The Boeing Way
The Boeing Company has been in existence since 1916 and is one of the two companies that make up the global commercial jetliner duopoly. Boeing is involved in almost every facet of the aerospace industry. The jetliner division, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) has been producing airliners since the 1950s.
Over the years, Boeing created 10 models of jetliners, which have spawned multiple generations and variants. The company only produces three of these products, with another two models in development, which are to be introduced within the next decade.
Two Boeing aircraft have single-handedly redefined the aviation industry on two separate occasions. The first was the Boeing 707 which ushered in the Jet age of aviation and the second is the Boeing 747 which made commercial air travel available to the masses.
The company was the world’s biggest commercial jet manufacturer and is the creator of the Boeing 737 which was the highest-selling jetliner until it was ousted by the competing Airbus A320 in 2019. Boeing continues to push the boundaries of engineering with aircraft and currently produces the longest airliner in the world, the 777-9.
In 2019, Boeing would fall from grace after it was discovered that the company knowingly defrauded the FAA and customers of the 737 MAX by not disclosing the existence of the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), which is a safety-critical system that was poorly designed and resulted in the crashes of two aircraft and the loss of 346 souls.
Many Boeing insiders believe that the root cause of the 737 MAX fiasco started when the company merged with its main competitor, McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Before the merger, Boeing was run mainly by engineers with a focus on safety and quality, not profits. During the merger, many of the McDonnell Douglas upper management took up key positions in the company.
The new management then began to focus on cutting costs and staff, while attempting to increase production and profits. To get ahead, corners were cut, especially with the design of the 737 MAX, which was rushed in an attempt to keep up with the Airbus A320neo.
The resulting crashes and investigations resulted in Boeing losing billions in settlements, canceled orders, and lost sales. Since then, Boeing has recovered financially, but public trust in the manufacturer has been irreparably damaged.
Introduced in 1958 with Pan American Airways, the Boeing 707 was the airliner of choice from the late 1950s through the 1960s. The Boeing 707 was in production from 1956 to 1978 and sold a total of 921 units, the aircraft dominated the skies during its years in service and is credited as the aircraft that began the Jet Era.
The 707 was initially designed as a long-range aircraft, but its popularity prompted Boeing to create seven commercial variants, four military variants, one test aircraft, and one presidential transport. The 707 went on to dominate the skies in almost every type of operation imaginable, even domestic flights.
The Boeing 707 is a narrowbody, swept-wing, quad jet, long-range jetliner that is derived from the Boeing Dash 80. The Dash 80 was only 11 ft (3.35 m) wide, which meant it only had space for four-abreast seating, when Boeing was creating the B707, the Douglas DC-8 was already in service and had six-abreast seating, which proved to be more popular, so Boeing following suit.
The Boeing 707 was only of the first jetliners to have swept wings. The 35-degree sweep on the wings made the aircraft susceptible to dutch roll, something that many pilots were unfamiliar with, to mitigate this phenomenon, Boeing installed yaw-dampeners. The swept wings also caused the aircraft to over-rotate on takeoff and then stall, which prompted Boeing to install leading-edge Krueger flaps.
The initial model, the B707-120 was 145 ft 1 in (44.22 m) long and typically carries 174 and 137 passengers in a single-class and dual-class configuration, respectively. It also has an exit limit of 189 passengers. The largest model and final model is the stretched B707-320C which is 152 ft 11 in (46.61 m) in length. The additional 8 ft (2.44 m) allows the B707-320C to carry 194 passengers in a single-class configuration and have an exit limit of 219.
The smallest B707 is the B720. It’s the only jetliner that has not followed the 7X7 naming scheme. This aircraft was designed to fly in and out of smaller runways and mainly flew regional routes. Boeing removed five frames from the original 707-120, four in front of the wing and one behind the wing, which resulted in the fuselage being 8 ft 4 in (2.54 m) shorter than the original. The shortened B720 could carry 130 passengers in two classes and 156 in one class.
