Boeing 737 MAX

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Boeing 737 MAX
Boeing 737-8 MAX N8704Q rotated.jpg
Boeing 737 MAX during a flight display
Role Narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes
First flight January 29, 2016[1]
Introduction May 22, 2017 with Malindo Air[2]
Status In service
Primary users Southwest Airlines
Lion Air
Norwegian Air International
flydubai
Produced 2014–present[3]
Number built 49 as of November 2017[4]
Program cost airframe only: $1-1.8 billion, including engine development: $2-3B[5]
Unit cost
737-7: US$92.2 million[6]
737-8: US$112.4 million[6]
737-8-200: US$115.4 million[6]
737-9: US$119.2 million[6]
737-10: US$124.7 million[7]
Developed from Boeing 737 Next Generation

The Boeing 737 MAX is an American narrow-body aircraft series designed and produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, succeeding the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG). The program was launched on August 30, 2011.[8] The first flight was on January 29, 2016.[1] It gained FAA certification on March 9, 2017.[9] The first delivery was a MAX 8 on May 6, 2017 to Malindo Air,[10] which debuted it on May 22, 2017.[2]

The 737 MAX is based on earlier 737 designs but re-engined with more efficient CFM International LEAP-1B powerplants along with aerodynamic improvements, most notably split-tip winglets, and airframe modifications. It is offered in four lengths, the 737 MAX 7, MAX 8 and MAX 9 replacing the 737-700, -800 and -900, and a further stretched MAX 10, typically offering 138 to 230 seats and a 3,215 to 3,825 nmi (5,954 to 7,084 km) range. As of November 2017, the Boeing 737 MAX has received 4,065 firm orders.[4]

Development

Background

In 2006, Boeing started considering the replacement of the 737 with a "clean-sheet" design that could follow the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.[11] In June 2010, a decision on this replacement was postponed into 2011.[12]

On December 1, 2010, Boeing's competitor, Airbus, launched the Airbus A320neo family to improve fuel burn and operating efficiency with new engines: the CFM International LEAP and Pratt & Whitney PW1000G.[13] In February 2011, Boeing’s CEO Jim McNerney maintained "We're going to do a new airplane."[14] At the March 2011 ISTAT conference, BCA President James Albaugh was not sure about a 737 re-engine, like Boeing CFO James A. Bell stated at JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defence conference the same month.[15] The A320neo gathered 667 commitments at the June 2011 Paris Air Show for a backlog of 1,029 units since its launch, setting an order record for a new commercial airliner.[16]

On July 20, 2011, American Airlines announced an order for 460 narrowbody jets including 130 A320ceos and 130 A320neos, and intended to order 100 re-engined 737s with CFM LEAPs, pending Boeing confirmation.[17] The order broke Boeing's monopoly with the airline and forced Boeing into a re-engined 737.[18] As this sale included a Most-Favoured-Customer Clause, the European airframer has to refund any difference to American if it sells to another airline at a lower price, so Airbus can not give a competitive price to competitor United Airlines, leaving it to a Boeing-skewed fleet.[19]

Program launch

On August 30, 2011, Boeing's board of directors approved the launch of the re-engined 737, expecting a 16% lower fuel burn than the Airbus A320ceo and 4% lower than the A320neo.[8] Studies for additional drag reduction were being performed as of 2011, including revised tail cone, natural laminar flow nacelle, and hybrid laminar flow vertical stabilizer.[20] Boeing abandoned the development of a new design.[21] Boeing expects the 737 MAX to meet or exceed the range of the Airbus A320neo.[22] Firm configuration for the 737 MAX was scheduled for 2013.[23]

In March 2010, the estimated cost to re-engine the 737 by Mike Bair, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president of business strategy & marketing, would be $2–3 billion including the CFM engine development and during Boeing Q2 2011 earnings call, former CFO James Bell said the development cost for the airframe only would be 10%-15% of the cost of a new program estimated at $10-$12 billion at the time [$1-1.8 billion] - while Bernstein Research on 23 January 2012 concluded this will be twice that of the Airbus A320neo.[5]

