The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Boeing to begin the certification flight-test programme for its 737 Max 10, moving the manufacturer closer to completing the aircraft’s long-delayed certification effort.
This week, the FAA granted Boeing a “type inspection authorisation” for the Max 10, Boeing executives say in a 22 November memo to employees.
The authorisation clears “the way for the airplane to begin certification flight testing” and allows FAA pilots to participate in those tests, says the memo, viewed by FlightGlobal. “This is a significant milestone as we work to get the 737-10, the largest airplane in the 737 Max family, certified to enter passenger service with operators around the world.”
The FAA issues type inspection authorisations after determining that an in-development aircraft likely meets certification requirements. The documents authorise certification flight testing.
Boeing has yet to achieve certification for either the Max 10 (the largest Max variant) or the Max 7 (the smallest). The programmes suffered delays following two 737 Max 8 crashes and the resulting global grounding of the Max 8 and Max 9 between March 2019 and November 2020.
Those events led to heightened certification oversight by the FAA.
Boeing has said it expects to deliver the first Max 10 next year. It anticipates achieving the Max 7’s certification this year and to also begin delivering that type next year.
Boeing completed the Max 10’s first flight on 18 June 2021 and has since completed more than 400 flights and logged nearly 1,000h of flight time.
“The 737-10 has performed well in our own rigorous test programme,” says Boeing’s 22 November letter to employees.
The 737 Max 10 will be capable of carrying up to 230 passengers and will have 3,100nm (5,741km) of range, according to Boeing.
The type has proved a recent strong seller for Boeing, which holds unfilled orders for 963 737 Max 10s, its data show. Airlines to place sizeable orders for the type include Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Ryanair, United Airlines and Vietjet, according to Cirium fleets data.
Three Boeing executives signed the 22 November letter: senior vice-president of development programmes and customer support Mike Fleming, vice-president and general manager of the 737 programme Ed Clark, and vice-president and general manager of test and evaluation Wayne Tygert.