The B707-120 was initially powered by four Pratt and Whitney JT3C-6 turbojet engines which produced 13,500 lbf (60 kN), each. The four engines could propel the jet to a maximum speed of 540 kts (1,000 kmph). These engines were water-cooled which meant that up to 5,000 lbs (2,268 kg) of water would have to be carried, reducing the payload of the aircraft.
Soon Boeing came to understand the limitations of the JT3C turbojets and opted to switch to the newer, more powerful, and economical low-bypass JT3D turbofan engines which produced between 17,000 lbf (76 kN) to 19,000 lbf (85 kN) depending on the model. The B707 was the first jetliner that would use turbofan engines and which are now the industry standard.
|Length||145 ft 1 in (44.22 m)||152 ft 11 in (46.61 m)|
|Height||41 ft 8 in (12.70 m)||42 ft 1 in (12.83 m)|
|Fuselage Width||12 ft 3 in (3.8 m)|
|Wingspan||130 ft 10 in (39.88 m)||145 ft 9 in (44.42 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||247,000 lb (112,000 kg)||333,600 lb (151,300 kg)|
|Range||3,000 nmi (5,600 km)||5,000 nmi (9,300 km)|
|Takeoff Thrust||13,500 lbf (60 kN)||19,000 lbf (85 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||137||141|
The Boeing 717 is technically not a Boeing aircraft. Instead, it’s a rebranded McDonnell Douglas MD-95. Boeing got the rights for the MD-95 when it merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and only re-branded the aircraft because the design and development work had already been completed.
The aircraft was in production for eight years and only sold 155 units. The low sales figures for the aircraft weren’t unexpected, especially because the competition in the regional market was so stiff and the B717 had no prior reputation. In addition, the reduction of regional flights after 9/11 meant that Airlines preferred to buy larger planes like the B737 for the commonality and ability to fly multiple routes.
The aircraft is still in operation by regional carriers that need an aircraft that can take a beating and fly without any complaints. Operators like Qantas Linka and Hawaiian Airlines will use these planes even in 2022.
The B717 is a regional, t-tail twinjet, with rear fuselage-mounted engines. The aircraft has five-abreast economy seating with the fuselage being long enough to seat 106 in a two-class configuration, 117 in a single-class configuration, and 134 in the high-density configuration.
The B717 is available in a standard variant and a heavy variant. The heavy variant has a higher MTOW, range, fuel capacity, and payload. It allows the aircraft to fly 630 nm (1,170 km) more than the base model while flying into the same airports. To offset the extra weight, the thrust on the Rolls Royce BR715 engines of the heavy variant is increased to 21,000 lbf (93.4 kN) from the base version’s 18,500 lbf (82.3 kN).
|Parameter||Base MTOW||High MTOW|
|Length||124 ft (37.81 m)|
|Height||29 ft 1 in (8.92 m)|
|Fuselage Width||10 ft 11 in (3.34 m)|
|Wingspan||93 ft 4 in (28.45 m)|
|Interior Width||10 ft 3.8 in ( 3.15 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||110,000 lb (49,845 kg)||121,000 lb (54,885 kg)|
|Maximum Payload||26,500 lb (12,021 kg||32,000 lb (14,515 kg)|
|Range||1,430 nmi (2,645 km)||2,060 nmi (3,815 km)|
|Service Ceiling||37,100 feet (11,300 m)|
|Takeoff Thrust||18,500 lbf (82.3 kN)||21,000 lbf (93.4 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||106|
The immense success of the Boeing 707 showed the world that air travel was catching on, and quickly. Soon airlines demanded an aircraft that could fly shorter routes and be versatile enough to take off from smaller airports to connect the country, all while being more economical than the B707.
In December 1960, Boeing launched the 727 to do exactly that. The company only expected to manufacture 250 of these models, as sales were slow initially. However, it went on to be a resounding success and broke the record sales record of the B707 becoming the highest-sold aircraft at the time, producing 1,832 units over its 22-year production run.
