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6 Feb 2013 - Boeing Shanghai Celebrates Door Cutting Completion for First Boeing 737-300 PTF Conversion

SHANGHAI, Feb. 6, 2013 – Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services Co., Ltd., (Boeing Shanghai) held the door cutting ceremony for the first Boeing 737-300 passenger-to-freighter (PTF) conversion at its hangars at Shanghai Pudong Airport. The aircraft was inducted in December from Kenya Airways, Boeing Shanghai’s launch customer for this program. The modification is conducted under a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) developed by Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI).

At the ceremony, Tom Ouma Kadoyo, technical director of Kenya Airways, Roy Sandri, AEI President, Dermot Swan, CEO of Boeing Shanghai, and Daniel Ni, operation director of Boeing Shanghai jointly completed the door cut, completing a significant milestone for the PTF modification. The new door surround structure and the main deck cargo door will be installed on the aircraft later in the process. The conversion is targeted for completion in March 2013.

“We are making outstanding progress for our first 737-300 PTF. This is a great example of the new skills that our team continues to develop as we enhance our MRO services,” said Dermot Swan, CEO of Boeing Shanghai. “This is an excellent showcase for our capabilities as a full service MRO and to demonstrate how we provide value to Kenya Airways, AEI and other global customers.”

Boeing Shanghai is a joint venture between Boeing, Shanghai Airport Authorities and China Eastern Airlines. Boeing Shanghai offers a broad range of services from engineering, aircraft maintenance and modification to material management, and component repair and overhaul. Boeing Shanghai supports customers located throughout the world.


07 Oct 2012 - YouTube video of 737 Ecodemonstrator

YouTube video from Boeing showing the American Airlines 737-800 Ecodemonstrator which is partially funded by a grant from the FAA Continuous Lower Energy Emissions Noise (CLEEN) programme. Technologies include:

  • Adaptive trailing edge flaps *
  • variable area fan nozzles
  • active engine vibration reduction
  • a regenerative fuel cell
  • flight trajectory optimization

* Configurations chosen for the adaptive trailing-edge flight test include a fixed mini split flap for the inboard sections out to around mid-span and a drooped aileron tab. The outboard fixed trailing edge will also be modified to test both a mini plain and mini split flap. “They are all looking at better ways to make the trailing edge move without causing more drag,” says Mike Carriker, Boeing’s new airplane product development chief pilot.

Not all of these new technologies will be adopted or even make it to the forthcoming 737 MAX as these are only trials. Next year Boeing will change the Ecodemonstrator aircraft to a widebody, probably the 777.


20 Mar 2012 - Steven Udvar-Hazy verdict on 737 MAX

Air Lease Corp chief executive Steven Udvar-Hazy, a vocal advocate for Boeing's now-shelved New Small Airplane concept, says the airframer's strategy to develop the CFM International Leap-1B-powered 737 Max is intended as a bridge to a clean sheet design arriving in the middle of the next decade and "not a long-term solution".

The 737 Max is aimed at keeping "the market share positioning against the [Airbus A320] create an equilibrium of some sorts," says Udvar-Hazy.

Udvar-Hazy, who dubs Boeing's 737-replacement concept his "Hazyliner", has in the past said new aircraft concepts are part of Boeing's "DNA", describing the airframer's proclivity for embracing all-new, clean-sheet designs.

Boeing has been open about its strategic goals for the 737 Max, including a 50-50 marketshare split with Airbus, while openly acknowledging the cost and production capability of an all new narrowbody programme meant it was not ready for launch. It declines to discuss a timeline for such an offering.

Boeing's senior vice-president of marketing, Mike Bair, says "our intention is that we will build the Max until the market doesn't want to buy any more and we don't know when that's going to be.

"I wouldn't predict 2025 or 2035, at some point, either something better will come along or the marketplace will decide they won't continue to take it. We'll make it until it runs out of gas and that could be a long, long time," says Bair.

Without going so far as to dismiss the airframer's strategy outright, Udvar-Hazy says: "I think [737 Max] is viable because Boeing is going to stop building the [737]NG by 2019-2020, they're going to phase it out, just like the 737-300, -400, -500s [were] phased out" requiring existing customers to transition to the revamped narrowbody.

Bair also says no decision on curtailing 737NG production has been made, of which 2,223 are in backlog as of 1 March, including 78 for ALC.

A significant leap in efficiency on the 737 is restricted both by "the current geometry of the aircraft" and its limited under-wing clearance for a fan diameter larger than the 174cm (68.4in) offered by the Leap-1B, says Udvar-Hazy. A focus on the widebody market has also meant an all-new 737 has been pushed down the list of priorities.

Hazy believes a second engine option on the Max would help bolster its overall business case, but adds: "I don't think Boeing's going to do it." He has pushed the airframer to offer a Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-series engine, but its larger fan would require a more costly redesign of the narrowbody.

"I've had long talks with [Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh] and guys over there, where I showed them the dual engine [option] has helped Airbus gain marketshare with the A320neo family...because they had two choices and airlines were able to leverage that to get better deals.

"I just don't think Boeing is able to do that...I think they're kind of stuck in this situation because of the airframe," he says.

The 737 has "been a great bus for the industry, but at some point Boeing's going to have to deal with it. Right now, I think the focus has been getting the [787-10X] launched" and firming the competitive response to the A350 with its 777X "which I think [Boeing's] board will approve when they see they can get some [787] deliveries out".

Hazy says Boeing's 737 Max still holds distinct advantages over the A320neo, despite a 4.5t (10,000lb) weight growth in the airframe, he says, including being slightly lighter with nine additional seats between the 189-seat 737-8 and re-engined 180-seat A320neo.

By comparison, Airbus says the A320neo's weight has grown by between 1.6t and 1.8t (3,500lb to 4,000lb) with the addition of Leap-1A and Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines, respectively.

Max launch customer Southwest Airlines will take delivery of its first 737 Max in the fourth quarter of 2017.

12 Nov 2011 - More 737 MAX details

More details finally emerged about Boeing’s plans for the 737 MAX during a review of the third quarter by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh at the November 3 Goldman Sachs Industrials Conference in Boston. Perhaps most significantly, Boeing has finally decided on a 68-inch-diameter fan for the CFM Leap-1B engines chosen for the family of airplanes, prompting a lengthening of the front main landing gear by between six and eight inches, said Albaugh.

Other changes planned for the 737 MAX include a “revised” tail cone to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency; an “optimized“ engine core; fly-by-wire spoilers; external nacelle chevrons similar to those on the 747-8 and 787 for more efficient airflow mix and less noise; some “localized“ strengthening of the wings and fuselage; a new landing gear strut; a slight repositioning of the engine forward on the wing to accommodate higher engine loads; new software for the engine computer; and pneumatic system adjustments to adapt to differences in engine pressures. Albaugh somewhat downplayed the difference in fan diameters of the engines planned for the A320neo and that of the CFM Leap-1B planned for the 737 MAX. In fact, the CFM-powered A320neo will use a 78-inch-diameter fan while the fan on the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered Airbus will span 81 inches. “A lot of people get over-enamored with fan size,” he said. “You know, right now we have a 61-inch fan on the NG and I think Airbus has a 68-inch fan on theirs, but, again, we still have the most efficient airplanes.” Albaugh added that the 737 MAX has now drawn “north of 600 commitments,“ meaning Boeing has added tentative orders for more than 100 additional 737 MAX airplanes since he last reported on the total in September. “We’re working very hard on what the guarantees on the airplane will be, and once we finalize those, we’ll get the definitive agreements in place for the customers that we have.” Eight customers have now committed to the 737 MAX. Given its inability to issue guarantees yet, Boeing has shown what some might consider overconfidence in the advantages it has publicly claimed the 737 MAX will offer over the A320neo. Even before it decided on a fan size, Boeing claimed the new 737 MAX 8 would produce an operating-cost advantage of 7 percent over the Airbus offering. In addition, Boeing has claimed that a fleet consisting of 100 dual-class 737 MAX 8s would use nearly 175 million pounds less fuel per year, based on a 500-nm mission, than a similarly sized fleet of 737-800s.

21 Jul 2011 - First 737 with 7BE engines delivered

Boeing delivered the first 737 with improved engines to China Southern Airlines last week, the plane maker announced Thursday. The new CFM56-7BE engine configuration is part of a package of airplane improvements that aim to cut fuel use by 2 percent. Boeing plans to incorporate other improvements into 2012. “We continue to review performance flight test data and collect delivery data,” John Hamilton, 737 chief project engineer, said in a news release. “The improved fuel savings is part of our commitment to deliver market-leading value to Next-Generation 737 customers.” This is not to be confused with the program Boeing announced Wednesday to outfit the 737 with new CFM LEAP-X engines.

19 Jul 2011 - Boeing Offer Re-engined 737 to American Airlines

Boeing has made a last-ditch offer to sell American Airlines updated 737 jets with next-generation engines as it scrambles to prevent a strategic Airbus victory in a massive order from the longtime Boeing customer. The offer is a striking turnabout from signals all year that Boeing executives preferred to design an all-new small airplane that could replace the Renton-built 737 toward the end of the decade. American is expected to announce Wednesday its order for more than 200 single-aisle planes, likely split between the Airbus A320neo and the rival 737. According to three industry insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Airbus came close to winning the entire order. Before anyone at Boeing knew about it, last month the airline signed an initial memorandum of understanding to buy A320neos, which will come with new fuel-efficient engines. To head off that loss, within the last 10 days Boeing gave American a new proposal that offers the 737 jet equipped with similar engines, the sources said. Boeing sales teams worked furiously the past weekend to salvage the deal, according to a person with knowledge of the developments. "Boeing is putting up a real fight," he said, "But at best, they'd hope to get some kind of a split buy." Last-minute negotiations with American continued in advance of a decisive board meeting of the airline's parent company Tuesday evening. Bloomberg News reported the deal could be as big as 400 airplanes. Upside for Airbus A split order could mean Boeing replaces part of the carrier's aging fleet of almost 250 MD-80s with a mix of current and re-engined 737s, while Airbus replaces American's fleet of more than 120 larger 757s with A321neos. Winning even that much would be a tremendous win for Airbus. The A320 and 737 families of jets now divide the bread-and-butter single-aisle jet market evenly. But a big Boeing customer defection would suggest the A320neo could tilt that market share significantly. And Airbus may do better than an even split of the American deal. A second person, with knowledge of the sales talks, said Boeing's late offer could still prove "too little, too late," with the majority of the order going to Airbus. "Unless something dramatic changes today, this a done deal for Airbus," said that person. He said the Boeing offer lacked detailed data on the cost of the re-engined airplane, and the Boeing board has not given its go-ahead. "American's feeling has been, 'You guys (Boeing) haven't got your act together. You're giving us something on a piece of paper that isn't anywhere near as far along as Airbus,' " he said. Through most of this year, Boeing executives have said that re-engining the 737 was less likely than the favored alternative option: building an all-new small airplane that could enter service around 2020. To develop a re-engined 737, the wings have to be modified to hold the bigger, heavier engines, and the landing gear may have to be raised so the engine pods don't scrape the ground. Boeing believes it can do that for about $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the internal debate. A new airplane would cost upward of $10 billion. A re-engined 737 would continue to be built in Renton through at least 2025. When a new airplane is eventually launched, Washington will have to compete against other states to be the site of final assembly. Despite intense pressure from customers, Boeing said repeatedly it wouldn't even formally choose between these options until later this year. Airbus, by contrast, announced its plan last December, saying the first of its new A320neo family would enter service by late 2015. Air show fallout It now looks as if the American order, closely following a cascade of orders for A320neos at the Paris Air Show, has precipitated an early decision by Boeing. "Airbus forced their hand," said the first source. Airbus announced more than 700 orders and commitments in Paris for its plane, a success that respected aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group this week called a "shock and awe sales campaign." He concluded Boeing has been too slow to realize it's not the next new airframe, but the next generation of fuel-efficient engines, that will provide most of the technological progress that matters to the airlines. "If Boeing hasn't learned this lesson, it needs to," Aboulafia wrote in a report this week. "If (American) goes Airbus, much changes overnight," he added. "Boeing should offer a 737 Neo, fast." A study released this month by industry consulting firm AirInsight concluded that in particular the A321neo is a good candidate to replace the older 757s in many fleets, including American's. Industry analyst Scott Hamilton, a co-author of the AirInsight report, cited unnamed company insiders Tuesday on his blog saying that the re-engined 737 is now targeted to enter service in 2017, more than a year later than the A320neo. But Hamilton said Boeing still plans to go ahead with the new small airplane as well, no more than a year or so later than originally planned. One of the people with knowledge of Boeing's thinking said the target for an all-new plane is 2022, but described that as just a "placeholder" that could get pushed out further at a later date. Financing is key To hold off Airbus with American, Boeing has to match the European plane maker in more than engine technology. American has lost money every year since 2007, so the financial aspects of the deal are crucial. Ironically, the close historical relationship between Boeing and American could leave the aircraft maker in a bind as it reduces its price to win the deal. In 1996, Boeing signed landmark agreements with American, Delta and Continental for "most favored customer" status — guaranteeing them the lowest prices on any jet sales. Boeing knows that whatever discount it sets for American will trigger the same for Delta and possibly for United, which merged with Continental. A low bid could undermine Boeing's pricing for many hundreds of other jets. People working on the deal inside Boeing heard from American that the Airbus offer minimized the airline's upfront costs by arranging to lease a large portion of the jets. That would mean American pays monthly rent on the Airbus jets as it uses them, rather than buying them outright. To counter that, Boeing likely can enlist leasing companies such as GECAS, the airplane leasing arm of General Electric, to back its bid. Boeing would equip its revamped 737s with the new LEAP engine from GE/Snecma. The complex final details of such financing could determine the outcome of the American order. Whatever the outcome, said the first source Tuesday, "It's going to be a blockbuster of an order. ... We'll know in 24 hours." Another warned that such deals often are fluid until finally signed. "Last week, I was convinced Airbus was going to win this, and that Boeing would stick to its strategy of going for a new airplane. A week later, it's a split buy and Boeing has changed its strategy," he said. "This still could have some twists and turns."

04 Mar 2011 - 737 replacement possibly to be twin-aisle 797

By Geoffrey Thomas | ATW

Boeing is moving "far more aggressively" toward a 180-250 seat twin-aisle replacement for the 737, according to company insiders. It would continue production of the 737-800/900ER for airlines that still want the standard offering. VP-Advanced 737 Product Development Mike Bair confirmed this week that a twin-aisle has been canvassed, a scenario first revealed by ATW in 2006 (ATW, June 2006). Separately, ATW has learned that Boeing will announce an all-new 737 replacement, to be named the 797, at or before the Paris Air Show commencing June 20. Bair’s comments regarding the replacement being a twin-aisle, which have not been denied by the company, came in an interview with Flightglobal. The 180-seat twin-aisle concept has a fair amount of history. McDonnell Douglas developed a 180-seat twin-aisle concept in a 2-2-2 configuration in the early 1980s dubbed the DC-11. Delta Air Lines wanted to order 60 but MDC balked at the commitment, considering it too risky given the lack of interest from another US airline. The fuselage had a cross-section that was 22 in. wider than the 727/757, allowing for 17.7-in.-wide seats in doubles with two 18-in. aisles. In an all-economy layout at a 30-in. pitch, it could seat 214. Using the latest technology at the time, including composite floor beams, control surfaces, nacelles, vertical and horizontal stabilizers and other primary structures, MDC predicted fuel consumption 10% better than the 757 with the same engine application—the JT10D-32 engine rated at 32,000 lb. thrust. Boeing also floated the twin-aisle 180-seat concept in 1987 with its 7J7 and showed a full cabin mockup at that year's Paris Air Show. It took the widebody concept further with a 181-in. cabin width that would permit 2-3-2 seating, 17-in.-wide seats and 18-in. aisles in coach. It is this cross-section that insiders at Boeing tell ATW the company is focused on. The twin-aisle idea surfaced again in 2001 in two patents filed by Boeing under the heading "Twin-Aisle Small Airplane," with Mithra Sankrithi, a manager in Commercial Airplanes' product development, configuration and engineering analysis group, named as the inventor. The patents were submitted on Oct. 2, 2001, and approved in 2003 and 2004. One cabin sports a 2-3-2 configuration with Sankrithi claiming the new configuration could deliver "the comfort typically reserved for larger aircraft," while at the same time minimizing drag, weight penalties, fuel burn and "economic penalties." The fuselage cross-section for the 2-3-2 configuration is 200.7 in., fractionally wider than the 767's 198.03 in., and the design features a swept T-tail. Interestingly, Sankrithi filed another patent last year with co-engineer Kevin Retz with the same T-tail twin-aisle under wing engine layout, which is similar to the configuration and layout of another McDonnell Douglas aircraft: The 1981 vintage 150-seat MDF100, which was to be built with Fokker on a 50/50 basis but didn't get off the drawing board.

10 Feb 2010 - Boeing to replace rather than upgrade the 737

Boeing will replace its 737 rather than outfitting the single-aisle workhorse with new engines, company President Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney said todday. "We're going to do a new airplane," McNerney said at the Cowen Aerospace/Defense Conference in New York. He then qualified this a bit, saying: "We're not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias is to not re-engine, is to move to a whole new airplane at the end of the decade, the beginning of the next decade." McNerney and other executives have said for months that they didn't see a compelling business case for re-engining even after Airbus decided to re-engine its competing A320. Boeing and Airbus are responding to competition from upstarts such as the Bombardier CSeries, Comac C919 and United Aircraft Corp. MS-21. He addressed the situation Thursday in responding to a question about whether the re-engined A320neo was a threat to the 737. "It's our judgment that our customers will wait for us, rather than move to an airplane that will obsolete itself when (Airbus) move(s) to a new airplane," McNerney said. He also repeated his company's contention that Airbus was playing catchup to Boeing, saying: "The neo on paper closes the value gap that we have enjoyed. ... "I feel pretty comfortable that we can defend our customer base both because they're not going ahead of us, they're catching up to us, and because we're going to be doing a new airplane that will go beyond the capability of what they neo could do."

10 Dec 2010 - Boeing sees no "compelling reason" for 737 upgrade

Boeing said it could not see a "compelling reason" to follow European rival Airbus in upgrading the 737, its commercial aircraft chief told the Financial Times. Airbus, the world's largest plane-maker, said earlier this month it would spend roughly $1.3 billion (1.09 billion pounds) to improve efficiency of its A320 aircraft by upgrading it with engines that offer 15 percent fuel savings. Boeing was mulling whether to upgrade its competing 737 plane, as airlines and the market welcomed the Airbus announcement on December 1. "We certainly can't see a compelling reason to do it," Jim Albaugh said in an interview published in the Friday's edition of the newspaper. Albaugh said it would only add "a few percent" in financial benefits for customer airlines. "I think most of them will wait for a new aeroplane."

31 Aug 2010 - Boeing Leaning Away from 737 Re-engining

By: Gregory Polek August 31, 2010 Aerospace Industry,

Air Transport and Cargo Aircraft Chances that Boeing will fit new engines on the existing 737 appear slimmer now than at any time since the company began talking publicly about the prospect, judging by the comments of Boeing CFO James Bell today at the Morgan Stanley Industrials Unplugged Conference in New York. According to Bell, potential customers haven't shown much interest in a re-engined 737, and Boeing remains unconvinced that the performance improvements promised by the various engine makers will prove sufficient to warrant such a step. "Right now it looks like the engines can get 10- to 15-percent more efficient, but it's not flow-through efficiency," said Bell. "When you add the weight associated with the change in the design of the airplane and you add the cost, it looks more like a single-digit improvement, which we don't believe is something that our customers are interested in." Still, Bell wouldn't completely discount the prospect of a re-engining, particularly if fuel prices rise well above today's relatively low cost by the time the company decides on plans for the future of the 737. Still planning to choose among the options of re-engining, introducing an all-new airplane or essentially maintaining the status quo by the end of this year, Boeing has yet to finish its studies, said Bell. "On the new airplane, we obviously are looking at what are the technological improvements that we need to have in order to [achieve] flow-through improvement of 10- to 15 percent," he added. "At this point we don't know exactly what that is. We do know part of it would be the engine. The other part would have to be improved aerodynamics of the aircraft itself, and it's easier to scale up [composite material] than scale it down, but we're still working at it…But I can tell you right now our customers have not shown a real interest in a re-engining."


4 May 2010 - Project Phoenix chooses 737-800

Project Phoenix, the Dubai-based business aircraft sales organisation which specialises in the renovation and conversion of airliners to VIP aircraft has chosen the Boeing 737-800 as the ideal candidate to enter the narrow-body airliner conversion market. Its new venture will be known as The Phoenix LBJ (Large Business Jet). The decision follows a six-month technical evaluation of suitable airliners and a dialogue with potential customers. Having selected the 737-800, Project Phoenix has issued an RFI (Request for Information) to several completion facilities in Europe, Australasia and the USA, to undertake the work. Several designs are being prepared including a 30-seat VIP version with private office and State Room as well as a higher density Corporate version. Customers will be able to choose the number of auxiliary tanks to be installed depending on their operational range and payload requirements. Project Phoenix President Mike Cappuccitti said the group decided on the 737-800 owing to the type’s popularity and strong likelihood that there will be an increasing number of aircraft coming into the market. “The aircraft has all the right attributes for our program. It is a New Generation 737. It requires little in the way of avionics upgrades. It has winglets and we can vary the range and payload capability depending on our customer’s specific needs.” he said. A key market driver, the company believes, will be the need for fiscal prudence in future VIP aircraft purchases. “The Phoenix LBJ will represent outstanding value and quality. It will be many millions of dollars less than comparable new aircraft with no compromise in quality,” said Project Phoenix Chairman John Lawson. The company expects a full data package to be available by late 2010 after a completion facility has been chosen following the comprehensive RFP process. Mike Creed, VP Business Development said, “We anticipate an official launch at the 2010 MEBA show in Dubai but we are ready to start preliminary discussions with interested customers now. In fact, we already are talking to several potential buyers.”


