NIAR WERX and KMC receive FAA acceptance for 777 conversion certification plan

Kansas Modification Center (KMC) and WERX, part of Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research, have received FAA acceptance of the certification plan for the 777-300ERCF passenger to freighter FAA Supplemental Type Certificate program.

This acceptance is the culmination of several months of direct coordination between the FAA, NIAR WERX and KMC, indicating agreement on design, modification, and certification approach specifications for the program.

“The KMC and NIAR WERX team has achieved another monumental milestone for Wichita State and the state of Kansas, said NIAR WERX executive director Dave Jones. “I’m beyond proud of them and their incredible efforts to consistently achieve critical program milestones.”

FAA acceptance of the certification plan reduces program risk by enabling design and analysis teams at NIAR WERX to work to stable requirements, minimizing the possibility of a major redesign due to a change in the certification approach and associated schedule delays.

Recently NIAR WERX and KMC began testing of a full-scale demonstrator cargo door for the 777-300ER conversion.  Multiple other conversion structures and assemblies are in fabrication.

Last year, Backbone Freighter Leasing confirmed three firm orders for the freighters with deliveries in 2024 and 2025, and options for seven additional conversions in 2025, 2026 and 2027. The order and options total in value over $300 million.

WERX has staffed up to more than 700 employees, including 55 student technicians, currently enrolled at WSU Tech and pursuing Airframe and Powerplant mechanic certification.