The airlines in the US and Europe began to phase out the 727 from passenger flights in the 1980s after it became too inefficient and noisy compared to newer models. The 727 kept flying passenger operations globally and was finally retired after Iran Aseman Airlines flew their last passenger flight in January 2019, a whopping 55 years after it was introduced. Surprisingly, the 727 is still active as of 2022 and continues to fly freight and special operations.
The Boeing 727 is a narrowbody t-tail, trijet with rear fuselage-mounted low bypass turbofan engines. The three engines were a compromise as quad engines would be too inefficient, and ETOPS limitations at the time prevented twin engines from flying most international routes. The 727 is the first and only “three-holer” Boeing ever produced.
Boeing had to use a t-tail to accommodate the three engines, with the number two engine incorporated into the tail at the rear of the aircraft (where modern jetliners would have the APU). The inlet for the number two engine starts in front of the tail fin, and through an S-shaped duct that has vortex generators fitted inside to promote airflow to the engine.
Taking off from smaller airports and less equipped airports meant that the B727 had to be self-contained. To achieve this, Boeing fitted it with both an auxiliary power unit and an airstair set. This allowed the B727 to start independently and load and unload passengers.
The wings of the Boeing 727 have triple-slotted fowler flaps that could increase the wing area of the aircraft by up to 25 percent, which greatly reduced approach speeds and the length of the landing roll. To help get airborne faster, the leading edge is equipped with Kruger flaps.
The fuselage of the B727 is the same as that of the B707. The seated remained six abreast with the aisle splitting them evenly. The B707 interior was considered to be luxurious at the time and Boeing kept costs down by reusing it.
|Length||133 ft 2 in (40.59 m)||153 ft 2 in (46.68 m)|
|Height||34 ft 3 in (10.44 m)||34 ft 11 in (10.65 m)|
|Fuselage Width||10 ft 11.6 in (3.34 m)|
|Wingspan||108 ft (32.92 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||169,000 lbs (76,700 kg)||209,500 lbs (95,100 kg)|
|Range||2,250 nmi (4,170 km)||2,550 nmi (4,720 km)|
|Service Ceiling||42,000 ft (13,000 m)|
|Takeoff Thrust||14,500 lbf (64 kN)||17,400 lbf (77 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||106||134|
The Boeing 737 was launched in 1968 to cater to short and thin routes that the B727 was too efficient to fly. The aircraft was built with low development costs, allowing it to be sold for a lower price, which led to it being widely adopted, especially by smaller airlines.
The Boeing 737 is the most sold aircraft in history, with over 17,900 gross orders since its launch in 1968. Over its 56-year production run, Boeing has upgraded the B737 four times and produced 13 variants of the aircraft. The latest generation the 737 MAX has had its challenges but continues to be the second highest-selling jetliner ever, behind the A320neo.
The versatility of the aircraft can be seen in its many variants, especially with the new 737 MAX line. There are now four variants of the max, from the MAX 7 to the MAX 10, each version is larger than the last. In a single-class configuration, the MAX 7 can seat 172 passengers while the larger MAX 10 seats 230.
The Boeing 737 is a narrowbody, twin-engine jetliner designed for short-haul flights. The aircraft was meant to be a clean sheet build, but to keep development costs low, Boeing used many of the existing systems of the B727 on the B737. By the end of development, the B737 had over 50 percent commonality with the B727. The main differences between the B727 and B737 were the conventional tail and wing-mounted engines.
Boeing continued to upgrade the performance and capabilities of the B737 to match the needs of the industry. The first refresh was the introduction of the Class line, which included the B737-300, -400, and -500. These were powered by high bypass engines that made the aircraft even more efficient but remained mostly the same as the previous generation.
The first significant upgrade was the 737 Next Generation (NG) series. Boeing produced the 737 NG in response to the technologically superior Airbus A320. The series had larger, redesigned wings and even more powerful CFM56-7B engines. Other upgrades included digital avionics, better lavatories, and increased space in the cabin to allow for larger seats.
