Flight tests are about to begin on a Boeing 737 ultimately destined for Continental Airlines that incorporate aerodynamic improvements designed to reduce fuel consumption by 1%.
Boeing has done some “cleaning up” of the aerodynamics by streamlining the anti-collision lights, some exhaust ports and slat-to-wing connections, plus some improvements around the main gear wheel bay.
Flights will continue through April, when the plane will be refreshed and delivered to Continental, which is also receiving the new Boeing Sky Interior (see the following post).
An additional enhancement that goes hand-in-hand with the aerodynamic improvements, changes to the CFM 56-7B engine called “Evolution” won’t be ready until next year. Flight tests will follow for these.
At the Boeing briefing yesterday, some good information came out about how Boeing looks at the emerging competitors (CSeries, C919, MS-21), the Airbus A320NEO and the future of the 737. We wrote this story for Commercial Aviation Online, which gets a 24 hour exclusive before we can post it here. Watch for this story tomorrow.