Citing a serious flight test incident and lack of design maturity, FAA slows Boeing 777X certification.
In a sternly worded letter dated May 13, which was reviewed by The Seattle Times, the FAA warned Boeing it may have to increase the number of test flights planned and that certification realistically is now more than two years out, probably in late 2023.
The FAA cited a long litany of concerns, including a serious flight control incident during a test flight on Dec. 8, 2020, when the plane experienced an “uncommanded pitch event” — meaning the nose of the aircraft pitched abruptly up or down without input from the pilots.
Boeing has yet to satisfy the FAA that it has fully understood and corrected what went wrong that day.
An FAA official, who asked not to be identified in order to speak freely, said the drag on 777X certification is now “the subject of a lot of attention” at high levels both within the agency and at Boeing.
That could push the jet’s entry into commercial service into early 2024, four years later than originally planned.