The newest generation of the Boeing 737 is the MAX. These models are powered by next-generation CFM LEAP 1B-28 engines that are significantly more fuel efficient. There are multiple aerodynamic upgrades to the aircraft to improve performance such as the new split scimitar winglets.
|Parameter||B737 MAX 8|
|Length||129 ft 7 in (39.50 m)|
|Height||40 ft 8 in (12.42 m)|
|Fuselage Width||12 ft 4 in (3.76 m)|
|Wingspan||117 ft 9 in (35.9 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||181,200 lbs (82,191 kg)|
|Range||3,620 nm (6,704 km)|
|Service Ceiling||41,000 ft (12,497 m)|
|Takeoff Thrust||29,320 lbf (130.4 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||162|
The 1970s oil crisis made airlines focus on reducing fuel costs and increasing fuel efficiency. Simultaneously, the Boeing 727 was beginning to show its age, and airlines needed a new widebody aircraft to replace it. Airbus had already proved the viability of twin-engine widebody aircraft with the A300, so Boeing began to design its own.
In 1983, the 757 was launched. This narrowbody, twinjet was in production for 23 years during which it sold 1,049 units, 625 of which are still in active service thanks to freighter conversion programs.
The Boeing 757 is known as the “pocket rocket” because of its powerful engines, and low BEW. The company gave it an excessive amount of power because airlines wanted an aircraft that could fly to hot and high airports.
Boeing made three variants of the 757, the original 757-200, and a stretched version of the 757-300. It also made the 757-200M a combi version that can be configured to carry both passengers and cargo.
|Length||155 ft 3 in (47.32 m)|
|Height||44 ft 6 in (13.56 m)|
|Wingspan||124 ft 10 in (38.05 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||220,000 lbs (100,000 kg)|
|Range||3,900 nm (7,222 km)|
|Service Ceiling||42,000 ft (12,800 m)|
|Takeoff Thrust||37,000 lbf (164.58 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||195|
The Boeing 747 is in my opinion, the most important aircraft in commercial aviation. It’s the first widebody jetliner and the sheer size allowed it to reduce the cost of tickets and make air travel a viable mode of transportation for the masses. Much like the B707, it changed the aviation industry.
It made air travel a viable mode of transportation for the masses and ushered in a new age in aviation. The incredible range and capacity of the aircraft allowed passengers to travel across the globe connecting the world like never before. It also served as the platform for the introduction of the high-bypass turbofan engines, which went on to become the industry standard.
The B747 was in production for 54 years, the second longest production run of any jetliner. During which the company produced nearly 20 variants from short-haul models to shuttle carriers. It was the largest passenger airliner for decades until the Airbus A380 came around.
Boeing announced in 2020 that it will no longer take orders for the B747 and end production after the final units were manufactured. On October 6th, 2022, the last Boeing B747-8F left the production line.
The Boeing 747 is a widebody, long-haul, quad-engine jetliner. The aircraft was so large that it earned itself the moniker of “Jumbo Jet”. The Boeing 747’s cargo door was located on the nose and opened upwards. This meant that the cockpit had to be placed higher up on the fuselage which resulted in the iconic hump.
Boeing’s upper deck came about when designers extended the area behind in an attempt to create a crew’s quarters, but the area was later repurposed for passenger use and was often a lounge area for first-class passengers.
The last passenger B747 model is the B747-8I, which was built with many of the systems of the 787 Dreamliner. It was the longest aircraft in the world measuring 250 ft 2 in (76.30 m) until the Boeing 777-9 was invented.
|Length||231 ft 4 in (70.51 m)||70.60 m||250 ft 2 in (76.30 m)|
|Height||3 ft 5 in (19.33 m)||19.40 m (63 ft 6 in)||63 ft 6 in (19.40 m)|
|Wingspan||195 ft 8 in (59.64 m)||211 ft 5 in (64.40 m)||224 ft 5 in (68.40 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||735,000 lbs (333,400 kg)||875,000 lbs (396,890 kg)||987,000 lbs (447,696 kg)|
|Range||4,620 nm (8,556 km)||7,262 nm (13,450 km)||7,730 nm (14,310 km)|
|Service Ceiling||43,100 ft (13,137 m)|
|Takeoff Thrust||43,500 lbf (193 kN)||56,742 lbf (252.4 kN)||266,500 lbf (296 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||452||524||605|
|Occupancy 3 Class||366||416||467|
The Boeing 767 was introduced in September 1984 and was the first widebody twinjet the company manufactured. Built to complement its larger brother, the B747, the smaller B767 held roughly half the passengers and flew medium-haul routes that the jumbo jet was too big to fly.