18 Mar 2010 - Boeing likely to boost 737, 777 production rates

Boeing is leaning toward increasing production rates for the 737 and 777 families with decisions expected by mid-year, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh said yesterday. The current 737 build rate is 31.5 units per month and the company expects to make a decision in June on whether to raise it. Last week, Airbus announced it was taking the A320 rate to 36 per month from 34 as of December (ATWOnline, March 10). Speaking to media at Boeing's Arlington, Va., offices, Albaugh explained that "We made a conscious decision a couple years ago to sell more airplanes than we had production capability to manufacture" owing to the likelihood of deferrals and lapsed options. As a result, production is sold out for 2010-11 and "we're overbooked in 2012." Turning to the 777, he said, "Stay tuned. We're going to make a decision on that in April. We have three 777 campaigns and I think there is a very good chance we will raise the triple 7 rate as well." The manufacturer currently is trimming the monthly rate to five from seven, he noted, adding, "Depending on our decision in April it will take about 15 months to ramp up." He said it will take somewhat longer to increase the 737 rate. Albaugh also signaled a tougher negotiating stance in selling airplanes. In what observers took to be a reference to last year's failed Ryanair 737 campaign (ATWOnline, Dec. 21, 2009), he said, "We could've sold 200 more airplanes last year. . .and we didn't take those orders because people wanted them at the bottom of the cycle prices." Referencing the 787, he said, "I believe we sold those a little bit cheaper than we probably should have." Elaborating on the theme, he pointed to "a backlog of 3,400 airplanes. We don't have to do a deal to keep the production lines running. . .We are going to remain disciplined." Boeing continues to study the business case for re-engining the 737 but does not feel pressure to make a decision by Farnborough (ATWOnline, March 10). Should it go forward, Albaugh "will do everything I can to reduce the requirements creep so it doesn't become the equivalent of a major change to the aircraft." He agreed that the CSeries 300 appears to be targeted at the 737-700 market. Refuting speculation that Boeing will not fight hard to defend its position in the under-150-seat market, he stated: "I look at the 737 business that we have and it is one of the cornerstones of Boeing Commercial and it is a marketplace we are going to defend."


2 Feb 2010 - CFM56-7BE 150-Hour Block Test imminent; Certification Program on Schedule

Certification of CFM International’s advanced new CFM56-7BE engine is progressing on schedule. In the next few weeks, the engine is scheduled to begin a 150-hour block test, paving the way for the flight test program early this year. A block test, which is a certification requirement, is one of the most grueling to which an engine can be subjected. The engine is operated at what is referred to as triple redline: maximum fan speed, maximum core speed, and maximum exhaust gas temperature. This test simulates conditions far more extreme than would ever been experienced in commercial service to validate the reliability and durability of the hardware. The first full CFM56-7BE type design engine completed ground testing in January, and engine operation and performance was as expected. In the second quarter of this year, the –7BE configuration will begin a 50-hour flight test program on GE’s flying testbed in Victorville, California. Engine certification is on schedule for mid-2010, paving the way for flight tests on the Next-Generation 737 planned for early in 2011, followed by aircraft certification and entry into service in mid-2011. The CFM56-7BE-powered Next-Generation 737 enhanced airplane/engine combination will provide a 2 percent improvement in fuel consumption, which, in turn, equates to a 2 percent reduction in carbon emissions. Additionally, the enhanced -7B will provide up to 4 percent lower maintenance costs, depending on the thrust rating. The CFM56-7BE engine enhancement program, which CFM International (CFM) launched earlier this year, is scheduled to enter airline service in mid-2011 to coincide with Boeing Next-Generation 737 airframe improvements. CFM is using advanced computer codes and three-dimensional design techniques to improve airfoils in the high- and low-pressure turbines to improve engine performance. In addition, CFM is improving engine durability and reducing parts count to achieve lower maintenance costs.



28 Jan 2010 - Changes to Boeing 737 management team

SEATTLE, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Albaugh today announced organizational changes intended to strengthen the company's focus on both performance and long-term strategy. "Our priorities for 2010 and beyond are clear," Albaugh said. "We must execute on our 787 and 747-8 development programs; we must continue to perform on our ongoing production programs; and in this increasingly competitive world, we must develop a clear vision and roadmap for both the single-aisle and twin-aisle marketplaces."

Albaugh announced moves intended to strengthen execution of ongoing Boeing programs, including: Beverly Wyse was named vice president and general manager, 737 Program, also reporting to Shanahan. She replaces Mark Jenkins, who recently announced his retirement after 35 years at Boeing. Wyse most recently was vice president and general manager, 767 Program. She will continue to support the U.S. tanker program.

Albaugh made further executive changes intended to stimulate future growth, saying in a message to employee message Thursday, "Defining Boeing's airplane product strategy is critical to our future growth. We need a clear vision and roadmap for both our single-aisle and twin-aisle offerings for the future. Also, in the global environment in which we operate, we need a sharpened situational awareness of macro-economic and geopolitical realities".

Mike Bair will lead a newly created Advanced 737 Product-Development team, which will be responsible for planning the future of Boeing's single-aisle offering. Bair most recently was vice president, Business Strategy and Marketing, Commercial Airplanes.


27 Jan 2010 - Boeing CEO: Actively Considering New Engine For 737

Boeing Co. (BA) on Wednesday said it plans to maintain production rates for its key 737 aircraft as it nears a decision on updating the model to fend off looming new competition. The company rebuffed speculation that the downturn in the airline industry and tight credit markets would force it to produce fewer 737s despite a bulging order book. Boeing will maintain existing 737 production and also look to provide new engines and other updates to refresh the product range. Chief Executive Jim McNerney said on a conference call that Boeing is "actively considering" putting a new engine in the 737, a move that would be cheaper and quicker than an all-new aircraft. Boeing and rival Airbus have slipped the timescale for a new narrowbody aircraft by five or more years to 2020 to 2024. Airbus has said it will decide this year whether to re-engine its A320 family. "In this era of high fuel prices and productivity requirements, I think airlines are focused more on ongoing productivity than obsolescence. Many of these operators are anxious for us to move," McNerney said. Boeing and Airbus face intensifying competition in the narrowbody segment, which accounts for the bulk of their commercial aerospace profits. Canada's Bombardier is developing a larger new jet with more efficient engines, and an all-new Chinese airliner could also have an advantage over existing Boeing and Airbus models. Russian and Brazilian manufacturers are also eyeing the market. The new Bombardier C-Series expected to arrive in 2013 features a new engine from Pratt & Whitney promising a 15% advantage in fuel efficiency over existing models. Boeing expects to deliver 460 to 465 commercial aircraft, down from 481 in 2009 after electing to trim output of its 777 widebody. Airbus reduced its production rate for A320 single-aisle family to 34 a month from 36 last October. It said there were no immediate plans to adjust it again, but will do so if necessary. Production of A330/A340 widebodies is steady at around eight a month. After a slow year for new aircraft orders, discussions with customers are picking up a bit, McNerney said. A year ago, Boeing had expected to step in with $1 billion of aircraft financing in 2009 to help get planes out the door. It forecast a similar need for manufacturer financing this year. James Bell, Boeing's chief financial officer, said Wednesday that Boeing Capital Corp. financed $800 million of aircraft in 2009, and now expects to provide less than $500 million of financing assistance in 2010. McNerney said commercial banks, lessors and other lenders all are in stronger-than-expected financial shape from last January. Boeing is sold out of new aircraft in 2010 and 2011, Bell said. While customers have canceled or deferred hundreds of new aircraft, he said the rate of deferrals slowed in the final quarter of 2009.

14 Nov 2009 - Boeing to install CMC EFBs in 737NGs, BBJs late next year

Operators are expected to begin installing Esterline CMC Electronics’ new 10.4-inch Class 2 PilotView electronic flight bag (EFB)–selected by Boeing for its Next-Generation 737s and BBJs–on 737NGs starting in the third quarter of 2010, according to Esterline. Plans call for the Class 2 EFB system to come installed on production airplanes and be available for retrofit. Boeing has begun developing a common application suite and ground infrastructure for use across Class 1, 2 and 3 EFBs. The EFB contains all documentation and forms that pilots carry–from aeronautical maps and charts, manuals, fault reporting and operations to minimum equipment lists and logbooks–in digital format. “The news that Boeing will start to install the latest addition to our EFB product portfolio on Next-Generation 737s and BBJs in production next year strengthens our growing OEM supplier position,” said Greg Yeldon, Esterline CMC Electronics president. CMC’s PilotView EFB stays powered during all flight phases, thereby improving productivity and reducing workload. It features an LED-backlit display delivering enhanced readability in all ambient lighting conditions. Authorities have issued more than 23 STCs for the PilotView 8.4-inch EFB on aircraft ranging from the Gulfstream V and IV and Bombardier Global Express/XRS to the Boeing 737. PilotView stands as the sole OEM Class 2 EFB option at Dassault, Pilatus and Emivest Swearingen. Rockwell Collins has selected PilotView for the Bombardier Global platform, as has Embraer for the E 170/190 program, and ATR for the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft.


21 Jul 2009 - 737 production rate expected to remain steady

Since the turn of the year, speculation about when (or if) the 737 production rate would be cut has thus far proven to be unfounded. Its value proposition has forced operators to realise that “out with the old, in with the new” mantra is an endearing philosophy.

Let’s look at some of the figures this year. At the half-way mark, there have been around 500 Airbus and Boeing deliveries. Of that, 81% of those deliveries for Airbus comprised the A320 family and for Boeing, the 737 accounted for 77% of deliveries thus far. No question, narrowbody airplanes are leading the delivery charge as airlines phase out older jets and replace them with new-build ones that offer a raft of new technology, are more greener and efficient along with a much lower cost of operation. Boeing has the benefit of its single-aisle production being housed in one location, and not three. Despite a 737 production rate of just over 30-a-month, more deliveries are being brought forward than being pushed out, such as this deal with Copa Airlines demonstrates. Where Qantas once stepped in to take American Airlines 737-800 slots a few years ago, a role reversal today means that where the Australian airline has deferred a plethora of airplanes, American is speeding up retirement of its MD80 fleet by snaring freed up slots. Funding of course is a question, but in parallel to placing orders, much of the backstop financing and money for pre-delivery payments and progress payments continued to be readily available “on tap” for those pre-2008 orders.

The constant call for rate adjustments is not consistent with the marketplace. This cycle could be the first in history where jets less than 10 years old cut from the world fleet due to excessive capacity may never return to active service. There certainly isn’t chronic oversupply, nor has there been any significant downward pricing pressure on new or second-hand 737s. The key indicators will be deliveries from the second half of 2010 and beyond. Any slow down in replacement could be the trigger for delivery rate adjustments – and even that is by no means a certainty with many speculating that the “green shoots” of recovery are not that far away. Critically, any 737 rate revision will not exceed the 15-20% window. Boeing still derives plentiful economies of scale on its most productive and efficient assembly line. One of the fundamental reasons why the 737 will continue to both capture orders and maintain rates is because of consumer spending. With this downturn, businesses are just not prepared to pay vast sums of money to fly execs around anymore (witness the collapse in premium traffic just about anywhere).

In Europe, Ryanair has long been poised to churn its existing 737-800 with up to a couple hundred more of the same – low cost carriers are driving the growth and could in turn spur the revival of fractional ownership too. In the absence of orders, if Ryanair does, as expected, go for more 737s, just why would Boeing need to cut rates when one of their biggest customers simply wants more 737s as quickly as they can be built? With Copa Airlines taking delivery of its new 737s from 2012 through 2015 and exercising its options between 2015-17, it takes less customers than some think to keep the Renton line ticking over as nicely as it has done since the woes it had in the late 1990’s. If Boeing has learned lessons with its product portfolio, then the 737 is streets ahead of the sceptics and certainly doesn’t have to pay attention to rate cuts that are incompatible with what’s going on in the market.

03 Jun 2009 - Northern Air Cargo 737-200s First with WAAS

Northern Air Cargo said it has implemented the new Wide Area Augmentation System technology, which will let its Boeing 737-200 jets follow more direct flight paths and increase their ability to land safely in low-visibility conditions.

The Federal Aviation Administration developed the technology, Northern Air said.

Its 737-200s are the first Boeing aircraft in the United States equipped with the technology, the Anchorage cargo airline said. The technology will save Northern Air money, improve its service and lessen its environmental impact, the airline said.

12 May 2009 - 737 AEW&C Wedgetail gets STC

Boeing’s 737-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft has received its supplemental-type certification (STC) from FAA, marking the first time one of the company’s larger battle management platforms has received this commercial approval rating.

“It’s a big milestone for us,” Boeing AEW&C business development senior manager Egan Greenstein says. The STC, received May 11, is an amendment to the 737-700IGW (increased gross weight) certification and means the substantially modified aircraft meets all FAA standard airworthiness requirements.

Approval also means pursuing international sales and deliveries will be considerably easier, and comes as Boeing awaits the outcome of an independent study into the aircraft’s Northrop Grumman-developed multirole electronically-scanned array (MESA) radar. Commissioned by the Australian government, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory study is evaluating the baseline architecture of the MESA surveillance system and its abilities.

The report was prompted by a series of long-running delays to the program, which was launched with a development contract in 2000 by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for its Wedgetail AEW requirement. The first pair of six Wedgetail 737s are now slated for delivery in November, roughly three years later than originally planned.

If the study returns a negative verdict, Australian reports suggest this could give the RAAF a legitimate reason to cancel the program. But Greenstein expresses confidence and notes significant re-engineering two years ago. “We feel confident about our foundation, and that we’re on the right path, and that there are no weaknesses in the system,” he says. “We have been implementing fixes to improve performance.”

Boeing is currently working through acceptance tests on the radar and continues to introduce periodic software drops as the program moves toward first deliveries. “Any changes we’re doing now are minor fixes,” Greenstein says, adding that the early development phase faced issues with radar tracking and integration. “In 2000, when we started, the maturity of the radar system was not as far along as we’d have hoped,” he concedes.

Boeing and the RAAF also are working through initial data collected from the aircraft’s first realistic operating exercise. Wedgetails took part in a military operational utility demonstration called Arnhem Thunder from late April to last week, based out of Darwin in the Northern Territories. Working with air, ground and sea forces, the aircraft’s crew controlled multiple engagements over six sorties.

Developmental test and evaluation work also is under way on the first of four Turkish Peace Eagle AEW&C aircraft at Boeing Field. Deliveries of the Turkish aircraft are expected to begin in 2010, while the first of four South Korean Peace Eyes are due to enter service in 2011. The remaining three Korean aircraft are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2012. Negotiations, meanwhile, continue with the United Arab Emirates over the potential sale of from two to four AEW&C aircraft, while Boeing has also responded to a request for information from India.

28 Apr 2009 - Boeing Unveils Performance & Comfort Changes to 737NGs

SEATTLE, April 28, 2009 -- Boeing unveiled Tuesday enhancements to its 737 single-aisle jet that should modestly boost fuel performance and significantly improve the passenger experience. The good news for travelers on this workhorse of domestic flights is the new passenger cabin will have lots more room overhead: No more hunching under the luggage stow bins as you exit your seat or wait for other passengers to disembark. The package of enhancements is designed to refresh the 737 brand now that Boeing has pushed out a replacement jet at least until late in the next decade. The changes include improvements to the engine made by CFM, a joint venture between General Electric and Snecma of France. But with this announcement, it appears Boeing has ruled out a major redesign of the airplane to enable it to fly with Pratt & Whitney's all-new "geared turbofan" engine. "We have a dynamite partnership with CFM," said John Hamilton, chief engineer on the 737. "We're going to stick with them." The new 737 cabin design, dubbed the "737 sky interior," is modeled on the innovative 787 Dreamliner passenger cabin. It includes blue mood lighting and brighter colors. And it replaces the shelflike stow bins with sharply curved pivoting bins of the type introduced on the 777 jet 15 years ago. When opened for loading, they pivot down to about the same height as bins used today. But when closed, they tuck high into the corner of the cabin and remove that low overhang that makes it impossible to stand fully upright even in the aisle seat. The new 737 interior will roll out late next year. It will be standard on jets going to new customers, but optional on airlines already having 737s. Some may choose to keep all their cabins looking alike, rather than switch.

Airlines already signed up to get the new cabin are Continental Airlines in the U.S., FlyDubai of the United Arab Emirates, GOL of Brazil, Lion Air of Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and TUI Travel of London. Fuel burn may matter more to airlines like European budget carrier Ryanair, a top 737 customer known for its commitment to low prices with minimal service and comfort. Boeing is targeting a 2 percent reduction in fuel consumption by 2011, through a combination of airframe and engine improvements. Structural improvements — refining the aerodynamic shape of the wheel well, the wing control surfaces, an exhaust outlet and even the red warning light on top of the fuselage — will reduce drag on the airplane. On the engine, Boeing has designed a shorter exhaust nozzle and an elongated plug at the back to reduce drag. The overall reduction in drag will reduce fuel consumption by about 1 percent. CFM claims its improvements to the engine innards — taking out some of the blades and reshaping others to improve air flow — will provide the remaining 1 percent fuel-burn improvement and also reduce maintenance costs about 4 percent compared with the current engine. The enhanced engine is expected to enter service in mid-2011.


16 Apr 2009 - RAAF's Wedgetail future on the line

Max Blenkin April 16, 2009 - 3:45PM The future of the RAAF's $3.45 billion Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW and C) aircraft project is on the line. Defence is soon to receive a series of reports which could lead to cancellation of the troubled project, now running three years behind schedule. Should that occur, the loss to the Commonwealth would dwarf the disastrous Seasprite project, cancelled last year at a cost of $1 billion. It would also leave Australia without long-awaited AEW and C aircraft, a vital element of future air combat capability. Warren King, general manager of programs for the Defence Materiel Organisation, said the Wedgetail program remained very challenged and under intense pressure from Australia and prime contractor Boeing. Mr King said the two key problems related to performance of the aircraft's advanced MESA radar and the electronic surveillance systems. He said defence had commissioned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory to assess radar performance and judge whether it could achieve the desired capability. As well, the RAAF will conduct tests of a Wedgetail aircraft under Australian conditions next month. The Lincoln report is imminent. Mr King said the intention was to assess this report, the RAAF trials and other tests conducted in the US to determine whether the radar technology could mature over time. "If it has no future there is no point going forward with it," he told a parliamentary committee. "Bluntly speaking, it would be - is there a future or not for this technology? The extreme of that is to recommend to cancel the program." Mr King said much of Wedgetail was at or near doing exactly what it should. But it was clear some elements of Wedgetail radar performance would not meet RAAF technical specifications, but it wasn't clear by how much. "We still have to get air force's view about what does that shortfall mean operationally," he said. Mr King said defence and Boeing were aiming for an end of June deadline, although there might not be enough information to make a decision until July, August or even September. He said Australia was only paying the contract fee and the real issue was not having the military capability. The Boeing 737 Wedgetail was chosen in 1999 at the conclusion of a protracted project definition and procurement process launched in the 1980s. Australia opted for six Boeing 737 aircraft, each equipped with the advanced Northrop Grumman MESA radar which appeared to offer very considerable advantages over elderly rotating antenna radar systems on US E-2 and E-3 aircraft. But that required substantial development to produce a mature capability. Wedgetail was initially promised for delivery in 2006, but under a revised schedule the first aircraft should arrive this November with a limited capability suitable for training, but not operations.


31 Mar 2009 - Boeing 737 Certification For Kid-Systeme's GSM On Board Technology

Hamburg/Buxtehude - KID-Systeme, the leader in aircraft cabin electronics, recently announced at the Aircraft Interiors Expo that its GSM on Board inflight passenger communications system, used by OnAir, has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) supplement type certification for Boeing 737 aircraft. The Boeing 737, is operated by more than 500 airlines including Ryanair, the first airline to commit to a full fleet deployment of Mobile OnAir. EASA supplement type certification for the B737, in service for Ryanair, follows certification for the OnAir mobile telephony system on the whole Airbus A320 family of single-aisle aircraft.

Ryanair currently has over twenty aircraft flying with the KID-Systeme‘s GSM on Board equipment and OnAir's inflight passenger GSM voice and data services. Ryanair is in the process of retrofitting the equipment to the rest of its B737 fleet.

The Boeing retrofit installation design and Supplemental Type Certification (STC) process was managed by KID-Systeme with its partner ECS. A key feature of the STC retrofit design is the use of an innovative distributed Line Replacement Unit installation concept, allowing the GSM on Board equipment to be installed during an aircraft's regular maintenance check. The design of this system enables activation during an over-night stop, meaning the aircraft does not have to be taken out of passenger service.

The GSM on Board equipment has been designed to minimise weight and space usage, particularly in areas designated for passenger use. The GSM server is located in the electronics bay under the cockpit; the leaky-line cable runs along the inside ceiling of the cabin; and the satellite communications equipment, picocell and onboard control equipment are located above the ceiling panels in the aft fuselage.

Patrick Schrot, Managing Director of KID-Systeme, said, "This EASA certification demonstrates the excellence of the programme run by KID-Systeme and ECS. It has also paved the way for Ryanair's inflight passenger connectivity services and we have no doubt it will prove to be the tipping-point for the technology's wide-spread adoption."

KID Systeme's GSM on Board airborne equipment has already been in commercial use on Air France, bmi, Royal Jordanian, TAP Portugal and Wataniya Airways, with further airlines signed up to start the service in 2009 and 2010. It is unique in that it uses Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband technology, providing passengers with the widest range of inflight communications services currently available.

24 Mar 2009 - IAI's Bedek Aviation Group Delivers First Boeing 737-400 Converted Freighter

BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ISRAEL -- Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) Bedek Aviation Group delivered its first B737-400 Bedek Special Freighter Configuration (BDSF) on March 15, 2009, to General Electric Commercial Aviation Service (GECAS). The aircraft has been leased to Bluebird Cargo based in Iceland. Bluebird already operates three B737-300BDSF aircraft.

This is the 39th B737 conversion from Passenger to Freighter (P2F) aircraft performed by IAI to date. The conversion was performed at IAI's Ben Gurion Airport facility. IAI holds Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Dany Kleiman, IAI Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Bedek Aviation Group, emphasizes that the Passenger to Cargo Conversion Program (B747-400, B767-200, B737-300 and now B737-400) is a core business of the Aircraft Division, and that in spite of the "slowdown" in the industry, IAI looks forward to many additional B737-400 conversion projects, including some this year.

15 Jan 09 - Boeing marks aerial refuelling first for 737 family

Boeing has completed the first aerial refueling of the 737-700 Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Australia. The event marks the first aerial refueling of a member of the Boeing 737 family, a company spokesman says. The 737-700 Wedgetail received fuel from a Boeing KC-135 and Boeing KC-10.

Boeing is scheduled to deliver the first Wedgetail aircraft to Australia more than two years late in July, but is likely to be further delayed to November. Boeing confirms that the programme is "driving toward the second half of 2009" for first delivery, the spokesman says. The aircraft will be restricted to training missions until the electronic warfare system is delivered in 2010.

06 Jan 2009 - First biofuel from algae airliner flight tomorrow by a B737

US airline Continental says it will carry out "the first biofuel flight by a commercial carrier using algae as a fuel source" tomorrow. Previous airliner biofuel trials have used controversial "first-generation" feedstocks, seen as contributing to world hunger and deforestation, apart from a recent New Zealand test involving jatropha nuts.

Continental says the flight will occur at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, at 1115 AM local time tomorrow (7 Jan 2009). The aircraft in question will be a Boeing 737-800 equipped with CFM International CFM56-7B engines, and the biofuel mix used will be sourced from feedstocks including jatropha and algae.

