Meet The Boeing 737 MAX

Illustration for article titled Meet The Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing seems well on its way to unveiling the redesigned 737, dubbed the 737 MAX. Now that they have the basic design finalized, Boeing's engineer will begin ironing out the aircraft's finer details.

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What's different about the new 737 is its fuel consumption. Gone are the days of four-engine jumbo jet awesomeness. With fuel prices ever on the rise, airlines needed a narrow-bodied airliner that gets better fuel economy than the jets in their current fleets. The 737 MAX weighs less than its predecessor, uses new CFM LEAP-1B engines, and benefits from improved aerodynamics.

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The 737 MAX is scheduled to debut sometime in the middle of next year. ALAFCO, Alaska Airlines, Air Lease Corporation, Avolon, GECAS, GOL Airlines, Lion Air, Norwegian, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Australia already ordered a total of 878 of the new jets, and American Airlines will probably scoop up another 100.

I'd be willing to bet that lower fuel consumption won't mean lower ticket prices, but will keep them from being too outrageously expensive in the future. Progress for the status quo.

Photo credit: Boeing

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DISCUSSION

You know, I sometimes wonder if airliner design (from an engineering standpoint) has simply reached its apogee in terms of general layout. While details have changed here and there, the overall design of airliners has been virtually constant over the past 60 years. You could literally take a a DeHavilland Comet from the early 1950s and place it amongst contemporary Airbuses and Boeings and while it would look a little different, it wouldn't look entirely out of place.

Even the 787, which was supposed to be the ground-up re-imagination and re-design of the airliner wound being entirely conventional in terms of design layout and appearance. There are always studies of future airliner concepts like flying wing airliners, dual-body airliners, etc., but at the end of the day, it keeps coming back to the same old design format. I can't help but wonder if that's a result of the current template literally being the most efficient possible template, or if that comes down to not wanting to force a complate infrastructure redesign that might come with a new airliner design.