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Boeing is shifting engineers away from X-66A development

To keep Max and 777X on track, the company risks getting further from an all-new airplane

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Release Date
June 20, 2024
Boeing is shifting engineers away from X-66A development

Boeing is re-assigning engineers to support its current commercial development programs and accelerate deliveries of existing airplanes in an effort to staunch the temporal bleeding of those development programs as schedules slip further into the decade, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

While Boeing continues to hire, engineers are being drawn to support the 737-7, 737-10, 777-9 and 777-8 freighter programs currently on the company’s plate. Boeing is pulling engineers from around the enterprise, including its high-profile X-66A, the company’s signature transonic truss-braced wing (TTBW) technology demonstrator with NASA, according to a recent memo from top technical leaders to program staff reviewed by The Air Current.

Related: NASA gives Boeing a second shot at reshaping commercial aviation

The TTBW configuration has drawn substantial interest from both Boeing and NASA as its Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) and a pathway to a next generation single-aisle aircraft in the 2030s. That airplane, forged from a heavily modified McDonnell Douglas MD-90, is currently slated to fly in 2028 — a date that could be at risk with this diversion of engineering expertise.

“X-66 holds tremendous promise for the future of commercial aircraft and the learnings to date have bolstered our interest,” wrote Todd Citron, Boeing CTO; Mike Sinnett, vice president of product development and David Loffing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief engineer in the memo. “At the same time, it is critically important that we meet our commitment to customers on 737-7, 737-10, 777-9 and 777-8F and on airplane deliveries.”

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