Continental say that this means the test will draw only on "sustainable, second-generation fuel sources that do not impact food crops or water resources, and do not contribute to deforestation". In addition to airline execs, the event will be attended by Billy Glover, Boeing's managing director in charge of environmental strategy.

First-generation biofuels made from feedstocks such as corn or palm oil have come in for sustained criticism lately. It has been suggested that these fuels displace food production from farmland, driving up food prices and so causing hardship among the poor. The resulting desire for more farmland is also seen as contributing to deforestation.

Convincing analysis has also suggested that developed nations - or those wishing to become developed one day - will simply never have enough arable land to fuel any significant proportion of their transport using crop fuels.

This has led to the push for "second-generation" biofuels, ones not requiring the use of good farmland for production. Thus far the main candidate here has been oil from the jatropha nut, which might perhaps be cultivated in unused arid deserts not suitable for food production. A recent test by Air New Zealand has shown that jumbo jets will run on a 50-50 jatropha and normal jetfuel mix, but as yet there are not well-established large scale sources of the oily nuts and many are sceptical regarding the viability of the idea.

The other headliner gen-2.0 biofuel feedstock is algae, which might be grown in large amounts on water surfaces - perhaps even on saltwater, avoiding the need to exploit possibly overstressed freshwater resources. To many in the avaiation industry of recent times, algae has been something of a holy grail - offering a way to avoid the high fuel prices seen last year and a possible get-out from tough carbon pricing regimes planned by such bodies as the European Union. Biofuel is one of the few technically feasible low-carbon avenues open to aviation: such options as hydrogen fuel and electric power would be hugely harder to use on aircraft than they are to implement in road vehicles.

All of which means that tomorrow's test by Continental should generate a good deal of interest - although the firm hasn't yet offered details of its algae feedstock, nor of how much of the fuel it provides. It is understood that the biofuel is provided by Honeywell subsidiary UOP, which is working on second-generation biojetfuel as part of the Airbus Initiative, and which has a US military contract aimed at renewable, securely sourced JP-8.


05 Jan 2009 - BBJ3 nearing completion

Boeing recently completed work on the first BBJ 3, a larger business jet based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER. The airplane is now at DeCrane Aircraft in Georgetown, DE where it will receive its long-range auxiliary fuel system and a Head-up Display.

The fuel system, new for the model, will undergo a two-month certification process at DeCrane. The airplane's final stop is at a completion center of the owner's choosing, where it will receive a custom interior. The un-named customer will receive the completed airplane in 2009.

The BBJ 3 has 1,120 square feet of floor space, and provides 35 percent more interior space and 89 percent more luggage space than the BBJ 2. The BBJ 3's range is between 5,435 nmi and 4,725 nmi, depending on the number of passengers flown.

All BBJs are equipped with Blended Winglets (wing tip extensions), which reduce community noise, lower emissions and increase the airplane's range.

The BBJ program focuses on features that help owners fly safely, efficiently, reliably and comfortably. Boeing currently is delivering BBJs with lower cabin altitude and Future Air Navigation System technology. Lower cabin altitude allows the cabin pressurization control system to regulate the cabin environment to equal a maximum cabin altitude of 6,500 feet so that passengers travel in greater comfort.

Future Air Navigation System (FANS) streamlines communication between flight crews and air traffic controllers. FANS adds another layer of safety and efficiency to the global air transportation system, and allows BBJ owners to take more direct routes, shortening flight times and saving fuel.


01 Jan 2009 - Boeing considers 737 enhancements

Boeing whose 737 is the world's most widely flown plane, said it's studying new "product enhancements" as replacement plans for the aircraft have been delayed toward the end of the next decade.

The Chicago-based company is considering rolling out more changes to the current version of the jet as it has done since 2000, with improvements to performance, comfort and navigation, Russell Young, a spokesman in Seattle, said Wednesday.

"We will share the details of future enhancements when we have decided to implement them," Young said.

Both Boeing and Airbus SAS have struggled to meet customers' demands for a 20 percent reduction in operating costs for the 737 and the Airbus A320, short-haul planes that are the backbone of fleets for many airlines' domestic routes. Enginemakers haven't come up with technology yet that would ensure enough of a decrease in fuel burn and emissions, forcing planemakers to push back replacement plans until late in the next decade.

With environmentalists and the slumping economy putting pressure on the industry, Boeing is considering a bridge model that would provide a 10 percent improvement until a replacement is ready, according to the current edition of Aviation and the Environment magazine.

Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton reports that Boeing is considering a major upgrade of its popular 737 before it develops a new single-aisle aircraft to replace the workhorse plane.

The upgraded 737, a fourth generation of an aircraft originally designed in the 1960s, would feature more fuel efficient engines, perhaps Pratt & Whitney's new geared turbo-fans or CFM's new generation engine.

If Boeing picks the geared engine, which is larger in diameter than the 737's present CFM engines, it could require substantial revisions to the design: new, taller landing gear to increase the clearance between the engine and the runway and perhaps a new wing and wing box.

Any such update, of course, would include an updated cockpit and passenger amenities.

Boeing and its rival, Airbus, have repeatedly delayed complete redesigns of their popular 737 and A320 aircraft saying the science of aircraft design hasn't advance enough yet to prompt the expenditure of billions of dollars to produce an aircraft only 10 percent or so more efficient than the planes being built now.

A fourth-generation 737 would mean postponing the new single-aisle design until at least 2020 and give Boeing's Renton plant at least that much more longevity.

The Renton plant produces that 737. Boeing has said it likely will consider the Renton plant and other sites around the country for assembly of a totally new single-aisle plane.

22 Dec 08 - Boeing to Lead Southwest Airlines 737 Flight Deck Modernization

Boeing [NYSE: BA] has been selected by Southwest Airlines as the lead integrator for the airline's 737-300/-700 flight deck upgrade to incorporate advanced performance-based navigation capabilities. Boeing's role will include design, installation and integration of new hardware and software from multiple suppliers, as well as flight testing and certification.

Under this large-scale integration program, the 737-300 airplanes will be modified with new and enhanced avionics supplied by GE Aviation, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins. The Classic 737s will be equipped with GE's large area displays which use the latest in LCD technology and more closely align the 737-300 and 737-700 flight decks, creating commonality, and allowing the 737-300 to operate in the same preferred airspace as the newer 737-700s.

The 737-300 enhancements will also position Southwest for additional features - currently under development - that will support future airspace requirements. Southwest Airlines, an industry leader in airline efficiency, also is making a fleet-wide commitment to Required Navigation Performance (RNP) operations, a navigation technology that enables an aircraft to operate within a tight corridor of airspace with Global Positioning System guidance. These RNP enhancements will help the airline reduce fuel consumption, enhance safety and situational awareness, and minimize aircraft emissions and noise resulting in improved efficiency and reduced costs.

"Southwest is a great airline and partner and we're proud to support in their initiatives toward more efficient operations," said Kevin Schemm, vice president, North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Boeing is committed to working with our customers to introduce environmentally progressive lifecycle solutions."

"This upgrade program will enhance safety, situational awareness, and fuel efficiency, and it will allow greater training flexibility due to flight deck commonality," said Chuck Magill, vice president of Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines. "But the bottom line is that our customers will benefit from better performance and continued low fares."

As the original equipment manufacturer, Boeing is uniquely qualified to provide the lowest risk solution through its intellectual property, engineering and technical resources, world-class testing and certification capabilities and long term supplier relationships.

08 Dec 2008 - Algae to fuel Boeing 737 flight

Continental Airlines has scheduled the first biofuel demonstration flight to include algae-derived fuel in the mix of fuel sources, for a Jan. 7 flight from Houston.

The non-revenue flight by a Boeing 737-800 will be the first by a U.S. airline, and the first to involve a twin-engined airliner. Air New Zealand is expected to conduct its delayed biofuel flight, with a Boeing 747-400, by year-end.

For the Continental flight, one of the 737's CFM International CFM56-7B engines will burn a blend of 50% traditional jet fuel and 50% biofuel produced from algae and jatropha oil. Air NZ will use a 50:50 blend of Jet-A1 and jatropha-derived biofuel.

Both algae and jatropha, an inedible plant that grows on arid and non-arable land, are regarded as sustainable, second-generation biofuel sources that do not impact food crops or water resources and do not contribute to deforestation.

The fuel for both trials has been produced using processing technology developed by Honeywell company UOP. The jatropha oil for both flights was sourced by Terrasol from plantations in southeastern Africa and India.

The algal oil was provided by Sapphire Energy and was produced from microalgae grown on open ponds in Hawaii by Cyanotech, says UOP. The algal and jatropha oils were mixed then processed into biofuel, the company says.

Continental test pilots will crew the passenger-less 737 for the demonstration flight with the No. 2 (right) engine burning biofuel. Tests will include accelerations/decelerations, in-flight shutdown and restart and other procedures.

Data recorded during flight and post-flight inspection of the engine is expected to contribute toward the eventual approval of biofuels as drop-in replacements for jet fuel. Standards body ASTM International anticipates approval of 50% biofuel blends by 2010.

14 Nov 2008 - Uncoated nutplates in production cause further delays

Boeing which is ramping up airplane production after a costly strike, said Thursday that it was delaying delivery of 737 jetliners and planning to inspect some in service to replace parts that lacked a required anti-corrosion coating. The uncoated nut plates, small fastening devices used to attach bundles of wires and other items to the inside of fuselages, had been used since August 2007, said Vicki Ray, a company spokeswoman. Boeing delivered 394 of the planes between then and October, according to Chicago-based Boeing's Web site. The parts do not pose an immediate safety risk, she said. Boeing was notfied about the problem by Spirit AeroSystems Inc., a Wichita, Kan., firm that builds wing and fuselage components. "We're replacing them as we find them," Ray said. "Also to be addressed is the in-service fleet, and we're still working on a plan for that."

14 Aug 2008 - First BBJ3 completed

Boeing [NYSE: BA] recently completed work on the first BBJ 3. The BBJ 3 is a new, larger business jet based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range). The BBJ 3 has 1,120 square feet (104 square meters) of floor space, and provides 35 percent more interior space and 89 percent more luggage space than the BBJ 2. The BBJ 3's range is between 5,435 nmi (10,066 km) and 4,725 nmi (8,751 km) depending on the number of passengers flown.

The airplane is now at DeCrane Aircraft in Georgetown, Del., where it will receive its long-range auxiliary fuel system and a Head-up Display. The fuel system, new for the model, will undergo a two-month certification process at DeCrane. The airplane's final stop is at a completion center of the owner's choosing, where it will receive a custom interior. The un-named customer will receive the completed airplane in 2009.

All BBJs are equipped with Blended Winglets (wing tip extensions), which reduce community noise, lower emissions and increase the airplane's range.

The BBJ program focuses on features that help owners fly safely, efficiently, reliably and comfortably. Boeing currently is delivering BBJs with lower cabin altitude and Future Air Navigation System technology. Lower cabin altitude allows the cabin pressurization control system to regulate the cabin environment to equal a maximum cabin altitude of 6,500 feet so that passengers travel in greater comfort. Future Air Navigation System (FANS) streamlines communication between flight crews and air traffic controllers. FANS adds another layer of safety and efficiency to the global air transportation system, and allows BBJ owners to take more direct routes, shortening flight times and saving fuel.

Boeing has been selling its entire line of commercial airplanes to private aviation since the beginning of the jet age. In addition to the narrow-body BBJs, Boeing also sells VIP versions of its 787, 777, 767 and 747-8 models. All of Boeing's business jets include top-notch product-support and dedicated field service representatives located around the world

04 Aug 2008 - 737NG Carbon Brakes Earn FAA Certification

SEATTLE, Aug 04, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Boeing (BA:Boeing Co. News, chart, profile, more Last: 61.36-0.65-1.05% 4:01pm 08/04/2008 Delayed quote dataAdd to portfolio Analyst Create alertInsider Discuss Financials Sponsored by: BA 61.36, -0.65, -1.0%) announced that it earned certification last week from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for its new carbon brakes designed for the Next-Generation 737.

The brakes, supplied by Messier-Bugatti, also entered service last week when Boeing delivered a Next-Generation 737-700 to Delta Air Lines -- the first of 10 737-700s the airline will receive over the next several years.

Carbon brakes weigh 700 pounds (320 kg) less than high-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-700, -800 and -900ER (Extended Range) airplanes; and 550 pounds (250 kg) less than standard-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-600s and -700s. Reduced weight contributes to reductions in associated fuel burn and CO2 emissions depending on airline operations.

Delta Air Lines is coupling lighter-weight carbon brakes with drag- and emissions-reducing Blended Winglets (wing tip extensions) to improve operating and fuel efficiency simultaneously on its Next-Generation 737s. Delta's stated goal is to have greater flexibility to serve more markets with existing aircraft, further enhancing the largest international expansion in Delta's history.

Carbon brakes are the most recent enhancement that Boeing is offering on its Next-Generation 737. Since its entry into service, Boeing has introduced product enhancements that improve performance, navigation precision and passenger comfort on the Next-Generation 737.


29 Jul 2008 - Honeywell delivers NGS to Boeing

Jul 29, 2008 (AIRLINE INDUSTRY INFORMATION via COMTEX) -- HON | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Honeywell (NYSE:HON), a diversified technology and manufacturing company, has announced that it has delivered the Nitrogen Generation System (NGS) for the Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft.

The NGS is intended to reduce flammability and thus increase aircraft safety through delivering nitrogen enriched air to the aircraft centre fuel tank.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transport and National Transportation Safety Board recently announced that within two years all new aircraft must have technology to reduce the risk of centre fuel tank fires installed.


21 Jul 2008 - First flight of Turkish modified Peace Eagle

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has successfully conducted the first flight test of the first 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft modified by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara for Turkey's Peace Eagle program.

During the 2.5-hour flight from Ankara on July 16, pilot Ron Johnston and first officer Mark Mitchell performed a series of functional tests that verified the airworthiness of the aircraft's systems and structures.

The aircraft included newly installed aerial refueling capability, an advanced Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) antenna, ventral fins and mission system equipment.

"This flight is a tribute to the skill and hard work of TAI while successfully executing a very complex modification effort in transforming a 737-700 into an AEW&C platform," said Mark Ellis, Boeing Peace Eagle program manager.

Boeing will validate the aircraft's mission system over the next several weeks, before painting the plane with Turkish Air Force markings.

The Peace Eagle program includes four 737 AEW&C aircraft plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Boeing modified the first aircraft at its facilities in Seattle. TAI is modifying the remaining three aircraft in Ankara.

The 737-700 features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck features. Because of its advanced technology, the aircraft requires minimal downtime for maintenance. The 737 series has a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.

In addition to Northrop Grumman's MESA antenna with integrated identification friend-or-foe capabilities, the aircraft features a flexible, open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades, an extensive communications suite and aerial refueling capability.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.

14 Jul 2008 - FMC U10.8 completed by GE

Jul 14, 2008 (M2 EQUITYBITES via COMTEX) -- GE | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- The new flight management system (FMS) software Update 10.8 for the Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft has been completed by GE Aviation an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), the company announced on Sunday (13 July).

Production incorporation of the U10.8 FMC software is scheduled for Airplane Line Position 2753 and on. Airplane Line Position 2753 is scheduled to be delivered in October of this year. Boeing Service Bulletin 737-34-2104 is expected to be released within thirty days after delivery of Airplane Line Position 2753.


23 may 2008 - Boeing pushes back design development of 737 replacement jet

By Dominic Gates

Seattle Times aerospace reporter


Boeing's schedule for developing a replacement for its Renton-built 737 narrow-body jet has officially been pushed out some years into the future.

The company in 2006 created a team led by top executives to do preliminary studies on the replacement's design configuration. But Boeing has decided that effort is premature.

Spokeswoman Sandy Angers said Thursday the study team has been absorbed into the broader product-development unit and has shifted from specific airplane designs.

Instead, Boeing is focused on finding technologies that might provide performance improvements of 15 to 20 percent that are demanded by airlines to justify launching a new jet.

"We've reduced our airplane-design effort and are focusing more on the technology breakthroughs," said Angers. "We need technology breakthroughs in engines, aerodynamics, materials and other systems.

"You can't simply shrink the 787 and expect the same benefits for the narrow-body market," Angers said. "We've got difficult challenges."

The use of a 787-style composite plastic material, for example, won't offer as big a weight improvement on a much smaller jet.

Angers wouldn't pin down a new target date for the 737's replacement beyond "the latter half of the next decade," but delivery to airlines could now be closer to 2020 than the previously anticipated 2015.

In an interview Tuesday with aviation analyst Scott Hamilton, Airbus' chief operating officer and top salesman, John Leahy, cited 2020 as the likely delivery date for a replacement of the rival A320 jet family.

The A320 and the 737 divide the narrow-body market. A program to replace one of those with a new model is expected to trigger replacement of the other.

The 737 is Boeing's best-selling jet with just over 5,700 delivered to date. With almost 2,200 more on firm order, the production schedule is full well into 2014.

Hamilton, of, said pushing out the 737 replacement could mean Boeing would first upgrade its wide-body 777 to counter the threat from the Airbus A350 — either with significant enhancements to the 777 or with an all-new large airplane.

In late 2005, Alan Mulally, then-chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the company would develop a post-737 single-aisle jet to enter service between 2012 and 2015.

The next spring, he named top executive Mike Cave to head a 737-replacement study team.

Carolyn Brandsema, director of 737 engineering, was put in charge of developing the airplane and production concepts.

Last fall, Cave was promoted to a corporate position in Chicago.

Angers said Brandsema is back working on the current 737.

The shift in the study team's role was first reported this week in the trade magazine Aviation Week.

Addressing an audience of Wall Street analysts in Seattle on Wednesday, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson insisted the effort to develop a 737 replacement has not been abandoned, only pushed out to ensure that what results has a long market life.

"We're continuing our research effort until we find the right solution," Carson said.

"It has to be a 25-year product."

18 May 2008 - Boeing Goes Back to Drawing Board for 737 Follow-on

By Guy Norris and Robert Wall - Aviation Week

Boeing is abandoning its long-running effort to devise a successor to the 737, driven back to the drawing board by the lack of existing technology that can deliver the huge leap in performance airlines want for a next-generation single-aisle aircraft.

The decision to disband the 737RS (replacement study) design project, because it fell short of critical performance targets, has implications beyond Boeing. It will likely influence how Airbus moves forward on its A320 replacement effort, the A30X. For airlines, it means an even longer wait until a 737 or A320 follow-on hits the market.

For Boeing, the focus now switches to more fundamental research into aerodynamics, composites and other advanced alloys and hybrid materials, systems and propulsion in the hope that concepts will emerge to meet the challenge.

The manufacturer openly admits the change of strategy, saying, "We know customers are demanding really high targets for this aircraft, and we know that with the state of technology, we're not going to get there anytime soon." As a result, Boeing adds, "We're focusing on technology efforts and reducing the aircraft design effort while the technology matures."

The transformation of the 737RS project into a more sweeping technology study effort is sparking industry speculation that this will inevitably push any prospective development of a 737 successor toward 2017-19. Boeing declines to be more specific on the impact of the decision or the potential for further slippage. It simply says, "We expect the rate of this technology development to be available in the latter part of next decade, and we've said this will be no earlier than 2015."

Boeing's 737RS study emerged from the product development group's P-1 project of the late 1990s, and was later absorbed as a subset of the Yellowstone project. Further details came out in early 2006, when Boeing named key executives to the project, including Mike Cave, vice president for airplane programs, and Carolyn Brandsema, head of aircraft and production system studies.

At the time, Boeing was still targeting a 2012-15 entry-into-service window, and was starting to explore splitting the project, renamed 737RS, into two portions covering a 90-120-seater and a larger family bridging the gap between 125 seats and the lower range of the 787.

Studies to date combining the best technology advances in materials, propulsion, aerodynamics, structures and systems have produced results that, according to industry sources, fail to get even halfway toward Boeing's original operating cost, fuel burn and emissions goals. The most realistic design scenarios have produced overall operating cost improvements of only around 10% versus current 737-700/800 performance.

Boeing has not publicly stated the 737RS targets, but they are believed to be cost reductions in the 20-25% range. A company official clarifies, however, that "you can't just do a shrink of the 787; it's not as easy as that because of the different missions, higher cycles and shorter range. You can't shrink the 787 because of the systems. You need volume to handle the systems on the 787. With this study, we really need breakthroughs."

3 May 2008 - Boeing Completes 737 Carbon Brakes Certification Testing

Next-Generation 737 Operators Benefit from Reduced Weight, Emissions

SEATTLE, May 02, 2008 -- Boeing [NYSE:BA] recently completed certification testing of new carbon brakes designed for the Next-Generation 737 airplane family by French supplier Messier-Bugatti.

A Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range) airplane is shown performing a high-speed rejected takeoff test, designed to verify that an airplane at maximum weight with greatly worn brakes can stop safely after a refused takeoff decision. Boeing will submit the test results to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for certification the second quarter this year. Entry into production is expected by third quarter. Boeing will offer a retrofit program for airplanes already in service.

Through a month-long test program, Boeing reached its goal to show equivalent performance between steel and carbon brakes, and verified a weight savings of 700 pounds (320 kg) compared to high-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-700/800/900ERs, and 550 pounds (250 kg) on standard-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-600/700s. Reduced weight contributes to reductions in associated fuel burn and CO2 emissions depending on airline operations.

The Messier-Bugatti carbon brakes are available as a new feature.

27 Apr 2008 - Arlanda and Brisbane Airports Pursue RNP and 4D Trajectories

By David Hughes Aviation Week & Space Technology

The key building blocks of global air traffic system modernization should be deployed at airports on two continents by year-end. The pioneering projects show why there's no need to wait a decade or more to lower fuel burn, emissions and noise while boosting runway capacity.

The 4D trajectories (4DTs) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approaches are being implemented at Arlanda Airport here and Brisbane Airport in Australia. These medium-size facilities are good testbeds because of their mixed traffic and complex airspace.

Scandinavian Airlines' Boeing 737NGs are using 4D flight paths at Arlanda along with continuous-descent, or "green," approaches. ("4D" denotes the three spatial dimensions plus a required time of arrival over the threshold.) SAS has logged about 2,000 green approaches with area navigation (RNAV). Qantas, meanwhile, has exploited more precise satellite guidance during more than 8,000 RNP RNAV approaches at Brisbane, with the resulting savings in fuel and emissions (see p. 56).

The LFV Group, Sweden's air navigation service provider, is leading the Arlanda effort with SAS, while Airservices Australia is overseeing the Brisbane project with Qantas.

Now SAS and LFV plan to add RNP to the 4DT demonstrations in the second half of this year, and Qantas will include 4DT in its RNP demos, according to Capt. Alex Passerini, the technical pilot in charge of Qantas's 737 fleet. Airservices has not yet made a firm commitment to the 4DT effort but is talking to Qantas about assisting. Both Arlanda and Brisbane will then probably showcase the best of both techniques.

