Boeing Accelerates 737 Max Development
Boeing has shifted its 737 Max schedules to reflect first delivery of the Max 8 to Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017, as early as six months ahead of the original plan, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager Scott Fancher revealed here in Paris yesterday. As a result, schedules for the Max 9 and Max 7 would also shift by at least a quarter. The company expects the program to reach firm design configuration in July. “The risks are understood, they’re being managed effectively and we have no serious technical issues to deal with,” said Fancher.
Although he wouldn’t go into detail about how the company planned for the eventuality, Fancher declined to talk about the potential for derailing plans to switch production from the 737NG to the Max late in the decade, but insisted the shift would result in no incremental increase to the risk to the system.
Wind-tunnel testing has shown that the Max will burn 13 percent less fuel than the 737-800, due to the introduction of new CFM Leap-1B turbofans and aerodynamic improvements including so-called advanced technology winglets. The dual-feather winglets, which feature upward and downward-directed composite airfoils joined with a metallic center piece, would contribute at least 1.5 percent, according to 737 Max vice president of marketing Joe Ozimek. “Our idea with this airplane was to build a fuel [savings] machine,” said Ozimek. “The whole sense of this was ‘let’s improve the economics of the airplane by working on fuel burn.’”
Meanwhile, Aviation Partners Boeing has launched the split-scimitar winglet program for the Boeing 737-900ER with an order from United Airlines. The split-scimitar winglet modifies the existing blended winglet with a new cap section, and adds a ventral strake. Aviation Partners Boeing estimates that a 900ER equipped with the winglets will save around 57,000 gallons of fuel over the course of a year.