Boeing 737 Guide and Specs [2022]: The Baby of the Family

If you’ve been on a short-haul flight, there’s a good chance it’s been in a Boeing 737. The B737 is one of the most successful aircraft in commercial aviation history and has ferried billions of passengers in its lifetime. From 1987 to 2019, the B737 was the highest-selling jetliner in history and still holds the record for the longest production run of any jetliner. 

However, the aircraft’s long and rich history has been marred by controversy, and some passengers even refuse to fly on one anymore. I’d have my reservations about being at the controls of one in 2019. But, what would stop aviators and passengers from trusting the second-highest selling airliner in the world? And why did it fall from grace? 

This guide will cover everything you need to know about the Boeing 737 from inception to production and beyond. Fasten your seatbelts; we’re going to experience some turbulence.  

The B737 Program 

In 1964, Boeing announced that it was planning to expand its line-up of commercial jetliners. Boeing already had a capable and popular B727 Trijet, its short-medium haul jetliner. However, the B727 was only economically viable on shorter routes if it was occupied completely. Boeing wanted an aircraft that could fly short and thin routes (routes not more than 800 nm with fewer passengers). According to the research conducted by Boeing, the new aircraft would carry a maximum of 60 passengers for a distance of 1,000 nm (1,600 km). 

In May of the same year, Boeing started the B737 program and hit the drawing board. Initially, the B737 looked much like its bigger brother, the B727. It had a T-tail design and had dual engines fitted to the aft fuselage. Mounting the engines on the fuselage meant that the structure had to be more rigid, which limited the width of the cabin. 

Chief engineer Joe Sutter moved the engines to the underside of the wings. This design change lightened the load on the fuselage, which allowed it to be wider and accommodate six seats per row. The engines were attached to the wings without the use of pylons. Sutter did this for two reasons.

The use of pylons would have reduced the aerodynamic efficiency of the wing because the gap between the nacelle and wing would disturb the airflow over the underside of the wing, creating excess form drag. Finally, without pylons, the aircraft to be closer to the ground, improving access for maintenance and ground crews. 

The relocation of the engines to the wings meant that a T-tail design was no longer needed. The T-tail design makes the aircraft susceptible to deep stalls at high angles of attack, and the use of a conventional tail eliminated this hazard, increasing the overall safety of the B737.

B737 Original

Boeing 737-100

In February of 1965, the Boeing 737 project was formally launched, and Boeing set aside $150 million ($1.41 billion in today’s money) for the development of the aircraft. Lufthansa made the first order for the B737 and ordered 21 aircraft for $67 million (630 million today). Boeing planned to have the aircraft flying in two years to keep up with the competition.

To save time and money,  the systems, fuselage, and basic design of the wings of the B727 were used to complete the rest of the aircraft. This means the B737 isn’t a clean sheet build like it was supposed to be. The B737 shares more than 50 percent of its flight systems and structure with the B727, with modifications made to accommodate the underwing engines and conventional tail of the B737.

During its development, Boeing increased the seating capacity of the B737 from 60 to 100 after Lufthansa requested the change as the increased seating capacity better suited their needs. On February 10th, 1968, Lufthansa launched the Boeing 737-100 to the world. However, only 30 of the original variant was ever produced. 

The variant that catapulted the B737 to success is the B737-200. This variant was developed alongside the B737-100 after United Airlines put in an order for 50 B737s shortly after Lufthansa made its order. The airline wanted the aircraft to carry more passengers, so Boeing added an extra 6 ft (2 m) by inserting two plugs, one before the wings and another after.

The longer fuselage allowed the increased occupancy of the original B737 by 30 seats in a single class configuration. This model would become a favorite of the airlines and went on to sell a total of 1,114 units, including the military T-34A variants. During its 21-year production run, Boeing would develop the B737-200 further and produce two more commercial variants and a military variant. 

B737 Classic

B737 Classic

Boeing knew it had a winner in the B737 after the sales performance of the B737-200 and began development on the next generation of the aircraft in 1979. This series would be produced from 1981 to 2000 and sold a total of 1,988 units. The Classic series is comprised of the B737-300 and B737-400, which replaced the B737-100 and B737-200, respectively. 

Air travel started to become a viable form of transportation for the masses, and airlines were ferrying more passengers than ever, so Boeing increased the sizes of the B737-300 and B737-400 to match. However, there was a demand for an aircraft that had the same proportions as the B737-200. In response, Boeing produced the B737-500, which is the smallest variant in the series. 