Fuel consumption is reduced by 14% from the 737NG.[24] In November 2014, Boeing Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney said the 737 will be replaced by a new airplane by 2030, slightly bigger and with new engines but keeping its general configuration, probably a composite airplane.[25]

Production

Boeing 737 MAX roll-out in December 2015, featuring the first 737 MAX 8

On August 13, 2015 the first 737 MAX fuselage completed assembly at Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas, for a test aircraft and eventually be delivered to launch customer Southwest Airlines.[26] On December 8, 2015, the first 737 MAX, a -8 named "Spirit of Renton", was rolled out at the Boeing Renton Factory.[27][28]

As GKN could not produce the titanium honeycomb inner walls for the thrust reversers quickly enough, Boeing switched to a composite part produced by Spirit to deliver 47 MAXs per month in 2017. Spirit supplies 70% of the 737 airframe including the fuselage, thrust reverser, engine pylons, nacelle and wing leading edges.[29] A new spar assembly line with robotic drilling machines should increase throughput by 33%, following the Electroimpact automated panel assembly line which sped up the wing lower skin assembly by 35%.[30] Boeing plans to increase its 737 monthly production rate from 42 in 2017 to 57 by 2019.[31]

Flight Testing

The first flight took place on January 29, 2016, nearly 49 years after the maiden flight of the 737 on April 9, 1967.[1] The first Max 8, 1A001, was used for aerodynamic trials: flutter testing, stability and control, and takeoff performance-data verification, before it was modified for an operator and delivered. 1A002 was used for performance and engine testing: climb and landing performance, crosswind, noise, cold weather, high altitude, fuel burn and water-ingestion. Aircraft systems including autoland were tested with 1A003. 1A004, with an airliner layout, flew function-and-reliability certification for 300h with a light flight-test instrumentation.[32]

The 737 MAX gained FAA certification on March 8, 2017.[9] It was approved by the EASA on March 27, 2017.[33] After completing 2,000 test flight hours and 180-minute ETOPS testing requiring 3,000 simulated flight cycles in April 2017, CFM International notified Boeing of a possible manufacturing quality issue with low pressure turbine (LPT) discs in LEAP-1B engines.[34] Boeing suspended the 737 MAX flights on May 4,[10] and resumed flights on May 12.[35]

Introduction

The first delivery was a MAX 8, handed over to Malindo Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) on May 16, 2017; it entered service on May 22.[2] Norwegian Air subsidiary Norwegian Air International was the second airline to put a 737 MAX into service, when it performed its first transatlantic flight with a MAX 8 named Sir Freddie Laker on July 15, 2017 between Edinburgh Airport In Scotland and Hartford International Airport in the US state of Connecticut, followed by a second rotation from Edinburgh to Stewart Airport, New York.[36]

Boeing aims to match the 99.7% dispatch reliability of the NG.[37] Southwest Airlines, the launch customer, took delivery of its first 737 MAX on August 29, 2017.[38] Boeing plans to deliver at least 50 to 75 aircraft in 2017, 10-15% of the more than 500 737s to be delivered in the year.[10]

Design

In summer of 2011, the objective was to match the A320neo 15% fuel burn advantage, but the initial reduction was 10-12%; it was later enhanced to 14.5%: the fan was widened from 61 in to 69.4 by raising the nose gear and placing the engine higher and forward, the split winglet added 1-1.5%, a relofted tail cone 1% more and electronically controlling the bleed air system improves efficiency.[39]

