The Boeing 737 is one of the most popular aircraft ever produced. Over 7700 in all variants have been produced, with an additional 11,275 aircraft on order. This makes the 737 the most popular jetliner to date. The 737 has a wide variety of uses, and still remains extremely popular and under high demand. Because it is such a widely mass produced aircraft, it is also a target for constant aerodynamic improvements. Boeing has looked at everything from the design of the anti-collision lights, to the reduction of small gaps in the airfoil. This has created an aircraft that is extremely aerodynamic and efficient at any task it performs.
The 737 was originally created on on May 11 1964, however it wasn’t until November 9th 1964 that production was officially approved. On February 19th 1965 Lufthansa placed its first order for the 737-100, and on the 9th of april 1967 the 737 flew for the first time. In 1970, Boeing had less than 35 orders for the 737 and considered canceling the program. Boeing however ultimately decided to cut from other areas and to continue the 737 program. By deciding to continue the program Boeing paved the way for its future success and formed the backbone of many airlines that exist today that solely fly the 737.
The 737 shares much of the same design as the 707 and the 727. It share the upper lobe fuselage, as well as other capabilities such as cargo convertibility. In the 737-200 Boeing allowed the aircraft to be converted from passenger carrying operation to cargo carrying operations. This allowed the aircraft to have multiple uses. The 737-200 also allowed for a gravel kit which made it possible to land on unimproved airstrips. Another improvement that was made in the design of the 737 is the placement of the engines. By placing the engines under versus above the wing, more passengers are able to be carried. They are also going to be happier passengers because the engine placement allows for less noise and vibrations.
The 737 was originally designed for medium and short range flights with efficiency in mind. This has made the 737 a very popular choice for airlines such as Southwest and Alaska who solely depend on the 737 as the aircraft for their fleet. Having one type of aircraft has a wide variety of benefits as maintenance facilities are only required for one model of aircraft instead of many. Another factor that made the 737 popular is that it was the first airliner to not require a flight engineer. This made the 737 also cheaper on the side of labor costs. However many unions and the government were resistant to the idea of doing away with a flight engineer. The FAA and Boeing did extensive testing on this subject, and the government certified that the 737 was able to be safely flown without a flight engineer. However the unions remained resistant to the elimination of the flight engineer. Thus on some 737’s flight engineers remained in use until the 1980’s
One of the dramatic...