The Classic series is powered exclusively by CFM International CFM56-3 high-bypass ratio engines. The use of high-bypass engines increased the range, performance, and fuel economy. The B737s CFM56-3 engines were derated and produced 20,000 lbf (88.9 kN), a marked improvement over the older Pratt and Whitney JT8D-15A engines. 

B737 Next Generation

B737 Next Generation

The B737 never had a true competitor after Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged until the Airbus A320 arrived. The European manufacturer’s aircraft was technologically superior to the B737 Classic in every possible way and was stealing away market share. Boeing had to act before it was too late. 

The result was the B737 Next Generation (NG), the third iteration of the B737. Though Boeing started on the back foot, the certification process for the NG line was less than a year because the base aircraft was essentially the same. Boeing made sure to innovate enough to keep the B737 ahead of the competition and continued to offer performance enhancement packs throughout the production run. 

The NG series was the first to receive upgraded wings that had a larger area and wingspan. The increased lift capabilities of the new wings meant that Boeing could make the fuselages of the NG line larger without sacrificing performance. CFM International also provided the NG line with a more powerful and fuel-efficient CFM56-7B24 which produced 24,200 lbf (107.0 kN). The engines made the B737-800 more economical per seat than the competing A320.

Boeing also redid the interiors of the B737 with the NG line, both in the cabin and the cockpit. The cockpits now featured digital avionics, while the cabin was upgraded with mood lightning, better lavatories, and an overall increase in space thanks to what Boeing calls Sculpted Sidewalls.

The Classic B737-300, B737-400, and B737-500 were replaced by the Next Generation B737-700, B737-800, and B737-600, respectively. Boeing also added a new variant to the Next Generation line, the B737-900, which was a longer version of the B737-800. 

The B737-700 sold 1,164 units, while the B737-800 sold 5,182. In contrast, the B737-600 sold only 69 units and was dropped from production in 2006. The newer B737-900 was also considered a failure after it sold only 52 units until Boeing relaunched an extended range version with a higher seating capacity and bigger fuel tanks. The ER version would go on to sell 505 units. 

B737 MAX and Fall from Grace

B737 Max

The Boeing 737 MAX series were a response to the Airbus A320neo models. The MAX line was announced in August 2011, and the first variant of the line, the MAX 8, entered into service in 2017. The new B737 line had five models, the MAX 7, MAX8, MAX 200, MAX 9, and MAX 10. 

The B737 crashes and scandal boil down to a flawed corporate culture and the mindset of putting profits before safety and engineering. The source of the problems that plagued the company is rooted in the merger between Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. However, we’ll stick to the actual issues of the aircraft itself. 

Before the Airbus A320neo was announced, Boeing planned a redesign for the B737 MAX line instead of another B737 re-engine because the underlying aircraft was outdated. The base aircraft was designed in 1964, and more than half of it was based on the older B727. However, The A320neo hit the market nine months before the Boeing 737 MAX 8 did, and Boeing was scrambling to meet their timeline to prevent losing ground to Airbus. 

So instead of changing the design of the B737 like the engineers wanted, Boeing decided to re-engine the aircraft with CFM International LEAP 1B-28B1 engines. However, these engines were much larger and heavier than any previous engine fitted to the airframe. Therefore, Boeing had to move the engines further forward, which changed the center of gravity and aerodynamic center of lift on the aircraft. 

To make the MAX 8 respond and fly like the B737-800 it was replacing, Boeing engineers created MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) to run in the background. The system had one function: to pitch the nose of the B737 MAX down when it was approaching a stall.

Before flight tests started, MCAS could only pitch the aircraft down by 0.6 degrees at a time. But the scope was increased after flight tests showed that the stall characteristics of the aircraft were more severe than anticipated. The final iteration of MCAS could pitch the aircraft down 2.5 degrees at a time, nearly five times the amount it was certified for. In addition, MCAS could not be disengaged permanently and would reset every time it was disengaged by control inputs. So after a few applications of 2.5-degree downward pitch, the aircraft will be at its maximum nose down pitch.

B737 MAX

MCAS was never supposed to have so much control; failure of the system was classified as a major failure instead of a hazardous failure. A system that is classified as a major failure requires only a single sensor instead of dual sensors. The excessive level of control and the lack of an additional sensor are the main reasons the MCAS turned out to be deadly. 

To speed up the certification process and have the aircraft share the same type rating, Boeing downplayed both the importance and the level of control MCAS had on the aircraft. Boeing also hide its existence from pilots to prevent the need for additional training, which would make the MAX aircraft less desirable to airlines. 

