Aircraft: Boeing 737-700

On Monday, November 10 last, the brand new Boeing 737-700 received FAA certification. The 737-700 was launched in November 1993 on the strength of Southwest Airlines’ order for 63 Airplanes. Changes from the current-production 737s include a new larger wing, higher cruise speed, more range, and new engines with improvements in noise, fuel burn and thrust.

The 737 is based on a key philosophy focusing on delivering more value to airlines in the form of reliability, simplicity and reduced operating and maintenance costs. In addition, the new 737-700models enjoys crew commonality with today’s 737.

Like today’s 737, these new family members are offered in three sizes, ranging from 108 to 189 seats. The 737-700 is equivalent in size to the current 737-300, at 128 to 149 seats.

Modifications to the new 737-700 airplane’s wing increases the chord (width) and span (length), which increases fuel capacity and improves fuel efficiency, both of which increase range. On each wing the chord increases by about 20 inches (50 cm) and the total span by almost 18 feet (5 m). The total wing area is increased by 25 percent to 1,340 square feet (125 square meters), providing 30 percent more fuel capacity for a total of 6,878 U.S. gallons (26,136 L).

The range is approximately 3,000 nautical miles (3,454 statute miles or 4,847 km), an increase of up to 900 nautical miles over current-production 737s. That will allow U.S. transcontinental flights and increased 737 route capability throughout the world.

Modifications to the wing airfoil will provide an economical cruise speed of 0.79 Mach (530 mph), compared to 0.745 Mach for today’s 737, with sprint capability of 0.82 Mach. This speed capability makes these 737s a good replacement for 727s being retired. The aircraft will be able to cruise up to a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet, compared to 37,000 feet for the current 737 and 39,000 for the A320.

The 737-700 model is powered by new CFM56-7 engines produced by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric of the United States and SNECMA of France. The engines will provide the ability to meet community noise restrictions well below Stage 3 levels. These new engines also offer lower fuel burn and lower engine maintenance costs. The CFM56-7 has a 10 percent higher thrust capability than the CFM56-3C engines powering today’s 737. To take additional advantage of the engine’s increased thrust, the new 737 models’ vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer are enlarged.

A basic requirement for the 737-700 model is maintaining crew commonality with the flight deck of over 1,800 current generation 737s that have already been ordered. For example, installing the new Flight Deck Common Display System increases crew commonality by incorporating programmable liquid-crystal displays.

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