First Boeing 737 MAX 8 – What is new?
This week Boeing celebrated the completion of the first 737 MAX 8.
The freshly painted 737 MAX 8, named the Spirit of Renton, will undergo pre-flight preparation in the factory before departing for Renton Field to continue flight test readiness. The airplane is on track for first flight in early 2016. With the second and third 737 MAX 8 flight test airplanes currently in final assembly and the fourth (and final) in sub-assembly, the 737 MAX remains on track for first delivery to launch customer Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017.
The new single-aisle airplane will deliver 20 percent lower fuel use than the first Next-Generation 737s and – according to Boeing calculations – the lowest operating costs with 8 percent per seat less than the Airbus 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 production.
But what actually are the differences to the 737 NGs of today?
1. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines that feature less fuel consumption and up to 40% reduction in noise footprint
2. The 737NG’s wing creates transonic shock waves on the inboard wing at the interface with the engine. The 737 MAX wing’s integration of the Leap engine’s nacelle reduces this drag by 0.5%. In addition, the Leap engine is mounted higher and farther forward of the wing’s leading edge than the CFM-56-7B is on the 737NG’s wing.
3. Newly designed winglets featuring a split tip. The device is a direct descendant of the winglet designed for the McDonnell Douglas MD-12. Resembling a three-way hybrid between a blended winglet, wingtip fence, and raked wingtip.
4. Because of a larger fan diameter of 69.4 in (1.76 m) compared to the 737 NG, the nose landing gear has been lengthened by 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) to maintain the required ground clearance
5. No major modifications for the 737 Max flight deck, as it wants to maintain commonality with the 737 Next Generation family. But the 737 MAX will feature four new large-format display screens supplied by Rockwell Collins. These are 15.1-inch (380 mm) landscape LCD displays, in use on the 787 Dreamliner, that will increase pilots’ situational awareness and efficiency. Boeing also adds more fly-by-wire control systems to the 737 MAX family, such as to the spoilers.
6. External nacelle chevrons for noise reduction, similar to those on the 787 and 747-8
7. A new digital regulator for the engine bleed air systems to improve its reliability
8. 6% lower airframe maintenance costs
9. Larger overhead compartments
Boeing 737 MAX 8 Wiglet
Boeing 737 MAX 8 LEAP-1B engine
Images: (c) Boeing