When the aircraft was launched, pilots and airlines were told no simulator training was necessary to move from a B737NG to a B737 MAX. After its recertification, Boeing stated that pilots would require as much as five hours of training for the aircraft, which is exactly what it tried to avoid. 

The result of Boeing cutting corners and a combination of lack of regulatory oversight resulted in two fatal crashes that claimed the lives of 346 people. The B737 was also grounded for over a year, during which public distrust grew for the aircraft and the manufacturer. 

Boeing’s reputation became irreparable after executives were found guilty of fraud and intentionally misleading the FAA. The company lost billions due to settlements, mass cancellations of orders for the B737 MAX, and the loss of potential sales. 

Today the B737 MAX program is still underway, and the B737 MAX 8 has once again taken to the skies, and orders have picked up again. But the legacy of the B737 family has been forever tainted by corporate greed and poor decisions. 

Specifications

The table below shows the specifications for the most popular variant from its respective generation to show the evolution of the B737 from its launch to the present day. 

Model  Originals (B732) Classic (B733) Next Generation (B738) Max (B737-8)
Exterior Dimensions
Length 100 ft 2 in (30.53 m) 109 ft 7 in (33.40 m) 129 ft 7 in (39.50 m) 129 ft 7 in (39.50 m)
Height 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m) 41  ft 4 in (12.60 m) 40 ft 8 in (12.42 m)
Fuselage Width (3.76 m)
Fineness Ratio 7.92 8.66 10.21
Wingspan 93 ft 0 in (28.35 m) 94 ft 9 in (28.88 m) 112 ft 7 in (34.32 m) 117 ft 9 in (35.9 m)
Wing Sweep 25º 25º 25.02º 25.03º
Wing Area 1098 ft² (102.0 m²) 1,135 ft² (105.4 m²) 1,341 ft² (124.6 m²) 1,367 ft² (127.0 m²)
Wheelbase 37 ft 4 in (11.38 m) 40 ft 8 in (12.40 m) 51 ft 2 in (15.6 m)
Wheel Track 17 ft 2 in (5.23 m) 18 ft 10 in(5.76 m)
Cabin Dimensions
Length 96 ft 11 in(29.54 m) 105 ft 11 (32.30 m) 124 ft 11 in (38.08 m) 128 ft 4 in (39.12 m)
Height 13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)
Width 11ft 7 in (3.53 m)
Volume
Hold Capacity 266.7 ft³ (24.78 m³) 325 ft³ (30.20 m³) 507 ft³ (47.10 m³) 470.38 ft³ (43.70 m³)
Volume Per Pax 2.05 ft³ (0.19 m³) 2.15 ft³ (0.20 m³) 2.69 ft³ (0.25 m³)
Weights
Operating Empty Weight 60,948 lbs (27,646 kg) 72,532 lbs (32,900 kg) 91,447 lbs (41,480 kg) N/A
Maximum Ramp Weight 116,016 lbs (52,615 kg) 125,023 lbs (56,700 kg) 174,670 lbs (79,229 kg) 181,729 lbs (82,417 kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight  128,100 lbs (58,105 kg) 139,500 lbs (63,276 kg) 174,170 ft (79,002 kg) 181,200 lbs (82,191 kg)
Maximum Landing Weight  107,000 lbs (48,534 kg) 116,600 lbs (52,889 kg) 146,274 lbs (66,349 kg) 152,800 lbs (69,309 kg)
Maximum Zero Fuel 99,000 lbs (44,906 kg) 109,500 lbs (49,668 kg) 138,276 lbs (62,721 kg) 145,400 lbs (65,952 kg)
Maximum Payload 34,634 lbs (15,710 kg) 32,639 lbs (14,805 kg) 45,283 lbs (20,540 kg) N/A
Performance
Range 2,645 nm (4,899 km) 2,950 nm (5,463km) 4,000 nm (7,408 km) 3,620 nm (6,704 km)
Maximum Cruise Speed 421 kts (780 kmph) 430 kts (796 kmph) 450 kts (833 kmph)
Cruise Mach Number M0.730 M0.745 M0.785
Maximum Operating Mach Number M0.840 M0.820
Maximum Fuel Capacity 5,151 gal (19,500 l)  5,311 gal (20,105 l) 6,878 gal (26,035 l) 6,816 gal (25,800 l)
Takeoff Distance (SL, ISA+20ºC, MTOW) 6,660 ft (2,030 m) 6,919 ft (2,109 m) 8,700 ft (2,652 m) 8,202 ft (2,500 m)
Landing Distance (SL, ISA, MTOW) 4,430 ft (1,350 m) N/A N/A 4,921 ft (1,500 m)
Service Ceiling 37,000 ft (11,300 m) 41,000 ft (12,497 m)
Rated Takeoff Thrust (each) 16,000 lbf (71,2 kN) 20,000 lbf (88.9 kN) 24,200 lbf (107.0 kN) 29,320 lbf (130.4 kN)
Wake Turbulence Category M
Approach Procedure Category C
Occupancy
Flight Crew 2
Occupancy (Single Class) 130 134 184 189
Occupancy (Dual Class) 102 128 160 162
Systems
Flight Deck Boeing Analog Flight Deck N/A N/A Rockwell Collins Avionics Suite
Engine(s) Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15A CFM International CFM56-3B2 CFM International CFM56-7B24 CFM International LEAP 1B-28B1
Auxiliary Power Unit Garrett GTCP 85-129 Garrett GTCP 85-129(E) Honeywell 131-9B Honeywell 131-9[B]-41