The two airports' fielding of RNP and 4DT later this year contrasts markedly with the timelines of Europe's Sesar (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) program and the U.S.'s NextGen modernization effort. Their program-completion targets are 2020 and 2025, respectively. But as many ATC experts assert, technology is not a hurdle for Sesar and NextGen: Much of it is already available, and at Arlanda and Brisbane, the idea is to use it now.

It's noteworthy that the air navigation expertise needed to make 4DT happen at both airports comes from a small, advanced technology consulting company - Avtech - in the suburbs of Stockholm (see p. 55). And the RNP know-how is from another small company - Naverus in Kent, Wash. Not surprisingly, Avtech and Naverus are strategic partners on a wide range of advanced air navigation projects around the world.

4DT involves the transmission of the aircraft's "reference business trajectory" (see drawing on p. 54) to controllers, who approve it whenever possible but often with adjustments to the time when the aircraft is required to touch down. RNP involves the use of GPS to position the aircraft on a precise flight track that can take the aircraft to 250 ft. AGL on a customized path that reduces track miles flown.

Avtech leaders Lars Lindberg and Christer Staaf are confident that 4DT is much closer to being implemented permanently in day-to-day operations than many people realize. And the RNP procedures Naverus has designed for Qantas, Air New Zealand, Air China, WestJet and others are already proving that the technique is mature and ready for applications that are not fully understood in much of the civil aviation community.

At Arlanda, the RNP/4DT combination is expected to be much more than some laboratory experiment writ large. "We have passed the laboratory stage," says Lindberg, even though his company's 737 simulator is being used to refine the algorithms and procedures. And now, two other European airnav service providers are involved in the combined RNP/4DT flights that will start soon. NATS of the U.K. and the Netherlands' LVNL will help to design the flight trials, so the results will show how the same operational concepts would work at London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol. Lindberg says RNP and 4DT could facilitate mixed-mode operations at Heathrow so that takeoffs and landings could be performed on the same runway - a move that British Airways and BAA Ltd., which operates Heathrow, have said could boost capacity there by 15%.

Arlanda's 4DT project started in 2006 with funding from the European Commission. Partners were LFV, SAS, Avtech, Boeing Research and Technology Center of Madrid, Rockwell Collins France and GE Aviation. During 2006-07, 2,000 green approaches were flown into Arlanda. These continuous-descent procedures keep aircraft at cruise altitude longer compared with conventional approaches, and then bring them down at or near idle power until they are configured for landing.

The flights used a sequencing tool called Collaborative Information Exchange System to allow controllers to interact with the aircraft over an Acars (aircraft communications addressing and reporting system) data link, starting about an hour before touchdown. Lindberg says Acars is suitable for the current demonstrations even though it's not designed for time-critical applications. The next generation of data link, coming with Sesar, will clearly improve this aspect of operations.

Once the trajectory is downlinked to the ground, the controller can see the path that the aircraft intends to follow. If the estimated time of arrival is in conflict with the needs of other arriving traffic, the controller can make adjustments and send a revision (known as a required time of arrival, or RTA) back to the cockpit. From 1 hr. before landing, controllers have what Staaf calls "six minutes of control authority." This means the controller can command the airplane to speed up or slow down to hit an RTA within a 6-min. window. "This enables the air transportation system to work like a real logistics system," says Lindberg. Controllers can direct aircraft (similar to packages in a supply chain) to arrive at a certain runway "just in time" much more efficiently than they can now. Currently, controllers sort out the lineup of aircraft when they're at low altitude (burning lots of fuel) by giving the pilots radar vectors, notes Staaf.

Now, as time-based operations are being added to the mix at Arlanda, the focus is shifting to Eurocontrol's CTA (controlled time of arrival) ATM System Integration Studies, or Cassis. This 15-month project involving flight trials at Arlanda will start next month using an RNP procedure to Runway 26 with 4DT techniques and wind uplinks.

The 4D trajectory that's sent to the ground comes from the flight management system (FMS) made by General Electric. GE modified the software in the FMS (formerly a Smiths product) and introduced the "intent bus" that makes it possible to send the trajectory calculation to the ground.

It includes not just a series of waypoints, but a much more complete set of data defining the aircraft's intended trajectory from cruise altitude to touchdown. This is called the "reference business trajectory" because it reflects what the airline is seeking in a flight path for the greatest efficiency in the way it wants to run its operation. For example, the flight management computer has a cost index set by the airlines to balance the time-variable cost versus the fuel cost. The data set includes everything from the Vref approach speed to when the aircraft will be configured for landing, and even the exact radius of each turn the airplane will make.

The computers on various flight decks form a distributed network linked to the ground where a computer can mesh all the data into an overall arrival sequence for review and approval by a controller. Avtech believes distributed computing produces a better arrival sequence than having a computer on the ground devise all the flight paths by itself with no input from the aircraft, and then transmitting instructions to the flight decks. The other method is the "tailored arrival" concept now being tested at San Francisco and Miami international airports. Lindberg points out that when ATC calculates all the flight paths on the ground and uplinks them to the cockpit, this creates a much "heavier" data-transfer load.

The Sesar modernization effort sees the "business trajectory" as the "coin of the realm" that will be the keystone of how flight operations will be run in the future. Controllers will allow the airplane to fly the requested path whenever possible.

The holy grail is to increase the number of aircraft an airport can handle. By relying on automation, "we can deliver that [required time of arrival at the runway] day in and day out, and increase airport capacity," says Lindberg. Using 4DT techniques and interleaving takeoffs and landings, many runways could achieve up to 30 landings and 30 takeoffs per hour, he asserts. By interleaving operations, the "highly efficient" Gatwick is already at 50 movements per hour on the airport's only runway, he says.

In the next phase of flight demonstrations, GE will add an avionics box to an SAS 737 to record all of the calculations going on inside the flight management computer. Until now, the partners relied on data from a quick-access recorder, but information from this new box "will give us all of the answers to what's going on in the FMS and help us understand wind effects on the approach," says Lindberg.

The green trials started in 2006 in low traffic with SAS 737s; but the next phase will target higher traffic periods at Arlanda and will include other legacy aircraft that aren't equipped with the GE FMS. SAS MD-80s, for example, will send the estimated time of arrival data from a Honeywell FMS via Acars. MD-80 pilots will make speed adjustments to arrive at an initial approach fix within 30 sec. of the required time. Avtech is now talking to other airlines about joining the 4DT project, and Lindberg expects some Airbus aircraft to join using Thales-GE FMS equipment.

Many of the upcoming tests with time-based operations and RNP will be devoted to refining techniques to make runway-arrival times even more consistent. One area of analysis will be to study how pilots might deploy flaps and slats to achieve a required arrival time. Another area of interest is to improve the wind data used by the flight management computer to calculate the aircraft's arrival time based on a particular trajectory.

For the wind calculations, a new Avtech-developed software tool, called Aventus NowCast, uplinks selected weather forecast data along the route of flight to the cockpit. The FMS uses the wind information to adjust the top-of-descent point. Avtech is building on NASA Ames's 1980s work with a 737 testbed and has improved this wind-reporting technique with computer modeling. The GE FMS can accept wind reports at three points along the flight path, and Avtech has learned that having the software select the right points is critical. If they are wrong, the wind data may actually make the approach timing worse than it would have been without the data. (Some of the information comes from other aircraft reporting what they encounter. During one day at Arlanda, 5,000 weather data reports may be received by Aventus from aircraft.)

The tool was demonstrated in the trials completed last year, and will be used and validated by both SAS and Qantas. With better wind data and other refinements, Avtech and GE believe they can improve on the arrival time over the threshold that's now off by just ýý7 sec. on average.

Capt. Peter Larsson, project leader for SAS's Green Flight Program, says that with today's conventional procedures - radar vectors to an ILS - it's normal that 95% of the aircraft cross the threshold at ýý12 min. of what's expected. The uncertainty factor has cost consequences in terms of gate allocation and scheduling everyone from caterers to luggage handlers. If the threshold-crossing time improves to ýý2 min., the airport would no longer have to reserve a gate for up to 50 min. to match a 30-min. aircraft turnaround. "The time-dimension part is even more valuable in terms of the money saved by the airline [than the fuel savings]," says Larsson.

However, for the Avtech 4DT technique to "grow legs and walk" to a large number of airports, it will have to be a very robust procedure. "We are taking some important steps, but we have to move into peak traffic periods," says Lindberg.


Each Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) saves ~150 kg. fuel.

Each Required Navigation Performance approach saves ~110 kg. fuel.

4-D trajectories make arrival time more predictable, allowing gate reservation times to be reduced. Each minute reduced saves ~1,000 kronor ($170).

SourceS: Avtech and SAS

13 March 2008 - Boeing, partners will test 737 powered by biofuel

The Boeing Co. announced 13 March 2008 that it has teamed with Continental Airlines and GE Aviation to test a 737 powered by a biofuel.

"Exploring sustainable biofuels is a logical and exciting new step in our environmental commitment," Continental executive Mark Moran in a statement.

The flight is scheduled for the first half of 2009.

7 Mar 08 - Luxell Technologies becomes risk-sharing partner to provide WheelTug electric wheel drive for 737NG and takes equity stake

Canadian manufacturer Luxell Technologies has become a risk-sharing partner for WheelTug's electric wheel drive for Boeing 737NG ground manoeuvring, after agreeing to supply the cockpit controls interface kit and take an equity stake in the company after "timely" certification of the system.

Ontario-headquartered Luxell manufactures and licences flat-panel display technologies and equipment for the defence and avionics industries.

WheelTug's contract with Luxell is expected to last the lifetime of the WheelTug 737NG system. "The deal represents a part of our business strategy to expand into commercial avionics and demonstrate our display expertise to major players in that sector," says Luxell chief executive Jean-Louis Larmor.

If the arrangement proves successful, says WheelTug chief executive Isaiah Cox, Luxell will be WheelTug's "likely partner" to develop electric wheel drive systems for other aircraft types.

The partnership comes as WheelTug reveals it is in talks with other risk-sharing partners, covering the wire harness and inverters for the WheelTug system.

Patented motors developed by WheelTug's parent, European manufacturer Chorus Motors, will comprise the core of the system, which will be built into the hubs of aircraft nose-wheels and take power from the auxiliary power unit (APU). This will give aircraft full ground mobility - forward and reverse with steering - without using engines or external tugs. The first motor designed specifically for 737NG aircraft will be ready for testing in May.

WheelTug aims to secure supplemental type certification covering Boeing 737-600, -700, -800 and -900 aircraft. An FAA-approved project-specific certification plan (PSCP) has been tagged to be completed after deals with partners are in place. Although this plan delays the original strategy to have a PSCP in place this spring, it will not push back the entire certification programme, says Cox.

WheelTug has been testing the equipment with US launch customer Delta Air Lines, which since early 2007 has assisted with time, resources and aircraft. This type of assistance is "invaluable", says Cox. Delta may yet make a financial investment, but the carrier has "no financial incentive to exercise warrants until they come due", he says. Delta's TechOps maintenance, repair and overhaul division has first refusal on all installation and maintenance services within the USA once the system is certificated and deployed.

Last year, WheelTug also formed an alliance with a French group, Association pour le Développement Durable dans l'Aviation Civile (ADDAC), to develop and certify the WheelTug system for the Airbus A320 family.

"We are in discussions over a number of different aircraft, including the A320, regional jets and military aircraft," says Cox. "By the beginning of 2009, we'll be able to launch the second aircraft type, but it is equally likely to be a regional jet as it would be to be an A320." He notes that the system would be ideal for 757 manoeuvring.

Because engine taxiing is reduced, environmental benefits could include savings, through fuel cuts, in emissions such as CO2 and NOx.

For the system to be certified on any other aircraft type, says Cox, "we will at least have to have that level of assistance from an airline" as it has enjoyed with Delta. He declines to say whether WheelTug is in talks with Delta to provide the system for its regional jet fleet.

Later this summer, WheelTug intends to begin offering delivery slots to other customers. At that point, specifications will be clear "so an airline will know exactly what they're getting", says Cox.

16 Feb 2008 - India's "Air Force One"

Here’s some news for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In three months, he is getting a new office. What is more, he will be going places in it. And he will be better protected in it, have more elbow room, even play host to foreign visitors—all without even being on Indian soil.

The fact is, the Indian Air Force, in whose craft the top dignitaries of the country fly, is getting a spanking new home in the sky for the Indian Prime Minister. The first of three ultra luxury transport aircraft, the Boeing Business Jets (BBJ), ordered for a whopping Rs 734 crore, will arrive in May to join the VVIP squadron of the IAF that ferries the President, Prime Minister and top Cabinet ministers.

While the Indian version of Air Force One is being kept under wraps by IAF due to “security concerns”, the aircraft is known to be fitted with a secure satellite communication centre, an advanced missile warning system and deflecting shield, electronic counter measures and radar warning systems.

This means that when the PM travels on official work, he will be able to conduct meetings, hold press conferences, catch a wink of sleep and remain in constant audio and visual touch with New Delhi without leaving his aircraft.

“The Boeing Business Jet is a specially configured aircraft for VVIP comfort. Its interiors create a working environment befitting the VVIP’s official stature. More importantly , it is equipped with the latest self-protection suite, thus providing our VIPs the highest level of protection from any ground-based or airborne threat,” the Indian Air Force, tasked with maintaining and operating the VVIP fleet, says.

While the older 737s do not have any self protection systems, the Embraer executive jets are reported to have limited protection against land-launched weapons and heat seeking missiles. The BBJs, on the other hand, have an “extremely efficient” missile protection suite and powerful electronic systems designed to confuse the incoming missile.

The IAF refuses to share details, but the minimum systems on board will be an IR (Infra Red) sensor and jammer to track incoming missiles from a good distance to warn the pilot. This would also activate the counter measures unit that will dispense flares and decoys. Like the American Air Force One, the BBJ is also being fitted with electronic counter measures to jam enemy radars.

The three BBJs have been specifically ordered to replace the Boeing 737-200s that were acquired in the 1980s for the use of the top dignitaries. Unlike the earlier craft with their limited resources, the BBJs have a range of close to 11,000 km and a maximum speed of 890 kmph. So they will be able to fly to most parts of the world without a refuelling stopover.

This will be a massive change from the current lot of aircraft that fly VVIPs in the country. Both the Embraer executive jets and the Boeing 737s in the IAF’s inventory have a limited flying range and need to make numerous fuel stopovers during long flights. In fact, the Boeing 737s cannot even fly abroad due to outdated avionic systems and the lack of modern navigational aids.

The arrival of the jets will also be a welcome relief for Air India as currently a regular commercial airliner has to be pulled out of service and “retrofitted” for VVIP duty whenever the President and Prime Minister fly abroad on tours.

While the Embraers—five of them were purchased for over Rs 650 crore in 2003—can accommodate close to 20 passengers in a regular seating arrangement, the BBJ will carry more than twice that number in much more luxury.

Once inside, the PM and his entourage will find a full-fledged flying office-cum-residence that can host up to 48 guests besides having a private bedroom for the VVIP, an executive office with Internet availability and secure communication connections.

The 807 sq ft cabin has been customised with a stateroom and a separate meeting room, something that is inconceivable on the much smaller Embraer 135 Legacy jets that are used to transport VVIPs within the country and for short overseas hauls and the older generation Boeing 737-200s that fly dignitaries on the domestic circuit.

While the three jets have already been delivered by Boeing to IAF in an unfurnished condition, the interiors of the aircraft are being customised at the PATS Aircraft completion center in Delaware, USA. “PATS will install an interior that includes a stateroom, meeting room, communications centre and seating for 48 passengers,” a Boeing statement said.

The first of the BBJs, fitted with the highly classified missile avoidance systems and security suite, is currently being flight tested by the IAF in the US. After complete integration of the security package, the BBJ is expected to land at the Palam Airport—home to the IAF’s elite Communications Squadron responsible for air travel by VVIPs—by the the first week of May. The other two jets are expected to arrive later in the year.

It is not only a luxury craft for Indian VVIPs. The BBJ is being used by close to a dozen countries, including Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Malaysia to fly their heads of state. However, it pales in comparison to the home in the sky of the American President. The Air Force One, a highly modified Boeing 747, is not only much larger but also had a virtually unlimited range as it can carry out air to air refuelling. Besides conference rooms, resting areas and the President’s residential quarters, the jumbo jet even has a gymnasium specially designed for long flights.

The Indian Prime Minister’s needs perhaps do not warrant a gymnasium. But when he climbs aboard his new carrier, there will surely be a new kick in his steps.

2 Nov 2007 - C-40B Missile Countermeasures System Installation

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has begun modifying the first of three U.S Air Force C-40B transport aircraft with a laser-based countermeasures system that defeats incoming infrared-seeking missiles.

The Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system, supplied by Northrop Grumman [NYSE: NOC], protects large fixed-wing transports and small rotary-wing aircraft from infrared missile attacks by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat and activating a high-intensity countermeasures system to track and defeat the threat.

The first installation is scheduled for completion in late February 2008, with the second and third modified aircraft slated for delivery in August and December of next year.

The C-40B, a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-700 Boeing Business Jet, is designed to be an "office in the sky" for senior military leaders, providing broadband data/video transmit-and-receive capability as well as clear and secure voice and data communication. It enables combatant commanders to conduct business anywhere in the world using onboard Internet and local area network connections, improved telephones, satellites, television monitors and fax machines.

18 Oct 2007 - Flight Deck Windscreen Inspections

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. aviation authorities advised airlines on Wednesday to inspect cockpit windows on Boeing Co. 737s after two were damaged in flight, causing one plane to lose cabin pressure.

The proposed airworthiness directive follows similar action in July on all Boeing 747 jetliners after a cockpit window fell out, causing a rapid loss of cabin pressure and an emergency landing.

The FAA recommended repeated inspections of nearly 800 737-series models in the U.S. fleet to detect any cracks in vinyl supports or damage to glass panes. There are another 1,800 planes flown by airlines overseas that would qualify for inspections.

Boeing alerted airlines to the problem in May and recommended action.

The FAA said it received reports of partial window separations on two 737s. One experienced a loss of cabin pressure at 12,500 feet when edges of a window came loose. The other was flying at 29,000 feet when a similar failure occurred. There are several windows in a 737 cockpit.

In addition, the FAA is concerned that cracked vinyl supports would make the window more vulnerable to failing if struck by birds.

06 Oct 2007 - Video of 737-800 late rotation after maintenance

06 Sep 2007 - Boeing Successfully Completes First Test Flight of AEW&C Peace Eagle Aircraft

Boeing has conducted a successful first test flight of a 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft for Turkey's Peace Eagle program.

During the 2.5-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle, pilot Regis Hancock and first officer Randon Stewart performed a series of functional tests that verified the airworthiness of the aircraft's systems and structures. The flight follows major aircraft modifications, including the installation of an advanced antenna, ventral fins and mission system equipment.

"This is a major milestone for the program and a big step forward in our development and testing of this critical capability for our Turkish customer. We planned the flight almost a year ago and achieved it on schedule," said Mark Ellis, Boeing Peace Eagle program manager.

Additional functional test flights are planned in the coming weeks, leading to mission system flight testing in the fall.

The Peace Eagle program includes four 737 AEW&C aircraft plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Modification of the first aircraft is under way at Boeing facilities in Seattle. TUSAS Aerospace Industries in Ankara, Turkey, will modify the remaining three aircraft

The 737-700 features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck features. Because of its advanced technology, the aircraft requires minimal downtime for maintenance. The 737 series has a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.

The aircraft also is equipped with Northrop Grumman's Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array antenna with integrated identification friend-or-foe capabilities. The system also includes a flexible, open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades, an extensive communications suite and aerial refueling capability

6 Jul 2007 - GE Aviation's Flight Management System Enables 'Green' Operations

Landing Approach System Reduces CO2, NOx Emissions By 20 Percent Airlines operating Boeing 737s in Europe have been given the "green light" to use an optimized landing approach that is designed to significantly reduce the amount of fuel used during arrival and approach operations, thereby reducing CO2 and NOx emissions by roughly 20 percent compared to standard arrival procedures.

The "Advanced Continuous Descent Approach" (A-CDA), also known as the "Green Approach," is the result of GE Aviation's Systems division's (formerly Smiths Aerospace) participation in Europe's NUP2+ project, where select 737 aircraft in Sweden are allowed to employ GE's Flight Management System (FMS) to fly the aircraft at idle thrust from cruise through landing, according to the company.

"Our FMS on Boeing 737s is another example of how committed we are to developing technology solutions that not only benefit customers, but are also kind to the environment," said Dr. John Ferrie, GE Aviation systems president.

"Given the issues we face with growing air traffic congestion and increasing green house gases worldwide, the appropriate use of FMS to help remedy the situation is a clear and valuable option."

GE's FMS on the Boeing 737 features a 4-dimensional trajectory downlink for use by air traffic controllers to manage traffic flow using precision positioning and time guidance, known as Required Time of Arrival (RTA), to the runway threshold. Combined, these features enable the creation of flight profiles that are optimal for operators as well as the environment -- increasing efficiency, providing fuel savings, and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas and noise emissions.

Scandinavian Airlines already uses the FMS for operations into Stockholm. The carrier said its estimates annual benefits for flights arriving at Stockholm Arlanda airport, could reach $6 million in fuel savings with an additional $6 million in cost avoidance due to the increased efficiency and punctuality of aircraft using the FMS.

Flights over the North Atlantic will commence during the latter part of 2007, and will also involve aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

"Our concept and technology facilitate the efficient implementation of green flights and we believe that in the future additional airlines will adopt our ideas and work methods to include more airports primarily in Sweden and the Nordic region, and also have a greater impact in Europe," said the carrier.

The carrier said it expects the Green Approach to achieve annual emission reductions of more than 25,000 tons of CO2 and 87 tons of NOx; comparable to the yearly emissions of 5,100 automobiles.

13 June 2007 - Boeing Begins Mission System Flight Testing of First Australian Wedgetail Aircraft

The Boeing Company has begun flight testing the mission system aboard the first 737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Australia’s Project Wedgetail.

During an initial four-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle on June 6, the crew conducted a series of functional tests as part of a program to measure the mission system’s impact on the aircraft’s power generation capability and environmental controls, such as the liquid and air cooling systems.

The mission system includes the radar, navigation, communications and computing subsystems.

Boeing will flight test the aircraft several days a week for the next month over land and water, while the mission system is used in a manner similar to an AEW&C operational mission.

The next phase of the flight test program aboard aircraft No. 1 is scheduled for later this year when it joins aircraft No. 2 as a test bed for system-level developmental testing.

Australia has purchased six 737 airborne early warning and control aircraft. Delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for March 2009. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered later that year.