Even though the B767 was capable, it didn’t fly long-haul flights over the sea because of ETOPS limitations. The B767 has been in production for 41 years during which 14 variants have been made, seven commercial variants and seven military variants. Passenger 767s are no longer being built because the aircraft doesn’t meet emission standards.
In 2027, the B767 will be retired due to a lack of orders. As of September 2022, there have been a total of 1,259 units built.
The Boeing 767 is a widebody twinjet with seven-abreast seating and two aisles splitting the seats 2-3-2. When it was released the B767 was highly overengineered with the aircraft’s components being able to handle much higher loads than it would experience.
The company did this because it planned to upgrade the B767, and it did just that. The aircraft was stretched twice to produce the 300 and 400 models. The B767-400ER is the most popular model because of its high payload and long range, especially for freighter operations, which is what the B767 is mostly used for.
|Length||201.44 ft (61.40 m)|
|Height||55.81 ft (17.01 m)|
|Wingspan||170.27 ft (51.90 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||450,000 lbs (204,116 kg)|
|Range||5,645 nm (10,454 km)|
|Service Ceiling||43,000 ft (13,106 m)|
|Takeoff Thrust||20,7696 lbf (281.6 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||296|
The Boeing 777 is the world’s largest twinjet and the longest aircraft. Originally designed to fill the gap between the B767 and B747, the B777 has now taken over the latter’s role.
Boeing has produced two main variants of the aircraft, the original B777-200, and the stretched B777-300. The B777-200 has three sub-variants an extended range (ER) and long-range (LR), and a freighter version based on the 200LR. The B777-300 has an extended range version, and an aftermarket conversion program has created a new freighter version of the B777-300ER dubbed the B777-300ERSF.
The B777 has been in production for 29 years, becoming the highest-selling widebody jetliner.
As of September 2022, Boeing has sold 2,136 units of aircraft. with the B777-300ER being the most popular variant.
In 2013, Boeing launched the next generation of the B777, the B777-X. The B777-8 and stretched B777-9 will replace the B777-200 and B777-300, respectively. The B777X has more than 340 orders as of 2022. Boeing has faced multiple delays with the B777X program and now expects deliveries to begin in 2025.
The Boeing 777 is a widebody, twinjet, long-range jetliner that accommodates 10-abreast seating and two aisles splitting the seats 3-4-3. The B777 was initially designed as a trijet, but the design was later changed to a twinjet after ETOPS regulations allowed twinjets to fly away from land for extended periods after the 1980s.
The B777 was designed with input from major airlines, something Boeing did with the B747. By consulting with the airlines, Boeing found exactly what they wanted which was a high-capacity, fuel-efficient, long-range aircraft. When the B777-200 was introduced, it could fly 5,240 nm (9,700 km) and had a two-class occupancy of 313.
Boeing planned for the B777 to take on the role of the B747 which was 30 years old. The B777 was technologically superior to any Boeing aircraft before it, including technology like an all-digital flight deck and fly-by-wire controls.
The 777X is powered by new fuel-efficient General Electric GE9X engines and new composite wings with folding wingtips to allow it to operate at smaller airports, even though it has a large wingspan. The B777-8 has a range of 8,730 nmi (16,170 km) and can carry 384 passengers in a dual-class configuration.
|Length||209 ft 1 in (63.7 m)||251 ft 9 in (76.72 m)|
|Height||60 ft 8 in (18.5 m)||64 ft 1 in (19.53 m)|
|Wingspan||212 ft 7 in (64.8 m)||235 ft 5 in (72.8 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||750,000 lbs (340,194 kg)||775,000 lbs (351,534 kg)|
|Range||7,370 nm (13,650 km)||7,285 nmi (13,500 km)|
|Takeoff Thrust||74,000 – 90,000 lbf (329.1 kN – 400.3 kN)||N/A|
|Occupancy 2 Class||396||426|
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the latest clean sheet built by the manufacturer and is a product of the 7E7 project. The project aimed to create an aircraft that was efficient, economical, environmentally friendly, and technologically superior to anything on the market. It’s also the successor to the B767.