Boeing 737 Orders and Deliveries

The table below outlines the orders and deliveries by type.*

Variant Orders Deliveries Backlog
B737-100 30 30 0
B737-200 1,114 1,114
B737-300 1,113 1,113
B737-400 486 486
B737-500 389 389
B737-600 69 69
B737-700 1,164 1,164
B737-800 5,182 5,152 30
B737-900 557 557 0
B737 Max 5,037 863 4,174
B737 Business Jet 152 152 0
Total 15,293 11,089 4,204

*The values in the table above are accurate as of June 2022. 

Boeing 737 Price

The prices discussed below are the “sticker price,” which is the value that Boeing quotes the aircraft at. However, customers seldom pay the entire amount and receive discounts based on the size of the order and the relationship they share with Boeing. On certain occasions, the actual sale price can be up to 50 percent lower than the sticker price. 

There are currently eight models of the B737 in the price section of the Boeing page. The prices quoted below are average prices because the configuration and options available can drastically increase the price from the base cost.

Type Price in Millions ($)
B737-700 Next Generation 89.1
B737-800 Next Generation 106.1
B737-900ER Next Generation 112.6
B737 MAX 7 99.7
B737 MAX 8 121.6
B737 MAX 200 124.8
B737 MAX 9 128.9
B737 MAX 10 134.9

Used Boeing 737s are still desirable thanks to their ruggedness and aftermarket support for newer equipment that can be retrofitted to the aircraft. You can find well-used Boeing 737-200 models that still have life left in them decades later. 

Boeing 737 Variants

B737

The Boeing 737 has been in production since 1967 and is the longest-running model that Boeing has in its lineup. In the last 55 years, Boeing has released 13 main variants of the B737, which are divided into four generations. 

The current generation of the B737 is called the B737 Max and hit the skies in 2011. There are four generations of the B737. The first generation was launched in 1968; it’s referred to as the original generation. The second generation, or classic, was released in 1984. The Next Generation (NG) models are the third iteration of the aircraft and were released in 1997.

Boeing 737-100

The first and original B737. There were only 30 united ever produced as airlines quickly gravitated towards the longer and higher capacity B737-200.

Boeing 737-200

Boeing 737-200

On the 5th of April, the Boeing B737-200 was released. This model would go on to be the most popular of the original generation and sold 1,114 units. It was created after United Airlines placed an order for the B737 but found the B737-100 too short. Boeing stretched the fuselage by adding two plugs, one in front of the wing and another behind, which brought the total length to 100 ft 2 in (30.53 m), up 6ft from the B737-100’s 94 ft 2 in (28.70 m).

Boeing 737-300

The B737-300 first version of the B737 Classic line and is the first to be powered by a high-bypass turbofan engine. Boeing struck a deal with CFM International to have the Classic series aircraft be powered exclusively by the CFM56-3 engine. The aircraft was marketed as a direct replacement for the B737-100. However, the fuselage was stretched by 9ft to increase passenger capacity. This variant was the most popular version of the Classic line selling 1,113 units. 

Boeing 737-400

Boeing 737 400

The B737-400 is the longest variant in the Classic line, measuring 10 ft (3.05 m) longer than the B737-300. Boeing designed it to be a successor to the B737-200, but it only sold 486 units, a far cry from the numbers put up by the B737-200. The lack of sales was attributed to the model being too large for most airlines at the time. 

