Boeing 737 MAX update

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.

22 Comments on “Boeing 737 MAX update

  1. Mum on fansize and engine integration?

    Why is “only radial tires” on nose gear noteworthy?

  2. If there are a few hundred cheap used -700s to do the hot and high mission, the 7MAX may be a hard sell.

    • I don’t think the 7UP is at the primary focus ( Boeing or anyone else ).
      Same for Airbus and the A319NEO.

      • If Boeing doesn’t offer a compelling 7MAX, they are conceding the market below 175 seats. Not a good move IMHO.

      • @TCook:
        The market has been moving away from -700 and A319 types for a long time. I’ve only done this statistic for the Airbus types:
        The effective average size of A320 fam deliveries has been
        increasing continuously: from a virtual A319.5 to a A320.5.

        year A319 A320 A321 (deliveries)
        2000 _112 _101 __28
        2011 __47 _306 __66
        IMHO the -700 / A319 slot is a demand mirage like the urgently needed 757 replacement.

  3. I think it is a good decision to go with the B-787 style displays in the cockpit. My guess is this is what the customers wanted. How much more composite material will the MAX have compared to the NG?

    Scott and Uwe, using radial tires on the nose gear means the nose gear wheel assemblies cannot be common to the NG and CLASSIC fleet. But I read this as the nose gear wheel well is not being redisigned, onlt the wheels of the nose gear, and apparnetly a slight cahnge in the way the nose gear retracts in its sequence. Also, using radial tires means you do not have to design the nose gear extension hight as much as with bias tires.

    The electronic bleed air system means the engines do not have to work as hard at providing engine bleed air. It is a slight reduction in engine work, but maybe enough to reduce fuel burn by about .25% per engine.

    • Radials should be (slightly) smaller and wider. Axle should be a bit longer for
      a wider track taking more space in the wheel well left and right.
      Isn’t the NG-ng wheel well said to be cramped?
      “Bigger screens” sound like a home theater advert 😉

  4. Isn’t the 69.4 inch fan dia., imposed on the GE/SNECMA engineers to provide
    adquate ground clearance for the MAX, still subject to confirmation by Feb.

  5. Is there a difference between ‘fuel use’ (the term used in the B press release) and ‘fuel burn’? Can’t say I’ve heard the term ‘fuel use’ used before.

  6. Nobody is really addressing the design creep issue. Are bigger screens and an electronic bleed system really that good an advantage for the price? Is this an indication that the MAX is being groomed to be around for longer than Boeing has been indicating? Has Albaugh’s concept been totally thrown out the window?
    It shall be interesting to see how things turn out vis a vis the engine and its performance on the MAX as well as any structural/system changes concerning the nose wheel and gear bay.

    • Well, if they already have about 1000 units sold and expecting another thousand or so, wouldn’t they be able to recover the cots of these improvements? After all, the C series is been designed from the ground up, and they could only dream of selling 2000 unit. Pilots will appreciated this design of the flight deck. Boeing will probably try to make the flight deck a little quieter too.

  7. “Goal is to have the same field performance as NG.”

    I think the -900ER had room for improvement here. This sounds like the -9 will hopefully not do worse..

  8. Hello

    3% fuel reduction is a per-seat off the 737NG from today’s most efficient NG

    Do you think that typical seat count will increase from -800NG to MAX8 with flat bulkhead now as a base equipment ? and other tweaks already announced (Z curtain, new toilets…. etc) ?
    I’ve checked Airbus slides for NEO, is seems that the 15% gain from current A320 is at constant payload.

  9. I wondered about that statement too, to many words. It leaves room for creativity. It e.g wouldn’t contradict a 11% improvement in engine sfc, while the goal was higher.

  10. About the 737-7 comments;

    “I would no say “no question” that we will build it, but customers have asked about it and it is in our family today ”

    Read between the lines. As I noticed in the previous post, Of the 2400 re-enginged NEO and MAX orders, about 1% are for the A319/737-700. And those are relatively soft.

    At such moments, the chief beancounter walks in, he brought you a coffee..

  11. There was NO reply to my question about what Boeing AND SNECMA will or
    can do, if the 69.4 in. fan diameter for the MAX would NOT be adiquate to
    deliver the required thrust/fuel burn, but still subject to confirmation by 02,’13?

  12. Rudy,

    The thrust is not an issue, as it very close if not the same as the present CFM56-7BE. The fuel burn is the million dollar question? 😉

    But, Boeing and CFM have 1 1/2 to 2 years after the NEO enters service to improve on it for the MAX…

  13. I see signals airfield Performance of the 737-9 might be even weaker then the critical 737-900ER airfield performance. That can be solved by adding more thrust to the engine, having the aircraft accelerating faster. If the engine fan is constrained this doesn’t help noise levels, fuel burn and maintenance costs (higher temperatures, pressures)

    Boeing already added a two-position tail skid that enables reduced approach speeds, sealed leading-edge slats that provide increased lift during takeoff, and increased flight spoiler deflection on the ground that improves takeoff and landing performance on the 737-900ER to reduce operational restrictions.

    Root problem is again the 737 short main landing gear that restricts the rotation angle of the long -900 fuselage at take-off, making it needs more speed/ runway.

  14. I don’t understand why everyone is so worried about “design creep”. The B737NG already was minimum change. So the next iteration needs to be adapted at some points. That dinosaur solutions from the 1960ies are still in existence, while millions of words and Dollars are expended on “future technologies”, kind of insults aerospace engineering. I would have hoped for a critical review of all systems. To be honest: first flight is 4 years away, old McBoeing (that 2003 company) would have developed an entire leap-frog aircraft in that time (or at least hoped to do so).

    The fact that initial CEO-blabla is now revised gives a sign of hope: management does listen to engineering.

    The large number of test aircraft indicates that Boeing is doing more or less a close-to-full type certification. The main reason to stick with the old certification of the B737-100 is that the MAX would otherwise be impossible to certificate.

  15. Boeing has to do something about the nose.. designed in the late 40’s with the 707, it can’t be efficient. I have been dealing with cockpit wind noise in the 737 for 38 years. I thought they got it right with the 757 nose, but that design went away. Fuel savings might be right under their “nose.”

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