The 737 AEW&C, designed to provide airborne battle management capability with 10 state-of-the-art mission system consoles, is based on the Boeing Next Generation 737-700 and features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck enhancements.

Northrop Grumman’s Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar is the critical sensor aboard the 737 AEW&C. The MESA array is designed to provide optimal performance in range, tracking and accuracy. The radar is able to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously.


10 June 2007 - Boeing says 737 replacement not expected before 2015

Boeing expects airframe technology will play as crucial a role as new clean-burning engines in developing a replacement for its best-selling 737, providing a potential advantage over Airbus in the race to design the next generation of single-aisle aircraft.

The two rivals are developing replacements for their 737 and A320 families, which are the workhorses of global airline fleets and account for half of the $3,200bn in aircraft deliveries forecast between now and 2025.

Engine manufacturers are struggling to develop new power plants to meet ever more exacting efficiency standards, as well as tighter emission and environmental demands. Over the past two decades, in contrast, improvements in engine technology have led the way in developing quieter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Boeing now believes the new airframe technology, using composite carbon-fibre pioneered on its 787 widebody jet, will be just as important as the engines. The 787 is due to enter service next year but the 737 and A320 replacements are not expected before the middle of the next decade at the earliest.

"I think the introduction of composites has raised the ability of the airframe to make a difference . . . and really puts it on a par with the engine development," said Jim McNerney, chairman and chief executive of Boeing.

Boeing and its partners in the 787 programme already have an advantage over Airbus in building airframes using composites, which replace most of the traditional aluminium structures. The materials are lighter and more durable, and can be assembled faster.

Mr McNerney admitted in an interview with the Financial Times that the American company had yet to finalise the transfer of the 787 technology to developing a replacement for the 737, the world's best-selling commercial aircraft.

The FT revealed last year that Boeing was working with key 737 customers including Southwest, Ryanair and Gol on the replacement, dubbed the 797. "I think the market knows what it wants," said Mr McNerney, pointing to a 20-25 per cent improvement in the operating costs and environmental footprint compared with the existing 737 family.

"The technology component will be slightly different than for the 787. We haven't totally figured that out," he said.

26 Apr 2007 - Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER Receives FAA Certification

The newest member of the Boeing Next-Generation 737 family, the 737-900ER (Extended Range), earned type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on April 20.

The 737 derivative incorporates an extra pair of exit doors to increase the maximum passenger capacity, a flat aft-pressure bulkhead to increase interior volume, a two-position tailskid for improved takeoff and landing capability, wing strengthening changes to accommodate the 13,500 pound maximum takeoff weight increase, enhancements to the leading and trailing edge flap systems for improved takeoff and landing capability, and optional Blended Winglets and auxiliary fuel tanks that increase the range of the 737-900ER to 3,200 nautical miles (5,925 km).

The airplane is certified to carry up to 220 passengers in a single-class configuration.

On July 18, 2005, Indonesia's Lion Air launched the higher capacity, longer range Next-Generation 737-900ER with an order for 30 airplanes. Airlines have ordered more than 100 Next-Generation 737-900ERs to date.

20 Mar 2007 - Boeing Completes Subsystem Integration on Australian Wedgetail Aircraft

ST. LOUIS, March 20, 2007 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has completed the integration of major subsystems aboard a 737 airborne early warning and control ( AEW&C ) aircraft for Australia's Project Wedgetail.

The subsystems include communications, navigation, mission computing, radar and electronic warfare self protection. Boeing conducted tests aboard the aircraft and at its System Integration Lab in Kent, Wash., using a variety of simulations.

"The tests demonstrated that the systems worked separately and together, and that they were compatible with the aircraft," said Ross Dessert, Boeing Wedgetail program manager.

Integration is a major step toward functional checkout of the AEW&C system with the aircraft at the end of April. FAA certification and qualification testing are scheduled for this summer.

Ongoing integration of the Electronic Support Measures ( ESM ) subsystem will continue through functional checkout. ESM is a passive sensor that detects electronic signals.

Boeing will deliver the first two of six Wedgetail aircraft to Australia in March 2009, and the remaining four aircraft by mid-2009. Turkey and the Republic of Korea also have purchased four 737 AEW&C aircraft each.

The 737-700 features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck features. Because of its advanced technology, the aircraft requires minimal downtime for maintenance. The 737 series is one of the most popular and reliable jet aircraft in the world, resulting in a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.

The aircraft also is equipped with Northrop Grumman's Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array antenna with integrated identification friend or foe capabilities. The system also includes a flexible, open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades, an extensive communications suite and aerial refueling capability.

13 Mar 2007 - 737-800SFP Flight Spoiler Jams AD

Sticky Spoilers On SFP-Equipped Aircraft To Blame The FAA has issued Emergency airworthiness directive (AD) 2007-06-51 to all owners and operators of Boeing Model 737-800 series airplanes. The agency states it has received a report of seven flight spoiler actuator jams on Model 737-800 Short Field Performance (SFP) airplanes.

"Two reports involved in-service airplanes that were discovered during a routine maintenance walk-around and were believed to have occurred on the previous landing during auto speedbrake extension," the AD states. "Five other reports occurred during spoiler system testing at Boeing prior to delivery. An additional two reports of spoiler actuator input lever binding were identified during bench testing after Boeing began to investigate this issue."

The agency adds two in-service failures of flight spoilers resulted in the spoilers not retracting after the speedbrake handle was moved to the DOWN position after landing, on a Boeing Model 737-800 airplane equipped with an SFP package. In both of those cases, the spoiler was discovered in the full-extended position during a routine maintenance walk-around. The spoiler remained in the full-extended position after cycling of the speedbrake handle.

"Further investigation revealed that the spoiler actuator failure is most likely to occur when the speedbrakes are deployed on the ground (automatically or manually) for either a rejected takeoff or normal landing. The takeoff configuration warning will not sound if any flight spoiler remains extended with the speedbrake handle in the DOWN position."

The FAA states the cause of the failure has been identified as interference within the actuator main control valve. This condition, if not corrected, could result in a spoiler actuator hardover, which could cause the spoiler surface to jam in the fully extended position. Two or more hardover failures of the spoiler surfaces in the up direction on the same wing, if undetected prior to takeoff, can cause significant roll and consequent loss of control of the airplane


13 Feb 2007 - satLINK Iridium™ Communications Certified for Installation on Boeing 737 Fleet

Avionica is pleased to announce Boeing 737 STC availability for satLINK, the Iridium™ satellite-based voice and data communications alternative. FAA STC ST03386AT has been granted to Avionics Support Group (ASG), who now offer our mutual customers both kit fabrication and installation for this product. Launch customer Miami Air recently commenced installations, as will our newest satLINK customer, Continental Airlines.

Reliable, global, real-time voice and data communications are finally possible. Iridium is expected to gain its FAA safety certification in May, 2007, making it acceptable as an ATC communications alternative. "This is an excellent, affordable communications solution for airlines flying outside the range of HF stations, and even for Inmarsat-equipped aircraft flying polar routes", notes Avionica’s president, Raul Segredo. "It also fills the gap left by Verizon’s exit from the in-flight telephone business - satLINK is an excellent solution for emergency air-ground communications, like in-flight medical emergency management".

satLINK may be installed with either a dedicated audio handset, or integrated into the aircraft’s audio system using the audio panel , headset, and mic push-to-talk keys for control. The cabin handset option is a uniquely functional feature - it uses VoIP technology over the Cabin Wireless LAN (CWLU) option. And each aircraft can be addressed with a unique telephone number, ensuring it can not only place calls, but also be selectively called.

satLINK not only provides an Iridium connection, it also manages communications traffic, routing it based on network availability and criticality, ensuring the most economical transmission of data. Since over 60% of ACARS transmissions often occur on the ground, significant savings can be achieved by routing them over 802.11 wireless.

Unlike ACARS, Iridium data channels are dedicated. ACARS is shared, and as more and more customers are signed under flat-fee contracts, availability can only decline. "The Iridium constellation is the ATC messaging backbone of the future", notes Raul.

satLINK provides gateway connectivity between a variety of aircraft communications network types, including ARINC 429, ARINC 618, ARINC 619, Ethernet, and 802.11 wireless. satLINK bridges all these networks to Iridium and to each other. A shared or (optionally) dedicated audio channel is also included. satLINK can provide GPS position data to the Ethernet bus , as well as an 802.11 cabin wireless access point.

Avionica, Inc. specializes in complete flight data management solutions. Products include secureLINK, the airborne wireless Ethernet router, the miniQAR, the world’s first miniature quick access flight data recorder, the RSU II, a handheld flight-data recorder monitoring and download tool, AVSCAN.flight, a commercial and military flight data analysis tool, USB429win, a USB ARINC 429 databus analyzer, and LOAD615win, the USB-based ARINC 615 portable dataloader.


MOJAVE, California — The Joint Strike Fighter Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATB), a 737-300 aircraft extensively modified by BAE Systems, successfully completed its maiden flight Jan. 23 at Mojave, California. The flight capped a nearly three-year effort to transform a commercial airliner into a flying laboratory for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

The 737 aircraft, also known as the “CAT-Bird,” is a flying test bed that replicates the F-35 avionics suite. The CATB will develop and verify the F-35’s capability to collect data from multiple sensors and fuse it into a coherent situational awareness display in a dynamic airborne environment.

“Today’s flight caps what has been a significant technical challenge,” said John Wall, BAE Systems CATB program director in Mojave, where the work was performed. “The CAT-Bird is helping the Lightning II take its place as the premier fighter aircraft serving the U.S. and multi-nation partners for decades to come.”

The CAT-Bird now begins a one-month test flight phase to prove the aerodynamics of the converted airliner — an important validation because of modifications to the craft made to accommodate the avionics test requirements. These include the addition of a nose extension to simulate that of the F-35, a 42-foot-long spine on the top, a 10-foot “canoe” on the bottom to accommodate electronic equipment, and twin 12-foot sensor wings that replicate the leading edge of the F-35’s wings.

The inside of the plane also was transformed. An F-35 cockpit will allow the sensor inputs to be displayed as they would be in the fighter itself. The rest of the interior houses equipment racks for the avionics equipment, and 20 workstations for technicians to assess the performance of the avionics.

“The CAT-Bird is a vitally important and powerful tool in Lockheed Martin’s arsenal for early risk mitigation and maturation of the F-35,” said Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. “It allows us to concurrently develop and integrate mission systems hardware and software well before it is installed on F-35s. We congratulate BAE Systems on today’s successful first flight and look forward to many years of productive flight test operation.”

Today’s flight was the first of about 20 sorties that will comprise CAT-Bird’s initial test phase. After conclusion of some additional modification work, and the initial flight test phase, the B-737 CATB will transition to its home base and begin test operations at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas. The CAT-Bird will be used to develop and evaluate the F-35's extensive sensor architecture.

9 Jan 2007 - Rockwell Collins announce EVS offering for BBJ

SEATTLE (January 09, 2007) - Boeing [NYSE: BA] Business Jets and Rockwell Collins today introduced an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) offering for Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) operators. The offering will be available to BBJ customers through Boeing and Rockwell Collins service bulletins, and certification for the system is expected by early 2008.

Rockwell Collins EVSThe Rockwell Collins EVS presents an image (shown at right) of the external environment on the Head-up Guidance System (HGS®) and head-down displays to enhance pilot situational awareness of terrain and the airport environment in low-visibility situations. When displayed on the HGS, EVS allows the pilot to descend below minimums, if the visual references to the intended runway are visible using the EVS.

"The EVS upgrade will increase safety and operational capability of the aircraft by enhancing situational awareness at night or in poor weather conditions," said John Desmond, vice president, Rockwell Collins HGS. "We look forward to working closely with Boeing to deliver this offering to their BBJ customers."

"Boeing is pleased to collaborate with Rockwell Collins to provide EVS capability on BBJs," said Boeing Business Jets President Steven Hill. "Boeing constantly evaluates and adds cutting-edge technology that brings value to our customers and enhances the performance and efficiency of a great product like the BBJ."

Rockwell Collins has teamed with Max-Viz to complete the certification of EVS on the BBJ. Rockwell Collins will incorporate a Max-Viz multi-wavelength infrared sensor into the Rockwell Collins HGS. BBJ operators that upgrade to the new EVS system will require an upgrade to their HGS 4000, as well as the infrared camera.

Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronics solutions for both commercial and government applications. Rockwell Collins’ expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications and information management and simulation and training is strengthened by 18,000 employees, and a global service and support network that crosses 27 countries. To find out more, visit

The BBJ is a product of a joint venture formed in July 1996 by The Boeing Company and General Electric Co. The BBJ is a high-performance derivative of the commercially successful Next-Generation 737-700. There are currently 88 BBJs in service around the world. The fleet has generated more than 215,000 cumulative flight hours and 84,000 flights while maintaining an industry-leading 99.9 percent dispatch reliability rate.

4 Jan 2007 - First Boeing Next-Generation 737-700ER Rolls Out of Factory

The first Boeing Next-Generation 737-700ER (Extended Range) completed final assembly and rolled out of the Renton, Wash., manufacturing facility Jan. 2. The airplane receives a painted livery and goes through preflight testing before delivery to launch customer ANA (All Nippon Airways) in early 2007.

The Next-Generation 737-700ER is inspired by the Boeing Business Jet and is designed for long-range commercial applications. Cabin configuration is flexible, and may range from a 48-person, all-business-class cabin, as an example, to a more traditional 126-seat count to suit the airline's needs. The high-performance derivative can fly up to 2,145 nautical miles farther than the current 737-700. With up to nine auxiliary fuel tanks and optional Blended Winglets, the Next-Generation 737-700ER is capable of flying 5,510 nautical miles.


25 Dec 2006 - ANA to Launch 'BusinessJet' Service; World's First Boeing 737-700ER on Nagoya-Guangzhou in March 2007

To better serve the needs of the international business traveller, ANA will launch a new service called ANA BusinessJet when it takes delivery of the world's first Boeing 737-700ER.

The 48 seat aircraft will be fitted with 24 business class and 24 economy class seats, both in a 2-2 configuration. Club ANA BJ will feature seats with a pitch of 61 inches - similar to that on ANA intercontinental services, and Economy BJ seats will have a pitch of 38 inches. The seats will be 20.6 inches and 20.5 inches wide respectively.

This 737-700ER, of which ANA is the launch customer, will be used to open ANA's fifth international route from Nagoya's Centrair Airport to Guangzhou from March 25,2007, serving on a daily basis. This will bring the number of China routes plied by ANA to a total of 20, with 147 flights per week.

"We are introducing the 737-700 as part of our commitment to flying the most efficient, customer pleasing and environmentally friendly fleet of next generation aircraft," said ANA President and CEO, Mineo Yamamoto. "With the new 737-700ER we can offer a product tailored for the business community, and at the same time secure the cost benefits derived from streamlining our narrow body fleet into one family of aircraft," he continued.


17 Nov 2006 - 737-300 Advanced cockpit from Universal Avionics receives FAA certification

Boeing 737-300F Flight Deck shown with newly installed Universal Avionics EFI-890R Displays, Dual UNS-1F FMS and Class A Terrain Awareness & Warning System. Universals Synthetic Vision System can be seen displayed on the Pilot’s PFD and the Copilots Navigation Display.

Tucson, AZ – November 11, 2006 – Universal Avionics along with Commercial Jet, Inc. (CJI) and ARC Avionics (ARC) announced today that the first Boeing 737-300F EFI-890R flat panel display flight deck retrofit received FAA STC approval on October 19, 2006. The installation of 4-Universal Avionics EFI-890 flat panel displays, the Vision-1™ Synthetic Vision System, dual UNS-1F Flight Management Systems, Class A Terrain Awareness & Warning System was seamlessly integrated with the existing autopilot. A follow-on certification will add Universal Avionics TSO’d & STC’d Application Server Unit. This server unit provides weather graphics, charts, checklists and E-Docs to be displayed on the EFI-890R Navigation Display.

The core of this system is the Universal EFI-890 high-definition LCD display. This 8.9” diagonal display is the only large display system capable of both Synthetic Vision and Electronic Charts on the market today. In addition, flexible interface capability and ease of installation means a lower “out the door” price than competitive products.

“The B737-300F Advanced Cockpit offers our customers a new standard for operational capability, flight safety, reliability and for fleet operators, standardization,” said Iso Nesaj General Manager Commercial Jet, Inc.

The ARC Avionics and Commercial Jet, Inc. teams are co-located at the Miami International Airport. They were responsible for all aspects of the Advanced Cockpit installation including design, fabrication and certification.

ARC is comprised of DAR, DER, DMIR, FAA licensed A&P mechanics and FCC licensed avionics technicians. During the past 20 years, ARC has established a reputation for quality and expertise. Today ARC Avionics is recognized as a leading provider of avionics engineering services.

CJI specializes in complete airframe inspections, passenger to cargo conversions, heavy maintenance repair/modifications, interior modifications and avionics upgrade programs for a wide variety of commercial aircraft. CJI takes pride in maintaining a high standard of quality, workmanship, reliability and satisfaction for its worldwide customer base.


16 Oct 2006 BBJ3 Officially Launched

Boeing Business Jets today celebrates its 10-year anniversary by launching the newest member of its business jet family -- the BBJ 3. The airplane, which is based on the new Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range), won two orders from undisclosed customers.

Boeing does not reveal the identity of BBJ owners at the request of its customers.

The new BBJ 3 is the largest BBJ family member and offers 1,120 square feet (104 square meters) of cabin space, 35 percent more than the BBJ and 11 percent more than the BBJ 2. With up to eight auxiliary fuel tanks, the BBJ 3 has a maximum range of 5,475 nautical miles (10,140 km).

In addition to the two BBJ 3 orders, Boeing Business Jets has secured 10 new orders for BBJs in the last 11 months, bringing total program sales to 114 airplanes.

"This has been a remarkable year for the BBJ," Boeing Business Jets President Steven Hill said during a media briefing at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention and Exhibition in Orlando. "Since last year's NBAA, we have won 12 new orders. The continued success of the BBJ is validation of the airplane's value to its owners. And I can't think of a better way to celebrate 10 years of success in the VIP market than with a new family member."

A decade ago, Boeing and General Electric launched Boeing Business Jets, providing private owners, heads of state, corporate leaders and charter companies with a long-range airplane that offers three times the interior space of traditional business jets with similar range capability.

Since then, Boeing Business Jets has become the eighth-largest Next-Generation 737 customer. Boeing Commercial Airplanes provides airplanes to Boeing Business Jets, which then delivers them "green" to a customer-selected completion center for interior configuration and paint.

Private individuals comprise 43 percent of the BBJ customer base. About 35 percent are government heads of state, 12 percent are corporate operators and the remaining 10 percent are charter operators.

The BBJ 3 joins an airplane family that includes the BBJ, which is a high-performance derivative of the 737-700, and the BBJ 2, which is based on the 737-800. The BBJ was launched July 2, 1996, and was followed by the BBJ 2 on Oct. 11, 1999.


27 Sep 2006 - Launch order for BBJ3

The first BBJ3, based on the 737-900ER, has received its first order. This is ahead of the formal launch expected at the NBAA meeting in Orlando, Fl. in October.


13 Sep 2006 - Boeing Considering Two 737 Replacements

Boeing is weighing options for replacing its best-selling 737 and one scenario might include separate aircraft for two markets, the company's senior marketing official said on Wednesday.

The 737 family covers the 110- to 200-seat range and is the most popular commercial plane ever with more than 5,000 produced in nearly four decades. There have been several 737 upgrades, including a major overhaul in the early 1990s.

With airlines seeking variety in seating capacity and more fuel and operating efficiency, Boeing is studying how to meet expectations and continue to offer a workhorse for the short- and medium-haul market.

A decision is nearly two years off and production several years away but one option under study, said Boeing marketing vice president Randy Baseler, is dipping into the under 100-seat market dominated by regional jets and satisfying customers who want more than 200 seats at the same time.

Boeing currently does not manufacture a regional jet, a market dominated by Canada's Bombardier Inc and Brazil's Embraer SA. Boeing would also compete with any changes by Europe's Airbus, which now makes the A320 to compete with the 737.

A Boeing foray into the 100-seat market with the 717 aircraft ended in May. The plane was initially a product of McDonnell Douglas and was renamed after Boeing absorbed that company in 1997.

Baseler said Boeing first must determine whether it should replace the 737 -- one for one -- with another one-class single-aisle aircraft. He said the company is studying the 80 and 90-seat market and what regional jet manufacturers are planning for 100-seat aircraft.

"It could end up being it doesn't make any sense for us being in the 90 or 100-seat market," Baseler said.

But if Boeing goes that way, Baseler said it will have to have two models to also satisfy airlines that want more than 200 seats.


SEATTLE, Sept. 05, 2006 -- The newest member of the Boeing Next-Generation 737 airplane family took to the skies over Washington state Friday on its maiden flight.

Painted in the Boeing blue-and-white livery, the 737-900ER (Extended Range) took off at 9:21 a.m. PDT from the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Wash.

The first flight marks the beginning of a five-month flight test program to obtain certification of the airplane from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency by early 2007.

Boeing flight test pilots, Capts. Ray Craig and Van Chaney, flew the airplane west toward the Pacific Ocean, then south to Astoria, Ore., and over Washington state's Olympic Peninsula before landing at Boeing Field in Seattle. The first flight tested the airplane's airworthiness, aerodynamic performance, stability and cruise performance. Flight controls, the autopilot, pressurization, avionics, air condition systems and the flight management computer also were checked during the flight.

"It was a near flawless flight," said Craig, following the one-hour, 45-minute flight. "We've been working on this airplane since 2001 and to see it come to fruition under budget and ahead of schedule is a great tribute to the Boeing engineering and manufacturing team."

The 737-900ER flight test program will include a second test airplane, and the two jets are scheduled to accrue a total of 235 hours of flight testing and 210 hours of static ground testing. Both flight-test airplanes are scheduled to be delivered next year to Lion Air, the 737-900ER launch customer.

To date, Boeing has won orders for 80 737-900ERs from Lion Air, GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), Sky Airlines, Continental Airlines and SpiceJet. Additionally, Futura International Airways and Excel Airways will begin operating 737-900ERs on lease from GECAS in 2008.

The 737-900ER incorporates a new pair of exit doors, a flat rear-pressure bulkhead and other structural and aerodynamic design changes that allow it to carry up to 215 passengers and fly up to 3,200 nautical miles (5,900 km).

The 737-900ER will begin commercial service with Lion Air in the spring of 20.


29 Aug 2006 - RAAF AEW&C almost 2 years behind schedule - The Australian.

Mark Dodd

The first of the RAAF's new Wedgetail airborne early warning aircraft is now slated for delivery in August 2008, almost two years behind schedule. The latest setback to the $3.5billion project was confirmed yesterday by the Defence Department in response to a series of questions put by The Australian.

