The Boeing 737 Aircraft:
(In this photo: a Boeing 737 airplane)
An overview of the history and facts about the Boeing 737 Airplane.
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The Boeing 737 first took to the skies in February 1968 in service with Lufthansa, and is the best selling jet airliner in history. Currently the twin-engine 737 series competes on the market with the Airbus A320 family, and is the primary aircraft flown by Southwest Airlines, Continental Airlines, some European airlines, and Alaska Airlines.
The early days of the 737
The 737-100, first ordered in February 1965, and delivered in February 1968, has a length of 94 feet from the nose to the tip of the horizontal stabilizer, while the 737-200, first ordered in April 1965 for service with United Airlines, has a length of 100 feet, 2 inches.
(In this photo: A Boeing 737-200)
The 737-200 started operating in April 1968 and still remains active with smaller airline fleets (in developing nations for example). The original Boeing prototype of the 737-100 is on exhibit at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.
The Boeing 737 "Classic Series"
(Boeing 737: airplane walkaround, cockpit preparation, taxi & takeoff in the Boeing 737)
The 737-300, which was ordered in March 1981 for Southwest Airlines and US Air, is 109 feet, 7 inches in length, and features an increased payload and range, along with newer aerodynamic and engine technologies. The wing and stabilizer spans of the 737-300 were also increased. The 737-300 entered service in December 1984, and remained in production until 1999.
Classic 737 cockpit
Cargo Boeing 737
While the 737-400 is 120 inches longer than the 737-300, it was
primarily intended for use by charter airlines. Alaska Airlines also
modified a 737-400 to create an all cargo aircraft.
Meanwhile the 737-500, which entered service in 1990 with Southwest Airlines, is actually a shortened version of the 737-300, with a length of 101 feet, 9 inches. It proved to be a more modern replacement for the 737-200, and was also an economical choice preferred over the 737-300.
Produced between 1984 and 2000, 1,988 "Classic" aircraft were manufactured and delivered to customers worldwide.
(Boeing 737 cockpit video: Boeing 737 EFIS cockpit systems and operation + 2 landings)
The Boeing 737NG "Next Generation"
The 737-600, the direct replacement of the 737-500, has been in service with Scandinavian Airlines since 1998, and measures in at 102 feet, 6 inches in length. The 737-600 has the same fuselage as the 737-500 but can fly longer distances due to new wing, stabilizer, and tail sections. The 737-600 is the only 737 still in production that does not include winglets as an option. A Next Generation 737 unit cost ranges from $51 to $87 million depending on the configuration and extra options.
Southwest Airlines placed their order for the 737-700 in November 1993, although it wasn't delivered until 1997. It entered service in January 1998. It measures in at 110 feet, 4 inches in length, and fully replaced the 737-300 on the production line. The 737-700C is a conversion bought by the US Navy to carry cargo. The 737-700ER (extended range) entered service in 2007 with All Nippon Airways.
In 1998 the 737-800 replaced the fleet of aging Boeing 727-200's as well as MD-80 series and MD-90 aircraft. The P-8 Poseidon is actually a 737-800ERX extended range variant that will soon be replacing the US Navy's P-3 Orion.
Boeing 737 NG Cockpit
Boeing 737 Next Gen
737 Passenger Cabin
The 737-900, which entered service in 2001 with Alaska Airlines, is the longest and most powerful 737 to date, although shortcomings in passenger seat configurations and fuel capacity initially prevented it from competing with the Airbus A321. Soon after the 737-900ER was introduced to directly compete with the Airbus A321, and started service in April 2007.
(Boeing 737NG cockpit overview: A look inside the new Boeing 737 cockpit)
In 2017, Boeing plans to start deliveries of it's Boeing 737 MAX which will essentially modify and replace the existing models and the new aircraft will be called 737-9, 737-8 and 737-7 insdead of 737-800 and so on. The MAX versions will be the fourth generation of the Boeing 737 family and will incorporate a few changes to the aircraft airframe and use new CFM-LEAP-1B engines. The engine will have a bigger fan and the airframe will have changes made to the landing gear, new wingtips to increase fuel economy and there will also be more fly-by-wire systems incorporated in the 737 MAX (fly-by-wire spoiler controls is one example). Boeing plans to keep the flight deck of the new 737 aircraft the same as it currently is on latest 737 NG models.
Since 1996, over 3,172 737 "Next Generation" aircraft have been manufactured and delivered to customers worldwide. As of December 31, year 2012 a total of over 7,400 Boeing 737 aircraft (in different variants) have been built and delivered worldwide. About 3,000 units are yet to be delivered to different Boeing 737 costumers. It is also said that on average, at any given time there are around 1,200 Boeing 737 aircraft airborne worldwide.