The Boeing [NYSE: BA] 737 MAX 8 took to the skies for the first time. The 737 MAX program achieved the milestone on schedule which begins a comprehensive flight-test program leading to certification and delivery.
With the latest technology LEAP-1B engines from CFM International and Boeing-designed Advanced Technology winglets, the first member of the efficient 737 MAX family completed a two-hour, 47-minute flight, taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Wash., at 9:46 a.m. local time and landing at 12:33 p.m. at Seattle’s Boeing Field.
“Today’s first flight of the 737 MAX carries us across the threshold of a new century of innovation – one driven by the same passion and ingenuity that have made this company great for 100 years,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Conner. “We are tremendously proud to begin testing an airplane that will deliver unprecedented fuel efficiency in the single-aisle market for our customers.”
During the flight, 737 MAX Chief Pilot Ed Wilson and Boeing Chief Test Pilot and Vice President of Flight Operations Craig Bomben departed to the north, reaching a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) and an airspeed of 250 knots, or about 288 miles (463 kilometers) per hour typical of a first flight sequence. While Capts. Wilson and Bomben tested the airplane’s systems and structures, onboard equipment transmitted real-time data to a flight-test team on the ground in Seattle.
“The flight was a success,” said Wilson. “The 737 MAX just felt right in flight giving us complete confidence that this airplane will meet our customers’ expectations.”
With the other three members of the 737 MAX 8 flight-test fleet currently in different stages of final assembly, the 737 MAX remains on track for first delivery to Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017.
The new 737 MAX 8 will deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market with 20 percent lower fuel use than the first Next-Generation 737s – and 8 percent per seat lower operating costs than the A320neo. The 737 MAX 8 is the first member in Boeing’s new family of single-aisle airplanes – the 737 MAX 7, MAX 8, MAX 200 and MAX 9 – to begin flight testing. The 737 MAX will extend the Next-Generation 737 range advantage with the capability to fly more than 3,500 nautical miles (6,510 km), an increase of 340 – 570 nmi (629-1,055 km) over the Next-Generation 737. The 737 MAX family has 3,072 orders from 62 customers worldwide.