"Software integration problems" are cited as the reason for the latest delay in delivery by US manufacturer Boeing.

In a meeting with Boeing chief executive Jim Albaugh in June, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson expressed the federal Government's disappointment that the project had fallen behind schedule. After the meeting, Dr Nelson was assured of a new delivery date in early 2008 following testing problems with radar and sensor computer systems.

"The first two Wedgetail aircraft are now expected to be delivered in the August 2008 timeframe," Defence said.

"When Boeing announced the schedule delay in June, the company cited 'problems associated with sub-system integration, hardware reliability, radar and ESM maturity, and aircraft modification' as the cause of the delay. This remains the case."

Australia has ordered six of the state-of-the-art airborne early warning aircraft.

Boeing is building the airframe based on its popular 737-700 commercial aircraft.

The first two aircraft will be built in the US, while the other four will be assembled in Australia. Dr Nelson earlier warned that the Wedgetail contract included a provision for damages.

But federal Opposition defence spokesman Robert McClelland said cost was not the issue, rather the lack of capability, and that the new delay posed a "very, very big" problem for the RAAF.

The air force was already looking at a gap in its air defence capability with the retirement of the F-111, Mr McClelland said.

That gap was supposed to be bridged by the Wedgetail, whose role was to enhance the capability of the FA-18 fighter bomber.


31 Jul 2006 - First 737 with Short Field Design Enhancements Delivered

SEATTLE, July 31, 2006 – Boeing on Friday delivered to GOL, Brazil’s low-fare, low-cost airline, the first Next-Generation 737 with enhanced short runway landing and takeoff capabilities.

The 737-800 is the first of that model type delivered to GOL as the carrier augments capacity on domestic and regional international routes. It also is the first delivery of 67 737-800s the all-Boeing carrier has on order for delivery out to 2012. The airline currently operates 50 737s.

"We have worked with GOL to enhance the 737 and add value to its operations. Our partnership drove development of these enhancements that now will benefit the product line and many airlines around the world," said John Wojick, vice president Sales, Latin America and the Caribbean, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The 737 design enhancements allow operators to fly increased payload in and out of airports with runways less than 5,000 feet long. The design enhancements include 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.

"Boeing helped us to expand our capacity on the most profitable route in Brazil, (Sao Paulo-Rio De Janeiro) while offering comfort and safety to our clients,” said David Barioni, GOL’s vice president, technical.

The short-field performance changes were developed starting in 2004 in response to GOL’s needs at Santos Dumont airstrip in Rio de Janeiro. That 4,300-foot runway is short compared to other runways and could not accommodate larger airplanes at higher approach speeds with full payloads.

The short-field design package is an option on the 737-600, -700 and -800 and is standard equipment for the new 737-900ER. The enhancements increase payload capability for landing up to 8,000 pounds on the 737-800 and 737-900ER and up to 4,000 pounds on the 737-600 and 737-700. They also increase payload capability for takeoff up to 2,000 pounds on the 737-800 and 737-900ER and up to 400 pounds on the 737-600 and 737-700.

To date, 11 customers have ordered the short-field performance package for more than 250 airplanes. In addition to GOL, Alaska Airlines, Air Europe, Air India, Egyptair, GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), Hapagfly, Japan Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Sky Airlines and Turkish Airlines are among some of the operators that have ordered the design package.


27 Jul 2006 - Boeing 737 Short Field Design Enhancements Earn FAA Certification

Boeing design enhancements that increase the short-field performance of the Next-Generation 737 earned certification this week from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration following a successful four-month flight-test program. European Aviation Safety Agency certification is expected to follow soon.

"Our ultimate goal is to help our customers succeed by offering them products that add value to their operations," said Mark Jenkins, vice president and general manager of 737 Airplane Production. "The 737's short-field performance enhancements will allow airlines to generate more revenue."

The 737 design enhancements allow operators to fly increased payload in and out of airports with runways less than 5,000 feet long. The design enhancements include 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.

The short-field design package is an option on the 737-600, -700 and -800 and is standard equipment for the new 737-900ER. The enhancements increase payload capability for landing up to 8,000 pounds on the 737-800 and 737-900ER and up to 4,000 pounds on the 737-600 and 737-700. They also increase payload capability for takeoff up to 2,000 pounds on the 737-800 and 737-900ER and up to 400 pounds on the 737-600 and 737-700.

The short-field performance changes were developed starting in 2004. The flight-test program was conducted on a new 737-800 and began when the airplane made its first flight on Jan. 24, 2006.

Boeing will deliver the refurbished test airplane later this week to the launch customer, Brazilian low-cost carrier GOL Linhas Aereas S.A. The jet is the first of 67 737-800s ordered by the carrier.

To date 11 customers have ordered the short-field performance package for more than 250 airplanes. In addition to GOL, Alaska Airlines, Air Europe, Air India, Egyptair, GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), Hapagfly, Japan Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Sky Airlines and Turkish Airlines are among some of the operators that have ordered the design package.

The Next-Generation 737s are 10 years newer and fly higher, faster and farther than competing models. Through June 2006, 97 customers have placed orders for more than 3,300 Next-Generation 737s; the program has 1,365 unfilled orders with a value of $91 billion at current list prices.


20 Jul 2006 - Mulally Talks About 737 Replacement

In an interview before leaving Farnborough for Seattle, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Alan Mulally spoke about the next jet-development program just over the horizon — the 737 narrow-body replacement. He talked in more detail about what will be the company's next new jet after the 787 -- a composite plane that will replace the popular 737. Although some airlines are eager for Boeing to develop this jet as soon as possible, Mulally said Boeing will take its time. He repeated that a 737 replacement won't be ready for airline service until at least 2012 and perhaps not before 2015.

Like the 787, the 737 replacement will have a composite airframe, now the "material of choice" for airplane design, Mulally said. "Composites don't corrode, don't fatigue and are more reliable and easier to maintain. This has been our goal and dream. Composites also allow a greatly simplified manufacturing process, and that can significantly drive down costs."

With the 787, the first commercial jetliner with a composite fuselage and wing, Boeing is introducing a new way of making jets. Large one-piece composite sections of the plane will be manufactured elsewhere and then taken to Everett for final assembly in only a few days. That manufacturing method will become even more efficient by the time Boeing is ready to build the 737 replacement. "The goal is to get the fewest number of parts that fit together accurately, and then final assembly takes the least amount of time and has the highest quality. To replace the most efficient plane in the world, the 737, we need to improve its fuel burn, maintenance costs, weight and manufacturing costs, which will translate into savings for airlines. It takes time to do that. We will end up with a very competitive airplane"

Udvar-Hazy, Chairman and chief executive of International Lease Finance Corp. said Boeing and Airbus shouldn't rush their upcoming development programs, expected around 2012 to 2015, to replace their narrow-body 737 and A320 families. He said he and Mulally had had "some off-site secret meetings ... to focus on what the airlines will need five, 10, 15 years from now." "It's really looking at a crystal ball," he said. "It gets a little hazy."


19 Jul 2006 - Innovative Solutions and Support, Inc. Announce Flat Panel Display System Upgrade for 737-3/4/500

Exton, PA. and Hampshire, U.K. – July 19, 2006- Innovative Solutions & Support, Inc. and Jet Partners, LLC announced today at a joint press conference their program to install their Cockpit/IP Flat Panel Display System in the Jet Partners fleet of Classic B-737 aircraft. Deliveries will occur in IS&S’s fiscal year that begins October 1, 2006 for 30 firm and 30 options. The IS&S Flat Panel Display System can be utilized on the B737-300/400/500 models.

The state-of-the-art Cockpit/IP is an all-glass cockpit offering AMLCD displays for Primary Flight (PFD), Navigation (ND), and Engine Instrument Displays (EIDS) systems. The cockpit suite eliminates 65 traditional components and replaces them with 5 display units, 2 control panels, and 3 data concentrator units.

“Installing the IS&S Cockpit/IP Flat Panel Display System is the most cost effective way to retrofit aircraft with modern navigation technology,” says Innovative Solutions and Support’s President, Roman Ptakowski. “Through our agreement with Jet Partners, lessors of Classic B-737s will have the unique ability to configure their aircraft to their individual needs and preferences, while gaining significant safety, situational awareness and performance enhancements.”

With the addition of the IS&S Cockpit/IP to their B-737 aircraft, customers of Jet Partners will benefit from highly desirable options like a built-in Class 3 electronic flight bag with functionality that includes the Jeppesen certified database, XM or WSI satellite weather radar services, and advanced synthetic vision systems. Weight savings of 150 pounds, convection cooling, and a reduction in power consumption provide fuel and heat savings to the operator.

“IS&S flat panels replace 20-plus year old, virtually unsupportable technology with liquid crystal displays that offer a ten-to-one improvement in reliability as well as a platform for growth,” adds Ptakowski. “Existing instrumentation is increasingly difficult to support as the products are no longer in production, and parts acquisition and repair becomes increasingly more expensive. But with the IS&S Cockpit/IP, modern design technology and processes offer significant reliability improvements with MTBFs in excess of 24,000 hours.”

For additional benefits, improved dispatch reliability is provided by the Cockpit/IP’s triply- redundant engine instrument data concentrator unit and the dual redundant PFD/ND data concentrator units in each of the Pilot and Co-Pilot’s positions. On the B767, the Cockpit/IP solution received FAA MEL dispatch relief of three days. Customers can achieve further functionality and configuration growth from the Cockpit/IP’s capability to support data related to upcoming requirements such as ADS-B and RNP.

With thriving retrofit programs already in place for the B-747, 757, and 767, the IS&S agreement with Jet Partners offers easily installed cockpit upgrades at a low cost to an ever expanding variety of aircraft. The program has the ability to standardize pilot training, utilize industry recognized Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Navigation Display (ND) formats, provide health monitoring and exceedance recording for engines, and eliminate the complexity and support of analog and/or EFIS displays. Furthermore, changing requirements are accommodated by flexible graphic display formats certifiable by the FAA.


19 Jul 2006 - Southwest to Retrofit Winglets on 737-300 Fleet

Southwest Airlines committed to install Aviation Partners Boeing Blended Winglets on up to 90 of their 737-300 aircraft. The order of 59 firm systems and 31 options follows Southwest's commitment in June of 2003 to install Blended Winglets on all of their 737-700 aircraft. Installations are planned to begin in early 2007. "This is a monumental order for our 737-300 winglet program and a real testament to the value of our Visible Technology," says Aviation Partners Boeing


31 May 2006 - Assembly Begins on the 737-900ER

Boeing today began final assembly of the first 737-900ER (Extended Range), the newest member of the world's most successful single-aisle airplane family. The wings and landing gear shown here are being joined to the 737-900ER fuselage in the Boeing manufacturing facility in Renton, Wash. Last-stage assembly and interiors installation will begin once the airplane joins the moving assembly line. The 737 derivative incorporates an extra pair of exit doors, a flat aft-pressure bulkhead and other structural and aerodynamic changes that allow it to carry more passengers and fly farther than the 737-900. The twin-engine jet can carry up to 215 passengers and fly up to 3,200 nautical miles (5,900 km). The 737-900ER, destined for Indonesian-based launch customer Lion Air, will embark on a five-month flight test program later this year.


02 May 2006 -- Boeing Business Jets today announced it has won six new orders, increasing total program sales to 108 airplanes.

"The continued sales momentum of the BBJ reflects the value customers place on the airplane's range capability, its industry-leading reliability and its spacious cabin," BBJ President Steven Hill said during a media briefing at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland. "The BBJ offers more than transportation; it offers the ability to travel with family, friends or business associates while working, eating, sleeping or entertaining in the air as you would at home or in the office."

Boeing Business Jets secured the new orders within the last six months from regions all around the globe including Southeast Asia and Europe. Most BBJ customers choose to remain anonymous, which often is typical in these types of private business transactions.

Seventy-three customers have ordered 95 BBJs and 13 BBJ 2s. About 40 percent of BBJ customers are private individuals, 37 percent are government heads of state, and the remaining customer segment is divided between corporate and charter operators.

Hill also announced that the program is considering the development of a convertible cargo airplane based on the commercial Next-Generation 737-700C (Convertible). The airplane allows operators to alternate between passenger and cargo layouts. The 737-700C already includes the BBJ-inspired configuration of the 737-700 fuselage and the strengthened landing gear and wings of the 737-800.

"The airplane would provide the ultimate in flexibility and multi-purpose mission capability. It would be an ideal airplane for government heads of state or entrepreneurs," Hill said.

The decision to explore a possible new BBJ family member is based on a firm order from a BBJ customer for a 737-700C. Hill said a decision to offer the business jet version could be made before the end of the year, and if launched, it would be called the BBJ C.


18 Apr 2006 - Allegations of 737 Production Quality Faults

Claims that Boeing is using faulty aircraft parts have raised questions about jet safety, write Florence Graves and Sara Kehaulani Goo

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Claims that Boeing is using faulty aircraft parts have raised questions about jet safety, write Florence Graves and Sara Kehaulani Goo Jeannine Prewitt knew there was a problem when the holes wouldn't line up.

On a Boeing assembly line in Kansas in 2000, Prewitt saw workers drilling extra holes in the long aluminum ribs that make up the skeleton of a jetliner's fuselage. That was the only way the workers could attach the pieces, because some of its pre-drilled holes didn't match those on the airframe.

Prewitt was a parts buyer, the third generation of her family to work at the sprawling Boeing factory on the outskirts of Wichita. She believed pieces going into one of the world's most advanced and popular airliners, the Boeing 737, should fit like a glove.

The assembly workers Prewitt observed were not the only ones who noted problems with parts from a key Boeing supplier, AHF Ducommun of Los Angeles. Other workers told her many pieces had to be shoved or hammered into place. And documents reviewed by The Washington Post show that quality managers reported numerous problems at Ducommun in memos recorded in Boeing's system for monitoring its suppliers.

Whether questionable parts ended up in hundreds of Boeing 737s is the subject of a bitter dispute between the aerospace company and Prewitt and two other whistle-blowers. The two sides also have enormously different views on what that could mean for the safety of the jets.

The whistle-blower lawsuit is in US District Court in Wichita. No matter how it is resolved, it has exposed gaps in the way government regulators investigated the alleged problems in aircraft manufacturing.

Boeing said the lawsuit is without merit and there is no safety issue. Even if faulty parts landed on the assembly line, the company said, none could have slipped through Boeing's controls and gotten into the jetliners. The whistle- blowers "are not intimately familiar with Boeing's quality management system," said Cindy Wall, a company spokeswoman. "Our planes are safe."

The three whistle-blowers contend that Boeing officials knew from their own audits about thousands of parts that did not meet specifications, allowed them to be installed and retaliated against people who raised questions. They say the parts, manufactured from 1994 to 2002, fit the Federal Aviation Administration's definition of "unapproved" because they lack documentation proving they are airworthy. Moreover, they say, forcing a part into place could shorten its lifespan.

After the whistle-blowers notified federal authorities in 2002, the FAA and the Pentagon looked into their charges. Each said its investigation cleared the airplane parts and found no reports of problems from military or civilian operators of Boeing jets. The Department of Transportation's inspector general also dismissed the charges.

The Post's review, however, found that the FAA did not assess many of the whistle-blowers' key allegations. FAA inspectors examined only a small number of parts in the plants and did not visit any airplanes to inspect the roughly 200 types of parts questioned by the whistle- blowers.

The Pentagon and Transportation Department, in turn, relied on the FAA's work, documents show.

One reason the FAA chose not to pursue the whistle-blowers' claims, officials said, was that its engineers believed the parts in question would not present a safety risk even if they failed in flight. There has not been a crash caused by such a failure, the agency said.

But on several occasions, the agency has expressed concern about similar parts, albeit on the previous generation of 737s. Last year, prompted by reports from some carriers of cracks, the FAA formally alerted US air carriers that fly 737s made before 1998 to inspect for possible fatigue cracks around such parts. Cracks in these areas, the FAA said, "could result in reduced structural integrity of the frames, possible loss of a cargo door, possible rapid decompression of the fuselage."

Prewitt's job at Wichita was to purchase parts for 737s and other jets from Ducommun and other suppliers. She said she saw that some pieces were coming in with inaccurate measurements beyond the margin of error. In the summer of 2000, she visited one assembly line where the aluminum ribs, known as chords, were being attached to the 737 fuselage.

As Prewitt watched, she said, one worker pulled a chord from the stack and saw its holes were in the wrong place. "I said: `So what do you do?' She grabbed a drill and drills a hole and connects it together," said Prewitt, now 45. "We're all appalled. I sat there watching her drill, drill, drill." She said the chord problem reinforced worries that others had raised for a year about other Ducommun parts. She had examined reports of problems with "bear straps," large pieces of reinforcing sheet metal bonded to the skin around an airliner's doorways. Prewitt said the pieces, which have four jutting corners something like a bearskin rug, were coming in short in one corner. That forced workers to drill holes for rivets closer to the edge of the piece than specified.

The whistle-blowers said they learned that some managers knew of the problem but encouraged workers to make the parts fit. For example, when Prewitt recommended tossing out 24 bear straps she considered unacceptable, a Boeing procurement manager objected. "Scrapping any bearstraps is stupid, since we've used over 300 with the same condition," the manager wrote to one of the whistle-blowers in a May 13, 1999, e-mail.

Boeing's corporate audit office convened a team to look into the parts problems in 2000. The 14 members included Prewitt and two others who later joined the whistle-blower lawsuit - Taylor Smith, 44, contract administrator for the new generation of 737 and other jets; and James Ailes, 53, a technical troubleshooter. Others were experts on quality assurance, tooling and manufacturing processes.

The team visited Ducommun's plant in California. In its report to Boeing, the team said it found that many of the more than 500 heavy-duty manufacturing tools used by Ducommun were incorrectly calibrated, misused or not built to Boeing's specifications. Contrary to Ducommun's factory records, the report said, the supplier still was making parts with hand tools such as routers, as it had done for the older 737 models, instead of the sophisticated computer-programmed tools Boeing engineers had specified.

Ducommun, also named in the lawsuit, declined to comment on the allegations beyond stating that the FAA and other agencies had already dismissed them.

The Boeing audit team issued its report in August 2000. It noted that Boeing was seeking financial compensation for irregularities at Ducommun's plant and was reconsidering its relationship with the supplier.

Ducommun said it never made a payment to Boeing as settlement, but according to documents reviewed by The Post, the firm agreed in January 2001 to a US$1.6 million (HK$12.48 million) settlement with Boeing for overbilling and manufacturing problems. Boeing declined to comment.

Prewitt received a cash-and-stock bonus worth nearly US$3,000 after what Boeing called her "outstanding contribution" to the audit. Soon, however, members of the team grew discouraged with what they saw as Boeing's reluctance to follow up on their findings. They said Boeing officials cleaned the report of details about possible airliner safety problems and violations of FAA procedures. When they raised the possibility of reporting their concerns to the FAA, they said, they were told to keep quiet or face possible legal action from Boeing.

Boeing said it did not sanitize the report and its policies prohibit threats or retaliation against employees who raise safety questions. Company spokeswoman Wall said the fact that the audit team was assembled shows Boeing's oversight of suppliers is effective. She said the team's mission was to look at "cost issues" regarding Ducommun's accounting and tools and she does not know how the whistle- blowers on the team drew the conclusion that the parts were flawed. She said assessing quality was outside their area of expertise.

In early 2002, Prewitt, Smith and Ailes sent thousands of documents supporting their case to the Justice Department. They alleged questionable parts had been installed not only on hundreds of 737s but also on some 747s, 757s, 767s and 777s and their military equivalents without the knowledge of the Air Force and Navy, the commercial airlines, or the FAA. Shortly after that, in March 2002, the three workers - and one other whistle-blower who later dropped out - filed their lawsuit.

In 2003, the whistle-blowers withdrew their suit after the Justice Department declined to join. They refiled it in March 2005. By then, Ailes was still employed but Prewitt and Smith had been laid off. All three allege they received demotions and lower job evaluations because of their actions.

The lawsuit cites only those jets sold to the military, because the False Claims Act applies to only federal contracts. However, the whistle-blowers said most of the parts in question also had been installed on commercial airliners. So at the request of the Justice Department, the FAA launched a probe in the spring of 2002. It was handled by the division that investigates parts suspected to be "unapproved" - ones that lack the paper trail showing they meet specifications.

FAA officials said that rather than restrict themselves to the more than 200 types of parts questioned by the whistle- blowers, their engineers reviewed a list of all Ducommun parts made for Boeing. They said they found most of the parts were unique to military planes. None of the commercial parts on their own, the engineers decided, were "principal structural elements," or parts whose individual failure could lead to a catastrophe. FAA officials, however, now say that some parts are in areas considered principal structural elements.

In the end, the engineers narrowed their list to 11 of the "most critical" Ducommun commercial parts and the FAA focused its investigation on how they were being made at the time of its probe. The agency said it has no official documents explaining the decision to eliminate hundreds of parts from investigation. That did not follow procedures adopted when the agency created an office devoted to investigation of suspect parts in 1995. Those rules require that FAA inspectors review the manufacturing history, quantity and importance of each part that is reported as suspect and then document their findings.

In the summer of 2004, the FAA closed its two-year probe, saying Ducommun's current manufacturing processes were sound. "The most important thing is corrective action," said Peggy Gilligan, deputy associate administrator for aviation safety at FAA.

Last year, the FAA reopened the case. The agency had received new reports about the parts from two FAA- certified experts hired by the whistle- blowers' lawyers.

The lawyers had provided four experts with the court documents and Boeing quality control reports from 1999 and 2000. All four experts, who are certified by the FAA to make decisions about aircraft engineering or airworthiness on behalf of the agency, and one additional expert hired by The Post to review the same documents said they believed that practices at Ducommun and Boeing were seriously flawed.

The evidence that Boeing and Ducommun ignored quality controls is "beyond the scope of anything I've ever heard of - where an entire inspection system would be bypassed," said Sammy Hanson, the consultant hired by The Post. Hanson, who has worked in aircraft certification for 12 years, said that because the FAA acknowledges it did not look at parts installed on planes, "every one of these parts (in the lawsuit) is `unapproved.' "

Other aviation consultants said that even if FAA procedures were violated, metal parts used for reinforcement are not as critical as, say, the main landing gear.

"Sheet metal parts are necessarily pretty flexible so if they don't fit perfect as delivered, it's not a big deal to shove them into place, bend them a little bit, push on them and rivet them together," said Charles Eastlake, a professor of aerospace engineering and a former aircraft structural designer for the Air Force. "Quality control people turn purple when they see that, but it's the way it's always been."

Another argument holds that because planes are stripped down for major maintenance every five to seven years, any early cracks or corrosion would probably be spotted before the part could create a problem. In fact, FAA officials said their inspectors combed through records from airlines that performed such maintenance and found no reports of problems with bear straps, chords or frames. Spokesmen for Southwest, American and Continental airlines told The Post they had found no problems with the parts.

