliveries.
The FAA’s letter on its 777X certification status was addressed to Tom Galantowicz, head of Boeing’s internal organization, which includes engineers and managers who act as proxies for federal agencies. It is responsible for testing and verifying that the new aircraft design meets safety standards.
The letter denies Boeing’s specific approval for the 777-9X, calling it type review readiness. without this Boeing will not be able to send FAA personnel for flight tests and begin collecting certification data.
The wording shows the level of anger at Boeing for pushing the TIA when the FAA deems it unprepared.
“The FAA and Boeing have discussed the TIA’s readiness of the Boeing Model 777-9 at several meetings over the past nine months,” the letter said. And added that although Boeing asserted to TIA that “certification considerations”, the FAA did the opposite. “Consider that the plane is not ready yet.”
The letter identified several shortcomings in Boeing’s readiness.
The FAA needs information, not a contract.
When asked about the test flight that was experienced December’s “Unsupervised Pitch Incident” Boeing said the plane was able to land safely. And engineers have investigated the root cause and have developed a major software update to fix the problem.
In the meantime, until approved Boeing has advised test pilots on how to avoid recurring incidents so test flights can continue.
Yet the FAA is clearly unhappy with Boeing’s promises to fix the software.
“Following the non-mandatory pitch incident, the FAA has yet to see a way for Boeing to implement all identified corrective actions by investigating the root cause,” the letter read.
“Software loading dates are shifting and the FAA needs better visibility into the cause of the delay,” it said.
In order to affirm the “health and safety/airworthiness of aircraft,” the FAA called for a comprehensive and documented review of the changes made in the incident investigation. to ensure similar problems “It won’t happen in the future and this isn’t. systemic problem.”
The FAA underscores its concern in an important part of onboard electronics, the Common Core System, which is a set of shared computing resources that are critical to the operation of many aircraft systems.
Won noted that Galantowicz admitted in a letter to the FAA in early May that CCS contained software that was incomplete and did not meet TIA’s requirements.
The agency’s letter alleges Boeing failed to comply with its own process requirements, citing “lack of information” and no preliminary safety assessments for the FAA.
Boeing’s CCS “verification dates have steadily declined over the course of a year,” the letter said.
In its refusal of the 777X for TIA availability, the FAA also cited its findings that avionics suppliers provided “insufficient peer review” in its safety analysis. “resulting in inconsistencies … and improper reuse of 787 data”
GE Aviation’s facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan supplies CCS, built on a similar core avionics system designed for the 787.
GE, which dubbed CCS the “central nervous system and brain” of the aircraft. has postponed his comments to Boeing.
The current 777X demand is near zero.
Another problem for the FAA is Boeing’s proposal to change the 777X flight control system late in the year.
“Boeing is now proposing adjustments that will involve changes in firmware and hardware. The actuators control the electronics of the flight control system,” the FAA said. “Boeing needs to make sure the changes don’t cause new failure modes. inadvertently.”
Other changes are pending in the design of the surrounding system. Horizontal tail or stabilizer of a jet plane which controls the sound level of the aircraft Will change the crew notification that marked some system crashes.
“Design integrity is an issue as design changes are ongoing and may be important,” the letter said.
The letter also said the European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had “not agreed on the road ahead” regarding the 777X certification.
In an emailed response on Friday, EASA spokesman Janet Northcote said the agency said. “Cooperating closely with the FAA” on 777X certification
“We are closely reviewing technical files with the FAA and Boeing and this work continues,” she said.
The FAA letter told Boeing that due to gaps in technical data, the 777X anticipates a significant increase in the level of testing and analysis required. “And the potential to increase the number of certifying flight tests that will be required.”
The letter concludes by asking Galantowicz’s agency to “close these gaps” before submitting further requests for TIA approval, and “according to Boeing,” the 777X’s certification was actually more than two years in the range. “Mid to late 2023”
The strange thing is The only upside for Boeing in this situation is that – due to the devastating demand for international air travel – no airline in the world needs the 777X right now.
When international travel begins to return after the epidemic airlines It will begin service with smaller jets, such as the long-range Boeing 787, until long-haul air travel gradually fades. back to near-normal levels in 2019
At the Bernstein Research Industry Conference this month, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun doubled the 777X despite the setbacks. Once the plane was certified, he said, “This plane will have a flight time of 40 or 50 years and I think it will be one of the best running routes of all time.”
“I’m very confident about it,” Calhoun said. “We love it.”
Boeing’s website lists 320 777X orders, albeit due to delays. Airline customers will have the option to cancel some items and may switch to smaller Boeing aircraft.
Emirates based in Dubai which is the largest 777X customer It has reduced its initial orders for 150 to 115 aircraft, moving from 35 of the 777X to 30 of the much cheaper 787s.
The original 777 flight test program in the mid-1990s from first flight to certification lasted 10 months. For the 737 MAX, that period only exceeded 13 months. During the development of the 787 there were many problems and delays. The first flight to certification took only 20 months.
The 777X is currently set to pass certification almost four years after its first flight.
Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline mentions the delay in certifying the aircraft He said he did not expect any 777X deliveries until 2024.
in fact That was the first global provider. Four years later, the 777X is finally ready.