Engines

LEAP mockup

In 2011, the Leap-1B was initially 10-12% more efficient than the previous 156 cm (61 in) CFM56-7B of the 737NG.[40] The 18-blade, woven carbon-fiber fan enables a 9:1 bypass ratio from 5.1 with the previous 24-blade titanium fan for a 40% smaller noise footprint.[24] The two-shaft design has a low-pressure section comprising the fan and three booster stages driven by five axial turbine stages and a high-pressure section with a 10-stage axial compressor driven by a two-stage turbine.[24] The 41:1 overall pressure ratio, increased from 28:1 and advanced hot-section materials enabling higher operating temperatures permit a 15% reduction in thrust specific fuel consumption (TSFC) along 20% lower carbon emissions, 50% lower nitrogen-oxide emissions, but each weighs 849 lb (385 kg) more at 6,129 lb (2,780 kg).[24]

In August 2011, Boeing had to choose between 66 in (168 cm) or 68 in (173 cm) fan diameters necessitating few landing gear changes to maintain a 17 in (43 cm) ground clearance beneath the new engines and Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive officer Jim Albaugh stated "with a bigger fan you get more efficiency because of the bypass ratio [but also] more weight and more drag", with more airframe changes.[41] The smaller Leap-1B engine will weigh less and have a lower frontal area but a lower bypass ratio leading to a higher thrust specific fuel consumption than the 78 in (200 cm) Leap-1A of the A320neo.[citation needed]

In November 2011, Boeing selected the larger fan diameter, necessitating a 6–8 in (15–20 cm) longer nose landing gear.[42][43] In May 2012, Boeing further enlarged the fan to 69.4 in (176 cm), paired with a smaller engine core within minor design changes before the mid-2013 final configuration.[44]

The nacelle features chevrons for noise reduction like the 787.[45] A new bleed air digital regulator will improve its reliability.[46] The larger engine is cantilevered ahead of and slightly above the wing, and the laminar flow engine nacelle lipskin is a GKN Aerospace one-piece, spun-formed aluminum sheet inspired by the 787.[30]

Aerodynamic improvements

Boeing's new "split tip" winglet on the 737 MAX

The split tip wingtip device is designed to maximize lift while staying in the same ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code letter C gates as current 737s. It traces its design to the McDonnell Douglas MD-12 1990s twin-deck concept, proposed for similar gate restrictions before the Boeing merger.[47] It should deliver at least 1.5% improvements in fuel economy or even more if the proposed laminar flow surface treatment meets expectations. A MAX 8 with 162 passengers on a 3,000 nmi (5,600 km) mission will have up to a 1.8% better fuel burn than a blended-winglet-equipped aircraft and even 1% over 500 nmi (930 km) at Mach 0.79.[47]

The new winglet is 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) high.[30] Other improvements include a re-contoured tail cone, revised auxiliary power unit inlet and exhaust, aft-body vortex generators removal and other small aerodynamic improvements.[24] Aviation Partners offers a similar "Split-Tip Scimitar" winglet for previous 737NGs.[48] It resembles a three-way hybrid between a blended winglet, wingtip fence, and raked wingtip.

Structural changes and other improvements

The 8 in (20 cm) taller nose-gear strut keeps the same 17 in (43 cm) ground clearance of the engine nacelles.[24] New struts and nacelles for the heavier engines add bulk, the main landing gear and supporting structure are beefier, and fuselage skins are thicker in some places for a 6,500 lb (2,900 kg) increase to the MAX 8's empty aircraft weight.[24] To preserve fuel and payload capacity, its maximum takeoff weight is 7,000 lb (3,200 kg) heavier.[24]

Rockwell Collins will supply four 15.1-inch (380 mm) landscape liquid crystal displays (LCD), as used on the 787 Dreamliner, to improve pilots' situational awareness and efficiency.[49] Boeing plans no major modifications for the 737 MAX flight deck, as it wants to maintain commonality with the 737 Next Generation family. Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh said in 2011 that adding more fly-by-wire control systems would be "very minimal".[50] Most of the systems are carried from the 737NG for a short differences-training course to upgrade flight crews.[24]

The 737 MAX extended spoilers are fly-by-wire controlled.[30] As production standard, the 737 MAX will feature the Boeing Sky Interior with overhead bins and LED lighting based on the Boeing 787's interior.[51]