Boeing never made a cargo version of the B737-400. However, there exists a modified variant of the aircraft called the Special Freighter, which is a converted version of the aircraft. The program is operated by Aeronautical Engineers Inc. (AEI) and is still going strong today. The company added a main cargo door on the left side of the fuselage and modified the main deck to a class E cargo deck. The resulting aircraft can carry 10 AAA full-height containers, each weighing 8,000 lbs (3,628 kg), and a smaller AEP pallet. 

Boeing 737-500

The B737-500 is the shortest variant of the Classic line and became the true successor to the B737-200. Boeing created the aircraft due to demand from airlines for a model than had the same dimensions as the B737-200, as the newer B737-300 was not as economically on long and thin routes. The aircraft has the most range than the other two variants in the classic line because it maintained the same sized fuel tanks even though the frame was made smaller and the MTOW was reduced. 

Boeing 737-600

Boeing 737-600

Also known as the forgotten variant, the B737-600 was touted as the replacement for the B737-500 but never caught on as times changed, and air travel became more prominent. It was launched in 1995, and Boeing stopped production in 2006; during its 11-year production run, only 69 units were ever produced. 

Boeing 737-700

The B737-700 was launched in November 1993 and is the first of the Next-Generation line to hit the skies. It replaced the B737-300 and saw similar success selling 1,164 units (across all variants) during its production run. Boeing also produced a convertible variant, a military variant, and 13 years after its launch, an extended range variant. 

Boeing 737-800

Boeing 737-800

The Boeing 737-800 is the most successful variant of the Next Generation Line and the entire B737 family. The aircraft competed with the Airbus A320. and was the successor to the B737-400. The B737-800 was launched in 1994 and ended production in January 2020 during which Boeing sold 5,182 units. 

The aircraft is highly valued on the used market because of the Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) program the manufacturer launched in 2016. The program is similar to the B737-400SF program and adds a cargo door on the fuselage, a cargo loading system, and modifies the main deck to create a cargo compartment. 

Boeing partnered with Aeronautical Engineers Incorporated (AEI) to launch a conversion program similar to the BCF but aircraft converted through that program are referred to as B737-800 Special Freighters (SF). This program was certified in 2019 and delivered its first aircraft in the same year. 

Boeing 737-900

This variant of the B737 never caught on in its base form because of poor design choices on Boeing’s part. The aircraft was just under 9 ft (3 m) longer than the B737-800 but had the same seating capacity as its smaller brother because the number of exits remained the same. In addition, the fuel capacity wasn’t increased, so it had a lower range than the B737-800. 

The model sold only 52 units from 1997 to 2006. In 2006, Boeing released the 900 Extended Range, this variant had two additional fuel tanks and two more emergency exits, which allowed the seating capacity to increase to a maximum of 220 passengers. The fixes worked, and the aircraft was now seen as a viable rival to the A321. It sold 505 units during its 13-year production run. 

Boeing 737 MAX 7

The Boeing 737 MAX 7 is the replacement for the B737-700. The aircraft is based on the B737 MAX 8 and uses the same landing gear and wing but has a shorter fuselage to suit the needs of airlines looking to replace the B737-700. 

The aircraft was supposed to enter service in January 2019, but after the grounding and following scandal of the MAX 8, the MAX 7 has yet to receive its certification, putting its estimated delivery date for sometime in 2023,

Boeing 737 MAX 8

Boeing 737 Max 8

The first variant of the MAX line, the B737 MAX 8, replaces the B737-800. The aircraft first flew in 2016 and was introduced into service in 2017. Two years after its introduction, the aircraft suffered two fatal accidents due to a known design flaw and was grounded worldwide. In December 2021, over 180 countries cleared the aircraft to fly once again. 

Boeing 737 MAX 200

This is a high-density variant of the MAX 8, which carries 200 passengers in a single-seat configuration. 

Boeing 737 MAX 9

Boeing 737 MAX 9

A replacement for the B737-900ER and a direct competitor to the Airbus A321neo. The aircraft was introduced into service in 2018. It has an MTOW of 194,700 lbs (88,315 kg), a maximum seat capacity of 220, and a range of 3,550 nm (6,575 km). 

Boeing 737 MAX 10

The MAX 10 is the largest variant of the B737 and competes with the A321XLR, but according to the specifications, doesn’t perform as well as its competitor. However, it does carry roughly the same number of passengers. 