But some analysts suggest that when factory workers force together parts that are not built according to their design, it could eventually cause premature cracking.

When you "bend and twist" with undue force, you can introduce more stress on the parts and the structure they are attached to, said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member and former airline mechanic. Goglia said that can be especially true of parts used to reinforce the cabin around doors, which may be more vulnerable to fatigue.

But, Goglia added, the safety impact of any suspect part is difficult to determine without an engineer's analysis of how it was made.

The FAA has yet to complete its second investigation. The agency said the same lead inspector has been assigned to the matter. "We're confident we came to the right conclusions in the first case," said Brown, the FAA spokeswoman.



2 Mar 2006 - Boeing team to develop post-737 jet

By Dominic Gates, Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Only a couple weeks after rolling out the 5,000th 737, Boeing formally named an initial planning team to lead development of a replacement for the Renton-built jet. On Boeing's internal Web site Tuesday, the company announced that Mike Cave, vice president for airplane programs, will direct the work.

"The Next-Generation 737 is a wonderful airplane with a strong future in the marketplace; the challenge of dramatically improving on its proven economy, performance and reliability is a daunting task and one that will take considerable innovation," Cave said in the Boeing news item. "The leaders we've named today understand the challenge and are the right team to assess both the market requirements and necessary technology developments." The decisions made by the new team, from timing to location of assembly, could have a huge impact here.

In December, commercial airplanes Chief Executive Alan Mulally, said a replacement for the single-aisle 737 would enter service between 2012 and 2015 and hinted it will be assembled in the Puget Sound area. It's unclear if that would be in Renton or in Everett.

The project team includes:

• Carolyn Brandsema, director of engineering for the 737/MMA program, who will head the study of the airplane and the production system used to build it. It's expected that the replacement jet will have a carbon fiber-based plastic fuselage like the 787, and will use the innovative, flexible manufacturing methods that will be introduced for the larger jet next year. Also like the 787, the new program will likely require orchestration of a global supply chain, with major overseas partners contributing large sections of the aircraft.

• Kent Fisher, a marketing vice president in the commercial-airplane division, will head business development. His job will be to ensure that whatever Boeing comes up with is what the airlines want.

• Don Moon, now on the 787 program-management team, will consider how best to manage the project.

• Rod Wheeler, director of finance estimating and planning in the commercial-airplanes division, will work out what it will all cost.

Major partners on the program are likely to have to contribute their own investment to reduce Boeing's development costs. Initiating a new airplane program has the potential to hurt sales of the current jet — airlines might become reluctant to buy if they think that a new, improved jet could be available soon. So even as it made the announcement internally, Boeing sought to play down the move. "Someday both the Next-Generation 737 and the (Airbus) A320 will need to be replaced, but so far we have not found a more compelling airplane for the single-aisle market," Cave said in his statement. "Until we do, we will continue to invest in the Next-Generation 737." Despite the description of the team as being formed for "initial studies" of a 737 replacement, early exploratory work has been going on within Boeing for several years.

At the Farnborough Air Show in July 2004 a top executive with a major systems supplier confided that his company was already discussing concepts with Boeing on what was then code-named the Y1 project. Boeing spokesman Craig Martin said the internal announcement doesn't mean the 737 replacement program will launch any earlier than publicly stated by Mulally last year. To deliver in 2012, Boeing would have to launch the program soon after airlines take their first 787s in 2008.


31 Jan 2006 - 737-700ER (Extended Range) Launched

SEATTLE, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Boeing Company today launched the 737-700ER (Extended Range), following an order conversion from ANA (All Nippon Airways) for two airplanes. The 737-700ER has the longest range capability of any 737 commercial family member, and is able to serve new nonstop, point-to-point routes profitably.

ANA exercised rights to substitute 737-700s with 737-700ERs. The two 737-700ERs are part of a larger order announced June 23, 2003, for 45 737-700s.

"The value of the Next-Generation 737 family continues to grow with the 737-700ER, and we are delighted to have ANA as the launch customer," said Alan Mulally, chief executive officer and president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This new 737 derivative is a great example of how Boeing helps our customers succeed by responding to new emerging airline business requirements."

Boeing is scheduled to deliver the first airplane to ANA in early 2007.

"This special airplane will bring new possibilities for ANA in terms of the routes we fly," said ANA President and CEO Mineo Yamamoto. "It will allow us to explore destinations that could hitherto only be reached with larger aircraft, and further provide greater choice and convenience to our customers."

The 737-700ER is a Boeing Business Jet-inspired airplane, designed for long-range commercial applications. The airplane features the fuselage of the commercial 737-700 and the wings and landing gear of the larger 737-800. The high-performance derivative can fly up to 2,145 nautical miles farther than the current 737-700. With up to nine optional auxiliary fuel tanks and optional Blended Winglets, the 737-700ER is capable of flying up to 5,510 nautical miles.

Sharing the same industry-leading reliability and low operating and maintenance costs of other models in the 737 family, the 737-700ER allows carriers to compete in relatively new markets such as the long-range all-premium class market, or is particularly well suited for low-cost carriers seeking to operate on longer routes. The Next-Generation 737s are 10 years newer and fly higher, faster, farther, and more quietly than competing models. To date, 95 airlines have placed orders for more than 2,960 Next-Generation 737s. More than 1,130 737s are on order, worth about $69 billion at current list prices.


30 Jan 2006 - Boeing Offers Efficiency Enhancing Feature for Next-Generation 737

SEATTLE, Jan. 30, 2006 -- Boeing today announced a new carbon brake option that will reduce airframe weight and lower operating costs for Next-Generation 737 operators around the world.

The no-charge option will save up to 700 pounds in airplane weight and increase the wear life up to twice the number of landings. The reduction in weight and increased durability will lower maintenance and operating costs overall.

"Carbon brakes offer the same stopping performance as steel brakes but with the added benefit of a significant weight savings, which ultimately increases fuel efficiency," said Mike Delaney, 737 chief project engineer. "Next-Generation 737s are already lighter than competing Airbus models. This structural efficiency is a fundamental reason why Next-Generation 737s fly farther, higher and with better fuel efficiency than the competition."

"This new feature demonstrates our continued commitment to offer technology that brings value to our customers and continues to make the 737 the most capable airplane in the world's single-aisle market," added Delaney.

The carbon brakes, which will be supplied by Goodrich and Messier-Bugatti, will be available for deliveries starting in early 2008, following a two-month flight test program. The option also will be available for retrofit on all Next-Generation 737s.

Known for their industry-leading reliability and low operating costs, the Next-Generation 737s are part of the best-selling 737 family. Overall, operators around the world have ordered more than 6,000 models. To date, 95 operators have placed orders for more than 2,960 Next-Generation 737s; the program has a backlog of 1,133 units with a value of about $69 billion at current list prices.


26 Jan 2006 - Boeing Introduces New 737 Signals Intelligence Aircraft

Variant of Navy's 737-MMA Boeing announced Wednesday plans for a new 737 signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft to be used for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and also advanced network centric communications. The new SIGINT aircraft concept is a variant of Boeing's 737-based P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft, which is currently being developed for the US Navy.

"We think this affordable variant not only provides the US Defense Department with options for current and future airborne ISR requirements, but also is adaptable to any International SIGINT mission sets," said Tony Parasida, Boeing vice president for Maritime Systems.

The Boeing 737 SIGINT variant will have increased mission capability, operational readiness and combat radius relative to legacy aircraft. The design also has built-in growth capacity so payload capacity can easily be increased or upgraded to accommodate future customer requirements.

"A key advantage of this new program is that the 737 SIGINT aircraft will leverage the P-8A's advanced mission system architecture, mature design, and contractor logistics support and training systems approach. For customers that means reduced operating and maintenance costs over the entire life cycle of the system."

Boeing's Maritime Systems Industry team, currently working on the P-8A program, will be involved with the 737 SIGINT variant as well. Additional partners likely will be added to the team to help address future customer requirements.

P-8A team members include Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Smiths Aerospace and CFM International. The P-8A -- a military derivative of the 737-800 aircraft -- is the Navy's replacement platform for the P-3C. Its primary mission is to provide what the company terms "persistent" anti-submarine warfare.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses.


13 Nov 2005 - Bellview CVR & FDR still not found.

LAGOS, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Investigators have been unable to find the flight data and voice recorders from the site of a plane crash in Nigeria that killed 117 people in October, the head of the investigating team said on Sunday.

Angus Ozoka said the failure to locate the "black boxes" meant it would take longer to determine what caused the Boeing 737, operated by Nigerian airline Bellview, to crash shortly after take-off from Lagos on Oct. 22, killing everyone on board.

"We were not able to recover the black boxes -- flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder -- although we found some strips of the casing," Ozoka told a news conference at Lagos airport.

The wreckage recovered from the 4-metre (13-feet) deep crater near the village of Lissa, about 30 km (20 miles) from Lagos in Ogun state, has been taken to an air force base for further examination.

Ozoka said the investigation would continue in Nigeria and in the United States. A U.S. team has been helping the inquiry.

The aircraft took off from Lagos for the capital Abuja during an intense electrical storm and experts have said evidence so far points to a lightning strike as the possible cause for the crash, though there has been no official confirmation.

Bellview, popular with government officials and expatriates, had previously had a clean safety record. The 24-year-old Boeing had received a clean bill of health from inspectors in February, the airline has said.


17 Oct 2005 - Boeing 737 Trials In-Flight Phone Systems

Connexion by Boeing says that it has recently concluded a week of demonstration flights in Europe that showed travellers how mobile telephony in flight can be provided safely and conveniently for passengers in flight.

During flights aboard a Boeing 737-400 test and demonstration airplane, Connexion One, guests sampled not only the Connexion by Boeing high-speed, real-time Internet service, which now includes four channels of live TV, but also used roaming-enabled mobile phones to make and receive phone calls.

"Enabling people to make and receive phone calls during flight demonstrated the flexibility of a high-speed connectivity system like ours," said Chris Petersen, program manager for voice and cellular service at Connexion by Boeing. "We allowed our guests to make calls to the ground while we flew over international waters, and almost everyone's first call was to their boss. Both callers and call recipients were equally excited and impressed by the voice quality and the reliability of the connection."

The system supports both GSM and CDMA - so presumably, you could end up in the future, being able to make CDMA phone calls while travelling over Europe.

Photo: Boeing


01 Sep 2005 - Boeing Completes First Airborne Test of Wedgetail Aircraft’s Radar

Boeing successfully conducted the first in-flight test of the Northrop Grumman Multi-mode Electronically Scanned Array radar aboard a 737 airborne early warning and control aircraft for Australia’s Project Wedgetail.

“The mission was flawless,” said Jack DeLange, 737 AEW&C integration and test manager. “All of the first radar flight test objectives were achieved.”

The six-hour flight test over Washington state followed completion of three weeks of ground testing of the radar in Victorville, Calif. The ground testing verified the compatibility of the radar with other aircraft systems while operating and scanning through 360 degrees.

The initial flight test aboard Wedgetail aircraft No. 1 collected data used to calibrate the radar for the effects of both the aircraft and the ground environment.

Flight testing of the radar, integrated with the airborne mission system aboard Wedgetail aircraft No. 2, is scheduled to begin later this year. This follows several years of extensive stand-alone ground testing by Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems Division in Baltimore, Md.

The Multi-mode Electronically Scanned Array radar is designed to provide optimal performance in range, tracking, and accuracy. It is able to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously and can help the mission crew direct the control of high-performance fighter aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area.

Photo: Brian Lockett Goleta Air & Space Museum


18 Jul 2005 - 737-900ER Launched

The Boeing Company today officially launched the 737-900ER (Extended Range) -- the newest member of the world's best-selling Next-Generation 737 family -- following the completion of a sales agreement for up to 60 of the airplanes from Lion Air.

The 737-900ER, formerly known as the 737-900X, will carry more passengers and fly farther, increasing the capability of the Next-Generation 737 airplane family.

Lion Air, Indonesia's first low-cost carrier, originally announced its intent to order up to 60 737s earlier this year. Today's firm order is for 30 of the new derivative airplane, with purchase rights for 30 additional models. The order is worth $3.9 billion at list prices.

The first 737-900ER is scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2007.

"The Next-Generation 737 is the most efficient single-aisle airplane family today, and we are thrilled to have Lion Air as the launch customer to increase the 737 family's capability with the additional range and seating of the 737-900ER," said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "In addition to the unprecedented economic advantages, the 737-900ER shares the same industry-leading reliability of the world's most successful airplane family."

The 737-900ER is the same size as today's 737-900, but, with the addition of a pair of exit doors and a flat rear pressure bulkhead, will carry 26 additional passengers, raising the maximum capacity from 189 to 215 in a single-class layout.

Aerodynamic and structural design changes, including strengthened wings, a two-position tailskid, enhancements to the leading and trailing edge flap systems, and optional Blended Winglets and auxiliary fuel tanks, will allow the 737-900ER to accommodate higher takeoff weights and increase its range to 3,200 nautical miles (5,900 km), making it comparable to the 737-800's range.

"We are delighted to be the launch customer for the 737-900ER," said President Director Rusdi Kirana of Lion Air. "We are confident that the outstanding economics and reliability of the aircraft will contribute to the expansion and modernization of our fleet."

Powered by the CFM International CFM56-7B turbofan engines, the new derivative will have substantial economic advantages over competing models including 9 percent lower operating costs per trip and 7 percent lower operating costs per seat than the A321, which is more than 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) heavier than the 737-900ER.

The Next-Generation 737s are 10 years newer and fly higher, faster, farther and more quietly than competing models. To date, 86 airlines have placed orders for more than 2,700 Next-Generation 737s.


12 May 2005 - 737NG Certified for Cat I GLS approaches

The Boeing Company today delivered a 737 equipped with an advanced landing system that will guide the airplane to runways with unprecedented accuracy.

Unlike current technology, which relies solely on information from ground stations, the Global Positioning Landing System (GLS) integrates data from the global navigation satellite system, ground stations and a multi-mode receiver on the airplane to provide pinpoint accuracy of the airplane's position relative to the runway and surrounding terrain.

"Boeing is committed to a safe and effective global air transportation system. This precision approach and landing information will enhance safety by significantly improving takeoff and landing capability at airports around the world," said Captain Ray Craig, 737 Chief Pilot. "GLS increases the Next-Generation 737's lead as the most technologically advanced airplane in its class, and enhances the revenue-generating capability for airlines."

The FAA certified the GLS system following an extensive three-year testing program, during which the system proved to be a reliable and flawless navigation system suitable for automatic landings and low visibility takeoffs. JAA certification is expected soon.

Initially, GLS is certified to support Category I operations, which allow airplanes to operate in low visibility conditions. In the future, as GLS ground stations become available worldwide, the system will be able to support Category III operations, which allow airplanes to operate in very low or near zero visibility conditions.

The 737-800 is the first and only large commercial airplane certified and equipped with this sophisticated technology.

GLS was one of nine new leading-edge technologies successfully tested and demonstrated on the 737 Technology Demonstrator airplane during 2002. Of the nine emerging technology features, six have now been certified and delivered on the 737.


19 Apr 2005 - Global ePoint Aviation Division Receives FAA STC for its 737 Cockpit Door Surveillance System.

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 19, 2005--Global ePoint, Inc. (Nasdaq: GEPT), an innovative developer and manufacturer of homeland security solutions for aviation and law enforcement as well as financial, retail and industrial applications, today announced the AirWorks Division has received a new FAA Supplemental Type Certificate for its Cockpit Door Surveillance System (CDSS), which now spans the entire family of Boeing 737 aircraft (737-200 through 737-900) with two configurations.

Aviation Speed News states there are some 4,597 Boeing family 737's flying in the world - spanning the 737-200 through 737-900 - which represents 48 percent of total Boeing aircraft flying today. It also noted 1,571 of these 737's are operating within U.S. airlines

The original AirWorks Cockpit Door Surveillance System previously offered on 737-300 and 737-500's consisted of two 6.4-inch touch-sensitive monitors, a system controller and one camera mounted directly outside the cockpit door - with two more cameras located in the forward galley (and up to 16 cameras throughout the aircraft overall). Cockpit monitors were located to the side and just forward of the pilots seated positions. This standard system configuration is currently installed and flying on over 100 Boeing 737 aircraft.

AirWorks has designed and introduced a new optional "single-monitor" 5-inch touch-sensitive system that installs in the overhead panel directly between the two pilots. The new condensed configuration allows either pilot to utilize the same monitor or to control the camera from either pilot position - and utilizes the same System Controller and cameras as in previously delivered 737 systems..

"Our continual investment in the CDSS Cockpit Door Surveillance System and its flexibility, and now, in these multiple applications as well, provides AirWorks the ability to meet any requirement for any model aircraft built by the Boeing or Airbus companies," said Ricky Frick, President of Global ePoint's Aviation Division. "It allows us to immediately move forward with a customer without the barrier of new designs for installation or certification requirements."

"We have made this commitment to ensure that any mandate or requirement - by any regulatory agency anywhere in the world - can immediately be satisfied with our product and certification."

About Global ePoint's Aviation Division

The Company's Aviation division contains Global AirWorks, whose primary communications and security products include the Cockpit Door Surveillance System (CDSS), a digital electronic "flight bag" of all flight and on-board manuals and records for pilots and a Laptop Computer Power System for passengers and flight crews. AirWorks customers include airline major OEMs, such as AT&T Aviation, BAE Systems, In-flight Phone, L3 Communications, and Rockwell Collins; all major U.S. airlines; and all major international carriers, including ATA, Air China, Bombardier, Finnair, Varig, KLM, Lufthansa, and Cathay Pacific. AirWorks holds more than 40 supplemental type certificates (STC) certifying AirWorks as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved manufacturer and installer for a range of interior equipment and systems for a variety of commercial aircraft flying worldwide.


19 Apr 2005 - Boeing Talks of 737 Replacement

Buoyed by the early success of its 787, and with Airbus finally on the defensive, The Boeing Co. is talking with some of its key suppliers about what's likely to be its next new jet - a 737 replacement based on the technology of its coming super-efficient twin-aisle jetliner.

The aim of the preliminary talks, according to industry sources, is to better gauge how soon a new single-aisle jet could, or should, be brought to market. If possible, Boeing would like to move forward the development of a 737 replacement, the sources said.

Although such a plane would not be available until at least early in the next decade, industry analysts say Boeing has an opportunity to keep Airbus off balance and on the run by leveraging the technology on the 787 Dreamliner -- the industry's first commercial jetliner with a composite wing and fuselage.

"Boeing needs to strike while the iron is hot," said Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst with the Teal Group, an industry consulting firm.

The development of an all-new jet rather than a derivative gives Boeing the upper hand over Airbus in using that 787 technology later for a 737 replacement.

Boeing has not said when it envisions a new single-aisle jet, but knowledgeable industry observers have put an entry-into-service date around 2013.

Speculation that Boeing might move forward development of a 737 replacement has been fuelled partly by recent public comments from engine makers looking to develop a next-generation engine that would be needed for a 737 replacement.

That Boeing is talking with suppliers, principally those likely to provide the technology for a 737 replacement, suggests Boeing's product development people are further along this road than previously believed.

Byron Callan, a Merrill Lynch analyst who closely follows Boeing, said he was recently told by one Boeing supplier that the company has completed an internal new study of a 737 replacement.

Boeing won't comment, other than to say it is focused on winning many more orders for its hot-selling 737, and that the only new plane that has its attention is the 787, which will enter service in 2008.

"The 737 is doing very well in the marketplace," Scott Carson, head of Boeing jetliner sales business, said when asked if there is pressure to move up development of a replacement plane. "There are a lot of legs left with the 737 family of aircraft and the market response this year certainly demonstrates that."

Boeing has won several key 737 orders so far this year, with more likely. Formerly known as the 7E7, the 787 represents a significant and unprecedented leap for Boeing. Smaller business and military jets have made extensive use of composites, but what Boeing is doing with the 787 has not been attempted before with a plane this big. The twin-engine 787, which is a little bigger than the 767 that it replaces, will carry about 225 passengers in a three-class configuration. In addition to the widespread use of composites, the 787 will be much more of an electric airplane than current jets, which use air bled from the engines to power some onboard systems. And the 787 will have new engines that are more fuel efficient and quiet than anything today.

A 737 replacement would take these advances, and advantages, even further.

As important as the technology is to the 787's success, so too is a new Boeing production system. Large composite fuselage sections, already stuffed by suppliers with the wiring and systems, will arrive at Boeing's Everett plant on modified 747 freighters for final assembly with the composite wings. These sections will be snapped together in as little as three days.

A 737 replacement would use this same production method, but likely refine it even further.

The eventual end of the 737 program also means the likely close of Boeing's operations in Renton, with airplane production consolidated at the company's Everett plant, where the 787 will be assembled.

Boeing's current 737 backlog of nearly 800 planes, with more orders to come, is enough to keep production going in Renton until well after 2010.

But before Boeing can move on with the development of its next jet, it must get the 787 into service with airlines and find out if the plane performs as advertised.

"What we want to do is get some experience with the new airplane both in terms of its performance and manufacturing technologies and learn from that," said Carson, Boeing's sales chief.

"After we have learned the right lessons, then we can worry about a replacement airplane (for the 737)."

And the engine makers will have to come up with a new engine for a single-aisle jet that would offer the kind of performance improvements that the 787 will enjoy over today's planes.

"To build a 737 replacement without a next-generation engine would be a dreadful mistake for us to make," Carson said.

Boeing has said the 787 will be about 20 percent more fuel efficient than current jets that size.

While Boeing is focused now on the development of the 787, Airbus has its own all-new plane, the 555-passenger A380 superjumbo that will enter service in mid-2006 and supplant Boeing's 747 as the world's biggest commercial jetliner.

With the development effort for the A380 program winding down as production begins, Airbus has only recently turned its attention to the A350 and the challenge from the 787.

But in offering customers an A330 derivative rather than an all-new jet, Airbus is taking the less-expensive approach, much as Boeing has done in the past in response to Airbus threats.

It was not that long ago that some in the industry were calling Boeing "Derivatives 'R' Us."

If Airbus were to change strategy and develop an all-new jet to match the 787, it would give Boeing a huge advantage.

"If Airbus has to start again with a clean sheet of paper and an all-new A350 rather than a derivative, that gives Boeing at least a couple extra years to have the 787 alone in that market and it gives Boeing a strong advantage in leveraging that technology for its next plane to replace the 737," Aboulafia said.

"What you are seeing," he added, "is possibly the biggest reversal of fortunes in aviation history, with Boeing taking back lost market share from Airbus. ... This represents one of the biggest opportunities that any U.S. manufacturing company has ever enjoyed."