Orders for the B787 were opened in 2004, and airlines quickly saw the potential of the B787. By 2007, the B787 had 677 orders, which led to it breaking the record for most orders between launch to rollout. The B787 was such a contender, that it forced Airbus to redesign its competitor to the aircraft. As of 2022, the B787 has over 1,500 orders, with the 787-9 being the most popular model.
Boeing’s new management wanted the B787 developed and built for a fraction of the cost of the B777. To reach cost targets half the B787 isn’t made by the company, but rather by sub-contractors around the world. The parts are then shipped to Boeing plants in the U.S to be assembled. This led to many supply chain and quality control issues which delayed the launch of the aircraft.
The B787 was meant to enter service in 2008, but would only do so three years later, during which Boeing lost around $40 billion due to lost sales, canceled orders, and abnormal production costs.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a widebody, twinjet, long-range jetliner with 9-abreast seating and two aisles splitting the seats 3-3-3. The B787 was designed with efficiency in mind and uses technology from Boeing’s Sonic Cruiser.
The B787 is made mostly of composite materials (50 percent by weight) that are extremely light, which allows the aircraft to have a low BEW and high-load carrying capability. The lightweight frame when combined with the next-generation engines makes the B787 one of the most efficient and cost-effective aircraft in the air.
The B787 is so advanced, that it’s design and components have served as the basis for models like the B747-8 and the upcoming B777X. The B-787 is available in three models, the original B787-8, the stretched B787-9, and the largest B787-10.
|Length||186 ft (56.70 m)||206 ft (62.80 m)||209 ft 4 in (68.30 m)|
|Height||55 ft 6 in (16.90 m)||55 ft 10 in (17.02 m)|
|Wingspan||197 ft 3 in (60.1 m)|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||502,500 lbs (227,930 kg)||560,000 lbs (254,011 kg)|
|Range||7,305 nm (13,530 km)||7,530 nm (13,950 km)||6,345 nm (11,750 km)|
|Takeoff Thrust||69,000 lbf (304 kN)||78,000 lbf (347 kN)|
|Occupancy 2 Class||242||280||330|
Frequently Asked Questions – Boeing Plane Types
Question: Which is the Largest Boeing Jetliner?
Answer: The Boeing 747 is the largest jetliner Boeing has ever created, but the largest Boeing jetliner currently in production is the B777-9. There is a rumored B777-10 in the works, but this is unconfirmed.
Question: Which is the Newest Boeing Jetliner?
Answer: The newest Boeing Jetliner would be the Boeing 777X which isn’t in service yet. But they are based on an older design. The newest clean-sheet jetliner is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which entered service in 2011.
Question: How Many Jetliners have Boeing Created?
Answer: Boeing has designed and produced 8 passenger jetliners. This is excluding the Boeing 717 which is designed by McDonnell Douglas
Question: How old is the Boeing Company?
Answer: Boeing was founded in 1916, 106 years ago by William E. Boeing.
- Airbus vs Boeing Fleet Comparison: Who is More Successful?
- Lancair Plane Types and Models: A Complete Guide
- Gulfstream Plane Types and Models Guide
- Best Flight Bags for Pilots
- Best Piper Plane Types and Models Of All Time
- Honda HondaJet Guide and Specifications (2023): Flying on One’s Own Accord - August 11, 2023
- Cessna Conquest vs Beechcraft King Air 200: King or Conqueror? - April 1, 2023
- Bombardier Challenger 350 Guide and Specs: Is It Up to the Challenge? - November 23, 2022