Boeing 737 MAX airliner: Successfully completes maiden flight

By Staff Writer

Feb 01, 2016 04:32 AM EST

All new Boeing 737 MAX sets its successful maiden journey that flew for about two and half hours taking off from Renton, Washington where it was built. It landed safely at Boeing field near Seattle after its first flight.

The MAX version is expected to provide better fuel efficiency than the replacing models. The first flight marks the beginning to achieve federal certification of the airplane. Also marks another step towards scheduled delivery to airlines in 2017.

According to Seattle Times, the jet took off slightly earlier than expected at 9:48 a.m. piloted by Capt. Ed Wilson, 737 chief pilot. This was due to the threat that low clouds might delay the flight. To avoid more tough weather, Capt. Wilson and co-pilot Craig Bomben, Boeing's chief test pilot, steered away from eastern Washington. They flew out over the Olympic Peninsula and landed safely near Seattle.

"It flew beautifully and we had no issues," said co-pilot Bomben at a post-flight press conference. This Boeing 737 MAX is the fourth version of the original 737, which made its first flight in 1967 and has become one of Boeing's most profitable aircraft. Changing over the years with different sizes and seating configurations, different engines and longer range, the 737 family has become the best-selling airliner in the history of commercial aviation. Boeing has over 13,000 aircrafts sold post 1965.

Boeing 737 Max program general manager Keith Leverkuhn said that, "We think we have a terrific product here." He added that, "We think it's going to be the preferred aircraft in the market."

CNN reported that, the aircraft limited its speed to 250 knots and initially climbed to 15,000 feet (4,570 meters), and later climbed higher than 20,000 feet (6,096 meters). Also the flight never exceeded 250 knots, but owing to the maturity of the basic platform, the landing gear was retracted for flight testing.

The company reported that the 737 MAX features new engines from CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric and Safran SA of France, said the International Business Times. The Boeing 737 MAX comes in three sizes with the seating capacity of 126 to 220 passengers.

Currently, Boeing's order book for the 737 MAX family aircraft stands at 2,827 aircraft, spanning more than 40 customers. The most highest orders come from Indonesia's Lion Air, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Ryanair.

Last week earlier, Boeing stocks reportedly traded low. This was after the company announced that it would deliver fewer airplanes than expected in this year. While on Thursday last week, Boeing delivered the 8,888th 737. This was after nearly 50 years since 737's first production. 

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