The MAX 10 was supposed to enter into service in 2020, but delays to the program have made the future of the aircraft unclear as the variant is yet to be certified, and the process has been problematic. Boeing needs to get the aircraft certified by the end of 2022 to circumvent a new law that requires an EICAS to be fitted to all aircraft.

Boeing has stated that it might not be able to meet the deadline and is currently lobbying the FAA for an exemption from the law. If it is unable to get one, additional training will be required for the MAX 10, which will increase costs for airlines and, as a result, reduce the aircraft’s viability. 

Boeing 737 Accidents and Incidents

Boeing has sold over 15,000 units and produced over 11,000 B737s. The family has also been actively flying for 54 years and, during this time, has flown hundreds of millions of flight hours – the NG family alone has flown more than 200 million flight hours. 

Statistically, the Boeing 737 is one of the safest aircraft to fly on. However, there are 519 accidents and incidents involving the aircraft family, and out of these, 231 are categorized as hull-loss occurrences. Hull-loss accidents are when an aircraft is damaged to the point where it cannot be repaired and is totaled. Fatalities are the norm in these sorts of accidents. 

In total, there have been a total of 5,826 lives lost as a result of Boeing 737 operations; this includes collisions with other aircraft and lives lost by third parties on the ground as a result of crashes the accidents. 

Boeing 737 MAX MCAS Accidents

There were two crashes that occurred due to the B737’s MCAS system, a total of 347 lives were lost. The particulars of the accidents are as follows: 

  • October 29th, 2018; Lion Air JT610;
    Variant: B737 MAX 8

Registration: PK-LQP
Location: 8 nm (15 km) North of Tanjung Bungin, Indonesia

Cause: System Failure
Phase: En route
Fatalities vs. Occupants: 189/189.

  • March 10th, 2019; Ethiopian Airlines ET302;
    Variant: B737 MAX 8

Registration: ET-AVJ
Location: 27 nm (50 km) South East of Addis Ababa-Bole Airport (ADD), Kenya

Cause: System Failure
Phase: En route
Fatalities vs. Occupants: 157/157.

Boeing 737 Competitors

Airbus A320 Family

Airbus A320

The Airbus A320 was tailor-made by Airbus to chip away at the monopoly. The aircraft was announced in March 1984 and was launched in April 1988. It took the A320 family 31 years to do it, but in 2019 it succeeded by overtaking the B737 as the highest sold single-aisle family in the world, selling a total of 16,622 aircraft. 

The A320 family has produced four main models: A318, A319, A320, and A321. The latter three models compete with the MAX 7, 8, and 9, respectively. The A321XLR competes with the B737 MAX 10. 

McDonnell Douglas DC-9

The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 is a passenger jetliner with a T-tail configuration and two rear-mounted turbofan engines. The largest variant of the DC-9, the series 50, carries a maximum of 135 passengers. The DC-9 series was the main competitor of the B737 Original and Classic series aircraft. It was produced from 1965 to 1982 and sold 976 units during this time. 

McDonnell Douglas MD-90

mcdonnell_douglas_md-90

The MD-90 was the third generation of the DC-9. It was produced from 1993 to 2003, during which it sold 116 units. It competed with the Boeing 737 NG until the merger between McDonnell Douglas and Boeing in 1997. The biggest change to the aircraft over the previous iteration was the use of high bypass engines that made the aircraft quieter, more fuel-efficient, and cost-effective. 

The MD-90 would later be succeeded by the MD-95, which was renamed and marketed as the Boeing 717

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Question: How many B737 have been sold?

Answer: As of July 2022, there have been a total of 15,293 orders across all variants of the B737 family. 

Question: What is MCAS, and what does it do?

Answer: MCAS, or Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, was introduced into the Boeing 737 MAX family to emulate the flight characteristics of the previous generation of B737. The MCAS system receives angle of attack information from a single sensor on the fuselage and, when activated, would push the nose of the aircraft down by 2.5 degrees at a time. It would run in the background and could not be shut off permanently.

Question: Why did the FAA certify the B737 MAX 8?

Answer: The FAA had essentially given Boeing the ability to certify its own aircraft after the manufacturer pressured the regulatory body to speed up the process to meet deadlines. In addition, the FAA defended its decision to do so by stating that this practice has been going on for decades and that it’s faster and cheaper this way. 
The FAA claims that they oversee the process. However, the body only sees what a manufacturer puts in its report and nothing more. This is how Boeing was able to hide the issues that plagued the aircraft.

Recommended Reads:

References

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