Variants

The -700, -800 and -900ER, the most widespread versions of the previous 737NG,[4] are replaced by the 737 MAX 7, MAX 8 and MAX 9, respectively[52] (FAA type certificate: 737-7, -8, and -9[9]). The 737-9 is scheduled to enter service in 2018, followed by the 737-7 in January 2019, the 737 Max 200 in 2019 and the 737-10 in 2020.[53]

737 MAX 7

Originally based on the 737-700, Boeing announced the redesign of the MAX 7 derived from the MAX 8 at the July 2016 Farnborough Air Show, accommodating two more seat rows than the 737-700 for 138 seats, up 12 seats.[54][55] The redesign uses the 737-8 wing and landing gear; a pair of overwing exits rather than the single-door configuration; a 46-inch longer aft fuselage and a 30-inch longer forward fuselage; structural re-gauging and strengthening; and systems and interior modifications to accommodate the longer length.[56]

Boeing plans to improve its range from 3,850 nmi (4,430 mi; 7,130 km) to 3,915 nmi (4,505 mi; 7,251 km) after 2021.[57] The first 65 ft (19.8 m) wing spar for the 737-7 entered production in October 2017.[53] The first flight-test aircraft was positioned in final-assembly on 22 November 2017.[58] The first wing and body should be joined in December 2017.[59]

Entry into service with launch operator Southwest Airlines is expected in January 2019.[53] Entry into service with WestJet will follow shortly, with 5 deliveries expected in 2019.[60] Customers for the aircraft include Southwest Airlines (30), WestJet (23), Canada Jetlines (5) and ILFC Aviation (5).[4]

737 MAX 8

A top view of the MAX 8 showing double overwing exits

The first variant developed in the 737 MAX series, the MAX 8 will replace the 737-800 with a longer fuselage than the MAX 7. Boeing plans to improve its range from 3,515 nmi (4,045 mi; 6,510 km) to 3,610 nmi (4,150 mi; 6,690 km) after 2021.[57] On July 23, 2013, Boeing completed the firm configuration for the 737 MAX 8.[61] The Max 8 has a lighter empty weight and higher maximum takeoff weight than the A320neo and in cruise at 140,500 lb (63,700 kg), it burns 4,460 lb (2,020 kg) per hour at Mach 0.78 (450 kn; 833 km/h) and FL350, at a suboptimal flight level and forward center of mass.[24] Its first commercial flight was operated by Malindo Air on May 22, 2017 between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore as Flight OD803.[2]

737 MAX 200

In September 2014, Boeing launched a high density version of the 737 MAX 8, the 737 MAX 200, named for seating for up to 200 passengers in a single-class high-density configuration with slimline seats; an extra exit door is required because of the higher passenger capacity. Boeing states that this version will be 20% more cost efficient per seat than current 737 models, and will be the most efficient narrow-body on the market when delivered, including 5% lower operating costs than the 737 MAX 8.[62][63] Three of eight galley trolleys are removed to accommodate more passenger space.[64] A 100 aircraft order with Ryanair was completed on December 1, 2014.[65] It should enter service in the second quarter of 2019.[66]

Proposed 737-8ERX

Airlines have been shown a 737-8ERX concept based on the 737 MAX 8 with a higher 194,700 lb (88.3 t) maximum take-off weight using wings, landing gear and central section from the MAX 9 to provide a longer range of 4,000 nautical miles (4,600 mi; 7,400 km) with seating for 150, closer to the Airbus A321LR.[67]

737 MAX 9

737 MAX 9 first flight

The 737 MAX 9 will replace the 737-900 with a longer fuselage than the MAX 8. Boeing plans to improve its range from 3,510 nmi (4,040 mi; 6,500 km) to 3,605 nmi (4,149 mi; 6,676 km) after 2021.[57] Lion Air is the launch customer with an order for 201 in February 2012.[30] It made its roll-out on March 7 and first flight on April 13, 2017.[68] It took off from Renton Municipal Airport and landed at Boeing Field after a 2 hr 42 min flight.[69] It was presented at the 2017 Paris Air Show.[59]

