A Milestone Year

This jet, N8703J (c/n 42556), is one of four aircraft that have been used for flight and certification testing of the 737 MAX 8. Boeing

Fifty years after the prototype made its first flight from Renton on April 9, 1967, Boeing 737s continue to roll out of the Renton factory in Seattle at a high rate. Currently 42 are produced every month, and there plans to ramp up production to 47 a month during 2017 and then to 52 a month in 2018.

Beyond the significant anniversary and the output increase, 2017 is also significant for the 737 because this year will see Boeing deliver the first customer 737 MAX 8. The MAX is the fourth generation of the 737 – following on from the early 737-100 and 737-200 versions, the ‘Classic’ variants (737-300, 737-400 and 737-500) built from 1984 to 2000 and the Next Generation models (737-600, 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900ER) produced since the late 1990s.

The fact that the first MAX will enter service in the 737’s golden jubilee year is not just neat historical symmetry, but also a testament to the longevity of the 737’s design. The MAX means this very familiar aircraft is set to be around for a long time to come – more than 3,300 examples have been ordered by customers worldwide.

This supplement looks at some of the key aspects of the MAX – the aircraft, its systems and its engines – as certification and service entry of this latest, refreshed 737 approaches.