Boeing 737-7 Certification Work Still in Progress

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DALLAS – The 737-7 completed flight testing in October 2021, but Boeing says it has yet to complete a portion of the aircraft’s certification process.

According to aviationweek.com, the 737-7 is one of three aircraft programs still “currently undertaking amended” work needed for certification, as per a routine exemption petition to the FAA dated March 24.

The type’s certification testing began in March 2018 but was put on hold during the fall to redeploy the flight test team to work on current production models as part of a larger attempt to reduce delivery delays. Additional delays were later incurred due to MCAS rectification work.

In late 2020, Congress passed the Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act, which revamped the FAA oversight process (see more below). This action, of course, came about following the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

The law requires that any airplane certified after December 31 of this year complies with the latest FAA crew alert regulations. According to the Times, the 737 is the only Boeing plane that does not meet the standard.

Originally based on the 737-700, Boeing unveiled the redesign of the 737-7, derived from the 737-8, at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2016, adding two more seat rows for a total of 138 seats, an increase of 12 seats over the 737-700.

With the exception of Southwest Airlines (WN), the Boeing 737-7 has proven to be unpopular with airlines due to its lower efficiency than the larger MAX models. Boeing expected the type to be certified by August 2021 and deliveries to begin in 2022.

The interior of the first 737 MAX test aircraft 1A001. Photo: Boeing

737 MAX Certification Deadlines


Boeing is also up against a tight end-of-year deadline that surrounds the certification of the 737-10, the largest version of the MAX series. Sources at Boeing, at the FAA, and in Congress say that meeting the December 31 deadline will be a challenge.

In a Seattle Times article, a report notes that if the manufacturer misses the certification deadline, it would be required to “substantially revamp” the 737-10’s cockpit systems, an action that Boeing considers “impractical.”

All other Boeing planes except the MAX have the Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS), a centralized cockpit warning system that helps pilots “differentiate, prioritize, and respond to aural and visual warnings, caution, and alerts that activate during flight.” It lets pilots suppress incorrect warnings that could distract them from flying the plane.


Featured image: Boeing 737-7 maiden flight. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

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