Boeing 737-9 flight tests should end with 2017, with 30% of the -8 tests repeated: aircraft 1D001 is used for autoland, avionics, flutter, and mostly stability-and-control trials; while 1D002 is used for environment control system testing.[32] It should be certified in early 2018,[59] and enter service in the first quarter of 2018.[66]

737 MAX 10

737 MAX 10 rendering

To compete with the Airbus A321neo, loyal customers such as Korean Air and United Airlines pressed Boeing to develop a larger variant than the MAX 9 which Boeing revealed studies of in early 2016.[70] As the MAX 9 has been outsold five-to-one, the proposed MAX 10 included a larger engine, stronger wing, and telescoping landing gear in mid-2016.[71] In September 2016, it was reported that the variant would be simpler and lower-risk with a modest stretch of 6–7 ft (1.83–2.13 m) for a length of 143–144 ft (43.6–43.9 m), seating 12-18 more passengers for 192-198 in dual class or 226-232 in single class, needing an uprated 31,000 lbf (140 kN) CFM LEAP-1B that could be available by 2019 or 2020 and would likely require a simple landing gear modification to move the rotation point slightly aft.[72]

In October 2016, Boeing's board granted authority to offer the stretched variant with two extra fuselage sections forward and aft with a 3,100 nautical miles (3,600 mi; 5,700 km) range reduced from 3,300 nautical miles (3,800 mi; 6,100 km) of the -9.[70] In early 2017, Boeing showed a 66 in (1.7 m) stretch to 143 feet (44 m), enabling seating for 230 in a single class or 189 in two-class capacity, compared to 193 in two-class seating for the A321neo. The modest stretch of the MAX 10 enables the aircraft to retain the existing wing and CFM Leap 1B engine from the MAX 9 with a trailing-link main landing gear as the only major change.[73] Boeing 737 MAX Vice President and General Manager Keith Leverkuhn says the design has to be frozen in 2018 for a 2020 introduction.[70]

Boeing prospects 737-900 operators and 737 Max 9 customers like United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Lion Air, and Chinese airlines will be interested in the new variant.[74] Boeing predicts a 5% lower trip cost and seat cost compared to the A321neo.[75] Air Lease Corporation wants it a year sooner; its CEO John Pleuger stated "It would have been better to get the first airplane in March 2019, but I don't think that's possible".[76] AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly is cautious and said the -9 and -10 "will cannibalize each other".[70]

As it progressed towards a telescopic semi-levered main landing gear design like the 777 and 787-10, Boeing anticipated a launch at the June 2017 Paris Airshow for a total market of 1,000 airplanes.[77] Lion Air is a possible launch customer at this Air Show with United Airlines, Norwegian or Spicejet are cited as interested, but commitments could be conversions of existing orders rather than new sales.[78] Ryanair is expected to hold out for the best possible price before placing an order.[79] Its configuration should be firmed in December 2017.[59]

The MAX 10 was launched on June 19, 2017 with 240 orders and commitments from more than 10 customers.[80][81] United Airlines will be the largest 737 MAX 10 customer, converting 100 of their 161 orders for the MAX 9 into orders for the MAX 10.[82] Boeing ended the 2017 Paris Air Show with 361 orders and commitments, including 214 conversions, from 16 customers,[83] including 50 orders from Lion air.[84] Its configuration should be firmed up in the months coming after November 2017, and its modified landing gear will require additional flight-testing.[32]

Boeing Business Jet

The BBJ MAX 8 and BBJ MAX 9 are proposed business jets variants of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 9 with new CFM LEAP-1B engines and advanced winglets providing 13% better fuel burn than the Boeing Business Jet; the BBJ MAX 8 will have a 6,325 nmi (7,279 mi; 11,714 km) range and the BBJ MAX 9 a 6,255 nmi (7,198 mi; 11,584 km) range.[85] The BBJ MAX 7 was unveiled in October 2016 with a 7,000 nmi (8,100 mi; 13,000 km) range and 10% lower operating costs than the original BBJ while being larger.[86] The MAX BBJ 8 should be delivered to the modification center in the first quarter of 2018.[66]

