Update: Aviation Week has this piece that has some good close-ups of artwork.
Boeing held a tele-conference updating the 737 MAX program. Beverly Wyse, VP and GM of the 737 Program are Michael Teal gave the briefing.
Beverly Wyse (BW)
Michael Teal (MT)
BW: 737 MAX has met firm design concept. Honeywell will provide an electronic bleed air system. Flight deck will have large displays from Rockwell Collins. MAX production will have future growth capability.
MT: We have in place a plan to preserve training commonality with large flight deck displays. We engage with regulators for training regulations and feel this will not be an issue.
Development team made significant progress to have aerodynamic design. We removed nose gear door bump from earlier iterations. We can get longer gear within the wheel well. LEAP 1B reached architectural freeze in September, freezing fan size and core size. Final design freeze will be in April 2013.
With the completion of firm concept, the completion of production design can move forward.
BW: It is important we maintain stability in our production plan. The 737 MAX transition allows us to maintain stability with NG rate increases and into the MAX.
BW: Third production line begins in 2015 with construction of first flight test aircraft. Eventually will use the third line for future rate increases beyond the planned 42 a month.
MT: Will only offer radial tires on nose gear, nose gear retracts further into the wheel well.
MT: 13% fuel reduction is a per-seat off the 737NG from today’s most efficient NG (19% better than original 1997 NG.) MAX will continue with the same maintenance cost as today’s NG.
MT: Goal is to have the same field performance as NG.
BW: 737-7 MAX: Many of our customers select a primary model but have substitution rights into other model. We see the -7 as being part of a family of aircraft where airlines can use -7 on thinner routes. It also serves missions in high-hot regions, such as in Tibetan plateau. We see the -7 serving these critical missions. I would no say “no question” that we will build it, but customers have asked about it and it is in our family today.
MT: Flight test plans for -8 will have four test planes. Expect to have two flight test airplanes for the -9 and -7.
BW: Part of the reason for more flight test airplanes is to proceed as fast as possible.
MT: Can’t give you at this time an exact count of the amount of change of MAX vs NG. This is part of the design process between now and the middle of next year.
MT: This airplane is an amended type certification, do not see re-certification.
[Editor: UBS Securities issued a new research note even as the teleconference was proceeding, with this comment:
[Systems changes represent onset of scope creep: This morning BA announced that it had achieved “Firm Concept” on 737 MAX including new bleed air system from HON, new tail cone, new winglets, and surprise move to upgrade 737 NG displays from HON with 787 large format displays from COL. BA’s move to incorporate updated systems beyond the engine represents a departure from its stated strategy of minimal design changes on 737 MAX.
[When MAX was announced, former CEO of BCA Jim Albaugh said he wanted minimal changes. The MAX has, for some time, appeared to be undergoing design creep, hence the questions about commonality and re-certification.]
BW: Right now we are saying 2017 EIS, [Southwest Airlines previously told us 4Q17, Jim Albaugh hoped to advance this schedule); as we move forward we will get more definitive about the schedule.