Orders and deliveries

Initially, the customers for the 737 MAX were not disclosed, except for American Airlines. On November 17, 2011, Boeing released the names of two other customers – Lion Air and SMBC Aviation Capital. At that time, Boeing reported 700 commitments from 9 customers for the 737 MAX.[87][88] On December 13, 2011, Southwest Airlines ordered 150 737 MAX aircraft with 150 options.[89]

By December 2011, Boeing had 948 commitments and firm orders from 13 customers for the 737 MAX.[90] On September 8, 2014, Ryanair signed an agreement with Boeing to purchase up to 200 new Boeing 737 MAX 200 "gamechanger" aircraft - comprising 100 firm orders and 100 options.[91] In January 2017, aircraft leasing company GECAS ordered 75 more 737 MAX 8 airliners.[92]

As of November 2017, Boeing had 4,065 firm orders from 63 identified customers for the 737 MAX,[4] and the top three identified airline customers for the 737 MAX are: Lion Air with 201 orders, Southwest Airlines with 200 orders, and SpiceJet with 142 orders.[4] The first new series aircraft, a MAX 8, was delivered to Malindo Air on May 16, 2017.[10]


Boeing 737 MAX orders and deliveries
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total
Orders 150 908 708 890 409 540 420 4,065
Deliveries 49 49

As of November 30, 2017[4]

Cumulative Boeing 737 MAX orders and deliveries

Orders

Deliveries

As of November 30, 2017[4]


Specifications

737 MAX Brochure[66]
Variant 737 MAX 7 737 MAX 8 / MAX 200 737 MAX 9 737 MAX 10[93]
Seating 138 (8J + 130Y) to 172 max 162 (12J + 150Y) to 200 max 178 (16J + 162Y) to 220 max 188 to 230 max
Seat pitch 28–29 in (71–74 cm) in high density, 31–32 in (79–81 cm) in economy, 36 in (91 cm) in business
Cargo capacity 1,146 cu.ft / 32.45 m³ 1,543 cu.ft / 43.69 m³ 1,814 cu.ft / 51.37 m³
Length 116 ft 8 in / 35.56 m 129 ft 6 in / 39.47 m 138 ft 2 in / 42.11 m 143 ft 8 in / 43.8 m
Wingspan 117 ft 10 in / 35.92 m
Wing Area 1,370 sq ft (127 m2) [9]
Overall height[94] 40 ft 4 in / 12.3 m
Maximum takeoff weight 177,000 lb / 80,286 kg 181,200 lb / 82,191 kg 194,700 lb / 88,314 kg
Maximum landing weight 145,600 lb / 66,043 kg 152,800 lb / 69,309 kg 163,900 lb / 74,344 kg
Maximum zero fuel weight 138,700 lb / 62,913 kg 145,400 lb / 65,952 kg 156,500 lb / 70,987 kg
Operating empty weight[95] 99,360 lb / 45,070 kg
Fuel capacity 6,820 USgal / 25,817 L, excluding ACT
Engine (× 2) CFM International LEAP-1B, 69 in (175 cm) Fan diameter[96]
Thrust (× 2) 26,786–29,317 lbf (119–130 kN)[9]
Cruising speed Mach 0.79 (453 kn; 839 km/h)[97]
Range (2-class)[94] 3,825 nmi (7,084 km) 3,515 nmi (6,510 km)
MAX 200: 2,700 nmi (5,000 km)[98]
3,515 nmi (6,510 km) 3,215 nmi / 5,960 km
Ceiling 41,000 ft (12,000 m)[9]
ICAO Type[99] B37M B38M B39M

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

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External links