04 Apr 2005 - First Kitty Hawk Boeing 737-300SF Aircraft Arrives at DFW; Kitty Hawk is the North American Launch Customer for 737-300SF Freighter Aircraft

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 4, 2005--Kitty Hawk, Inc. (AMEX:KHK) subsidiary, Kitty Hawk Aircargo, Inc., has taken delivery of its first new Boeing 737-300SF aircraft. The new freighter arrived Saturday, April 2, 2005 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), where Kitty Hawk is headquartered.

Kitty Hawk is the North American launch customer for the 737-300SF conversion by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Bedek Aviation Group. IAI is one of the premier passenger-to-cargo aircraft conversion and aircraft maintenance companies in the world. Kitty Hawk has also entered into a long-term strategic partnership with IAI for maintenance and support of the aircraft engines, components and landing gear.

Kitty Hawk has a contract to lease seven Boeing 737-300SF aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). The aircraft will be delivered throughout 2005. The 737-300SF is the freighter version of one of the best-selling and most popular commercial passenger aircraft of all time. The two pilot, twin-engine aircraft are powered by CFM-56 jet engines.

"Bedek Aviation Group is delighted to have worked with Kitty Hawk for the first B737-300SF conversion in North America. The technologies designed into this conversion are state-of-the-art and offer major competitive advantages," said David Arzi, Bedek's general manager and corporate vice president.

"We are also honored that Kitty Hawk recognized the quality of our work by entering into a 10-year contract with us for maintenance and support of the aircraft. These services will be provided by our wholly-owned subsidiary, Aviation Services International LLC (ASI), which specializes in totally integrated maintenance packages," said Arzi. "In the future, it is envisioned that the program will also cover airframe maintenance at Empire Air Center located in Rome, New York, another subsidiary of IAI's Bedek Aviation Group."

For the present time, Kitty Hawk will continue to operate approximately 20 Boeing 727-200F aircraft, though some of those aircraft are planned for retirement in the future.

"The arrival of this first 737-300SF is a significant step that will enhance Kitty Hawk's fleet and further prepare our company for the future," said Robert W. Zoller, Kitty Hawk's president and CEO. "The Boeing 737-300SF is a tremendous addition - it is a very fuel efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly aircraft, capable of achieving proposed federal Stage 4 noise regulations."

The 737-300SF possesses a modern digital technology flightdeck and expected lower operating and maintenance costs. The new aircraft will allow Kitty Hawk Aircargo to conserve fuel, possibly open additional new markets, and begin to transition the company toward a more up-to-date, scalable aircraft platform.

In addition, Kitty Hawk will install FAA-approved FuelMizer modification kits from AvAero on each of its new 737-300SF aircraft. Kitty Hawk will be the all-cargo launch customer for the FuelMizer modification. Kitty Hawk expects to realize as much as an additional four percent fuel savings from the FuelMizer system.


12 Mar 2005 - Wedgetail Update

Daniel Cotterill, AUSTRALIA'S new fleet of six Airborne early warning and control aircraft will be a fantastic capability so far as regional air superiority is concerned, but there is a significant technology transfer bonus as well. Four of the six aircraft, known as Wedgetails, are to be converted from airliners to military radar aircraft in Australia via a process that will break new ground for local industry.

The aircraft used for conversion is a Boeing Business Jet - a 737-700 with increased gross weight fitted with wings and undercarriage from the 800 series.

The new aircraft will be flown to Brisbane, where they will be stripped down to begin the modification program.

"Stripping" includes removing the tail and engines while the entire inside of the aircraft is gutted, including the cockpit and all its flight instruments. Then, to facilitate fitting of the radar antennae, Section 46 is removed.

"Section 46" sounds fairly innocuous, perhaps the sort of minor part one might rip off the aircraft before morning tea on a good day, but its removal and the refitting of the new radar antennae support section is a serious task requiring extremely precise engineering.

Section 46 extends from the over-wing exits to the rear doors from the floor up, and to remove it all the rivets are drilled out and the various seals cracked prior to it being lifted out of place. Great care must be taken not to stress components when the pressurisation seals are breached and the aircraft must be held securely in place on a jig. It must not move or twist, even slightly - not even by a millimetre. Any movement will mean that the new section will not fit into place.

Over 500 man-years of work will be expended in converting the four Wedgetail aircraft in Australia.

Few parts of the aircraft escape modification in some shape or form. New wingtips and nose and tail cones house a range of antennae and sensors for electronic surveillance measures. The new tail cone and ventral fins are built locally by Hawker de Haviland, and the tail cone in particular is a very complex composite construction. Conversion of an ordinary 737 into a Wedgetail is not easy, but undertaking that task locally will provide Australia with much more than just a challenging work package. The transfer of skills and advanced aerospace technology necessary for the task will see local industry well positioned for other opportunities.

The 737 is a paperless aircraft, and to allow the Wedgetail conversion to take place in Australia terabytes of digital plans will be transferred here along with the necessary modelling and simulation software for complex aircraft modification.

The size and complexity of the Wedgetail program has more in common with an initial manufacturing activity than a modification and upgrade program. It is four to five times larger on a time spent per airframe basis than anything previously undertaken in Australia.

Boeing Australia will end up with a tremendous working knowledge of 737 aircraft and how to modify them. This capability will be very important for through-life support, and if any further modifications to the Wedgetails are required to cater for future communications or other systems.

The first Wedgetail to be modified locally will be handed over in November this year and the conversion program will run in Australia for three and a half years


10 Mar 2005 - Retirements lead Boeing to shuffle executives

Carolyn Corvi, who has been running Boeing's 737 and 757 programs in Renton, was named vice president and general manager of airplane production.

Mark Jenkins will replace Corvi in Renton as vice president and general manager of the 737 program. He most recently led supply management and procurement. He has worked in finance and commercial aviation services for Boeing and has more than 30 years with the company.


02 Mar 2005 - 737 to be replaced "in the next decade".

Boeing plans to overhaul its 737 family of single-aisle aircraft in the next 10 years, applying the advanced technologies of its 787 aircraft, a senior Boeing executive said Tuesday.

"One of our options we look at is to take all the learning and all the technologies involved in the 787 ... and apply all those to the single-aisle categories," Randy Baseler, vice president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, said at a news conference.

The new 787 Dreamliner long-haul aircraft, aimed at achieving high fuel effeciency, is Boeing's latest project. It is expected to enter service in 2008. Baseler said the technology developed for the 787 would more than likely be applied next "in the single-aisle area", for an overhauled version of the 737 short-haul aircraft.

Asked about a possible launch date for the new-look 737, he replied: "The market dictates timing. Probably it's somewhere in the next decade," he said, adding that the aircraft would probably have a different name.

Referring to the planned update of the 737, a short-to-medium-range aircraft, Baseler said: "We have not defined what that airplane will actually look like," adding that studies were under way.

"Right now, all that we are saying is we don't have a firm date yet, because part of that is the market dynamic - when will the customer really want it, when will Airbus do something," he said, referring to Boeing's arch-rival Airbus of Europe.

"I suspect that what it will be is not a continuation of the 737 family," he added.

The latest version of the 737, a model popular with low-cost airlines and in direct competition with the Airbus 320, dates from 1993.

Boeing estimates it will sell 14,715 units of the 737 aircraft in the next 20 years.


26 Jan 2005 - First 737 rolled out without eyebrow windows

Boeing this week rolled out its first 737 without eyebrow windows, the four small windows above the front windshield. In the past the eyebrow windows helped provide better crew visibility, but today's advanced navigation systems have made those windows obsolete. The design change reduces airplane weight by 20 pounds and eliminates approximately 300 hours of periodic inspections per airplane. Retrofit kits to cover eyebrow windows will be available mid-2006 for the in-service 737 fleet.

The first eyebrowless aircraft was 737-700, N201LV, L/N 1650, first flown on 3 Feb 2005 and was delivered to Southwest 16 Feb 2005.


04 Jan 2005 - 737-200F collapses on runway at Banda Aceh after hitting Cows.

A 737-200F operated by TRI-MG has blocked the runway at Banda Aceh airport this morning after hitting cows on the runway. The military says the engine and landing gear are badly damaged and without heavy lifting equipment, the airport remains closed to fixed-wing aircraft.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force has been called in to use their Chinooks to "float" the aircraft off the runway using airbags.


28 Dec 2004 - Future of 737 Looks Strong

In June, Boeing won a stunning victory over Lockheed Martin and gave Renton a new lease on life. The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing a contract to develop an anti-submarine ocean prowler based on the 737 airframe.

On other military programs, commercial jets are typically modified at defense-oriented plants outside Washington state. But the Navy's 737s will be modified on a new, dedicated assembly line in Renton. Boeing will produce seven test aircraft under the initial development contract, worth $3.9 billion. If that's successful, the program is potentially worth more than $40 billion in sales to U.S. and overseas military.

The upshot: The Boeing plant at the southern edge of Lake Washington, previously scheduled to wind down perhaps as early as 2012, will be pumping out 737s for perhaps another 25 years. In addition to securing the 737 production jobs, already the Navy program has added almost 450 high-tech engineering jobs in Renton.

On the commercial side, even though U.S. jet sales remain badly depressed — with several carriers including Delta, United and US Airways in serious financial trouble — the worldwide market has finally recovered. For the first time in four years, Boeing's orders are up over the previous year. Internal documents show Boeing plans to increase the monthly 737 production rate from 17 to 21, the 777 rate from three to four and the 747 rate from one to 1-½. By 2006, as many as 28 of the 737s could be rolling out per month. Boeing declined to comment on the internal numbers.


12 Nov 2004 - RAAF Wedgetail AEW&C project sets records.

By Steve Creedy, the Australian.

ONE of Australia's most complex aircraft modification programs is on track to move to Queensland's Amberley RAAF base late next year after a promising run with the first two planes.

The RAAF's Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system is making a name for itself as one of the rare military projects to run on time, or ahead, of schedule.

The world's first Boeing 737-based AEW&C aircraft has broken records at the US aerospace giant for flight testing since it took to the air in May with about double the per day sortie rate of similar programs.

A second plane is undergoing an extensive refit at a hangar at Boeing Field in Seattle with installation of mission equipment due to start this week and testing to get under way next month.

"The plane has performed extremely well during all that time," says Boeing 737 AEW&C programs vice-president Patrick Gill. "And even better than that, we haven't had any nasty surprises with the aerodynamic characteristics that we predicted out of both the wind tunnel and the computational fluid dynamics."

The good news from Seattle means modification of the final four aircraft at Amberley in Queensland, expected to create 150 to 170 jobs, is expected to begin on time in December next year.

The federal Government in June this year made what is generally regarded by defence experts as the sensible decision to buy two more options for about $180 million. That decision paved the way for the extensive 20-month modification program being undertaken on the first two planes in the US to be done in Australia.

The modifications essentially gut a 737-700 commercial airframe, replacing and reinforcing an entire section so it can support the aircraft's distinctive multi-role electronically scanned array (MESA) radar, designed to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously to help the crew direct fighter aircraft.

The modifications involve rewiring the entire plane, adding defensive measures, shoring it up against electromagnetic radiation, installing more than 60 new antennae and adding extra fuel tanks that give the aircraft a range of 3500 nautical miles.

As the launch customer for 737-based AEW&C aircraft, Australians are already playing a key role in shaping the project's future.

Defence Materiel Organisation deputy chief executive Norm Gray has a team of more than 40 Australians in Seattle working closely with Boeing.

Australia has already asked for modifications which include a fuel jettison system which have been taken up by the program's other buyer, Turkey. The system allows fuel to be dumped in the case of an aborted take-off, avoiding the problems of a heavy landing, and has been deemed an enhancement that would also benefit potential future customers such as South Korea, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Spain.

"It's actually a change that will benefit the Commonwealth in terms of some increased Australian industry involvement over the life of the program," says Boeing's Mr Gill, referring to contract terms that allow Australia to benefit from changes it specifies and are subsequently marketed to other customers.

Air Vice Marshal Gray sees Wedgetail as bringing a huge amount of capability, not just to air defence but to support ground forces and the maritime fleet. "Of course it was a risky program when we went into it and that drove a number of the decisions we made early," he says.

Among those criteria was the need for a prime contractor with experience with airborne warning and control aircraft with whom Australian defence experts could partner.

According to Air Vice Marshall Gray, the decision to work closely with Boeing as a partner has seen differences between the parties resolved more quickly and meant Australian personnel gain valuable experience before the aircraft go into service.


12 Oct 2004 - Boeing Electronic Flight Bag Available for Retrofit on BBJ

Boeing is making its industry-leading Class 3 Electronic Flight Bag available for retrofit on Boeing Business Jets, giving BBJ operators the chance to make unsurpassed gains in safety, security and efficiency.

The Boeing EFB contains the documentation and forms that pilots carry – Jeppesen charts, manuals for fault reporting and operations, minimum equipment lists and logbooks – in digital format, and puts them at the crew's fingertips. It is the only fully integrated, FAA-certified EFB available on the market today.

EFB includes an on-board performance tool that allows the pilot to instantly calculate the ideal speed and engine setting for an aircraft, in any weather, on any runway – or any runway section – with any payload.

In addition, the EFB includes the award-winning Jeppesen Airport Moving Map application, which combines high-fidelity, geo-referenced airport taxi charts and precise navigational signals to show flight crews exactly where they are on the surface of an airport. It also gives flight crews a viewer for cabin surveillance systems, helping meet new and anticipated regulatory requirements.

Boeing is offering an avionics-installed "Class 3" version of the EFB comprising Jeppesen software and data, and electronics and display hardware from Astronautics Corp. of America . Boeing Commercial Aviation Services will design the installation on BBJ and handle all certification issues.

Boeing received U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification for its Class 3 EFB in October 2003, when the first commercial unit was delivered to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines on the carrier's first 777.

Installation of an EFB will give BBJ operators a first step into the future of the e-enabled air transport system. Boeing is offering content, applications, and services that connect all the data generated by an entire flight operation – in the air, on the ground and in the hangar – meaningful to all users: pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, operations departments and airport users – and other potential customers.


14 Sep 2004 - Algeria air crash due to human, technical error

ALGIERS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Human and technical error caused an Air Algerie Boeing 737 to crash in the Sahara desert last year killing 102 people, an official inquiry into Algeria's worst air disaster showed on Tuesday.

The state-owned plane had been heading for Algiers on the Mediterranean coast when it crashed near Tamanrasset, 1,920 km (1,200 miles) from the capital in the far south of the country last March. Some French nationals were among the dead.

"There are three key reasons behind the crash - losing the engine during takeoff, failure of the wheels to fold in, and the pilot being unaware of engine problems (before takeoff)," Hasane Afane, head of the government commission, told a news conference.

He gave no explanation as to why the left engine fell off, nor why the wheels did not fold back into the Boeing body, but Afane said the pilot failed to check the engines prior to departure.

The commission called for more training for Algerian pilots, particularly on emergency situations. It said French and U.S. experts were also involved in the investigation.

Initially, the commission believed the crash was due to an engine glitch.


13 Sep 2004 - Boeing Hikes 737 Prices

Boeing Co. has raised catalogue prices on its aircraft by 7% to reflect inflation. The list prices, last updated in 2002, are a guide for industry analysts, the media, and the public to use as estimates for order values. Airlines usually don't pay list prices. The new price for Chicago-based Boeing's 737, its most popular plane, is $44-$74 million; depending on maximum range and number of seats, up from $41-$68.5 million in 2002. "The increase was just producer price inflation, and it's consistent with what others in the industry have done," says spokesman Todd Blecher. The new prices have been posted on the company's Web site.


18 Jul 2004 - SilkAir 737 PCU Servo Valve Found

THERE'S nothing left of the SilkAir Boeing 737 that went down in Indonesia in 1997, except for one little piece.

All 600kg of the salvaged parts, save the servo valve, were destroyed by Indonesian Customs last August. They had been sitting in a warehouse since 1998.

And it was by a stroke of luck that aeronautical engineering expert Frederic Wilken found the valve, a component in the Boeing 737's power control unit that controls the rudder's movements.

Defects found in the cylindrical shaft - 2cm in diameter and about 30cm long - helped the Los Angeles law firm Lipscomb, Engstrom and Lack convince a Californian jury that the valve maker Parker Hannifin was responsible for the crash.

The law firm engaged Mr Wilken to find the valve because 'no one would tell us where it went after it was inspected in May 1998,' said lawyer Walter Lack.

The four-month search that began last November was the 'most frustrating' he's taken on, said Mr Wilken, 57, who has investigated more than 700 aircraft accidents in the last 30 years.

Before he touched down in Jakarta, he was confident he knew where it was.

From calls he had made, he learnt that the wreckage was in a warehouse for goods that did not get through Customs.

The warehouse was searched, but the crates weren't there.

Mr Wilken was six weeks into the search when he learnt that they had all been destroyed months earlier.

'That was one of my low points,' he told The Sunday Times from Jakarta, where he is investigating two more plane crashes.

His only hope rested in the Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) investigators who handled the probe back in 1998.

Two weeks went by before he received a phone call that saved the day.

'An NTSC investigator who was helping me was yelling and laughing. He said another investigator who was involved in the probe seven years back had actually locked the servo valve in a safe in the NTSC office.

'He felt it was too important to leave it with the rest of the plane's remains!'

Mr Wilken then met twice with the NTSC to persuade its officials to let him take the valve to the US where experts could run tests on it.

They agreed only a day before he was due to leave for home. He scrambled to get air tickets for the two Indonesian officials appointed to carry the valve to the US.

But hours before the plane was to leave for Singapore en route to Boston, one of the two said he couldn't go, because a meeting had come up suddenly.

'By this time, I'd given up. I left the next day and told the investigator that if he gets there, call me,' he recalled.

Three days and many cancelled and delayed flights later, the Indonesian investigator finally arrived in the US, carrying the valve in a sealed cardboard box.

The next day, experts concluded that it did indeed have 'chip-outs' and numerous burrs that could have interfered with the smooth operation of the valve.

Mr Wilken's job was done. He then took a two-week vacation in the Caribbean.

Till today, he hasn't laid eyes on the servo valve.

'Not once! I just hoped it was there and that it was the right piece.

'Thank goodness it was!'


13 Jul 2004 - Anti AG missile system tested on IAI ELTA 737-200

Flight Guard, the airborne system designed to protect civilian aircraft from surface-to-air missiles, was successfully tested Monday and Tuesday over Palmachim Air Force base, Israel Aircraft Industries said Tuesday.

Its developers at IAI, Elta, and TAAS-Israel Industries are now hoping US officials will license the platform, allowing not only Israel's airliners to carry the system, but enabling Elta and its partners to market it worldwide.

Using an IAI Boeing 737-200 as the test aircraft, air force personnel launched a "virtual" SA-7 Strela (shoulder-fired) missile at the plane, which was immediately tracked and destroyed by the Flight Guard system.

"The test was a huge success and we were more than pleased with the results," Elta Systems president Israel Livnat told The Jerusalem Post. "We now await Civil Aviation Administration (CAA) licensing, and from there the FAA is expected to approve and license the system," added Livnat.

Designed originally as a protective system for combat planes, helicopters, transports, and VIP aircraft, Elta adapted the successful military version that has been installed in over 150 aircraft and been on the market for 10 years – even before a near-disaster took place over African skies.

On November 28, 2002, al-Qaida-related terrorists fired two SA-7 Strela anti-aircraft missiles at an Arkia Israeli Airlines jet as it took off from Mombasa, Kenya, narrowly missing the Boeing 757, which carried 261 Israeli passengers.

Immediately following the attack, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the Defense Ministry to assist the state-owned aeronautics concern in completing all phases of the system's testing, and its successful installation in all Israeli airliners.

Under Flight Guard's current platform, the system's radar detects approaching heat-seeking missiles, automatically deploying tiny, powerful flares in all directions from the plane's rear or sides that divert the missiles away from the plane.

However in order to garner the precious FAA license, Flight Guard's developers had to abandon the use of lit flares, opting for invisible ones designed by TAAS.

"We understood the psychological affect on passengers seeing brightly lit flares from their windows fired in all direction from the fuselage, so using TAAS's technology the flares will be invisible," Livnat noted.

Officials in Washington had presented concerns over the possibility of lit flares landing in populated areas or airport surroundings, endangering the lives of people on the ground.

"We do not expect to encounter any problems in the FAA certification process," he said. The certification will allow Israeli carriers to fly in and out of US airports using the Flight Guard system. Industry analysts expect the first El Al plane to be fitted with the system by year's end.


8 Jul 2004 - Hydraulic firm loses $44 million in verdict

Parker Hannifin, the world's largest maker of hydraulic equipment, was told by a Los Angeles jury to pay $43.6 million to the families of three people killed in a 1997 crash of a SilkAir plane in Indonesia. The Los Angeles Superior Court jury determined that defects in a rudder-control system caused the Boeing 737 to plunge from 35,000 feet, killing all 104 people aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that there were no mechanical defects and the pilot intentionally caused the crash.

"We are incredulous," said Lorrie Paul Crum, a spokeswoman for Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin, who said the company will appeal. The jury assigned the entire responsibility for the crash to Parker Hannifin, rejecting the option of apportioning any fault to Silk Air or Boeing, which manufactured the 10-month-old 737.


15 Jun 2004 - 737 MMA Wins 109 aircraft US Navy Order

The Boeing Co. beat Lockheed Martin Corp. for a multi-billion dollar contract to replace the Navy's aging fleet of P-3C Orion submarine-hunters. Boeing will build up to 109 multi-mission maritime aircraft for the Navy, a contract potentially worth $15 billion over the 10-year production run, the company said.

The company won an initial $3.9 billion Monday to design the planes. The Navy chose Boeing's 737s to replace the existing four-engine turboprop planes made by Lockheed. For its bid, Lockheed had proposed a next-generation P-3.

The new aircraft will have enhanced surveillance and attack capabilities, expanding its role beyond anti-submarine warfare, said John Young, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, in a statement.

The Navy's existing fleet of 223 P-3s is more than 30 years old and is operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boeing's new field office in Norfolk served as a liaison between the military and corporate headquarters during the bidding process.

Now, the local office will serve as Boeing's link to the commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Atlantic, based in Norfolk, which will oversee the fleet of aircraft.

The company will produce seven test planes before the Navy places its order. Led by Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems unit, the winning team also includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Smiths Aerospace.


08 Jun 2004 - NASA Tests Aviation Turbulence Detection System

A NASA developed technology that can automatically alert pilots of potentially dangerous turbulence will make its first evaluation flights on a commercial airliner.

The idea behind NASA's Turbulence Prediction and Warning System (TPAWS) airborne radar is to give flight crews enough advance warning, so they can avoid turbulence or advise flight attendants and passengers to sit down and buckle up to avoid injury.

Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton, Va., developed TPAWS to detect turbulence associated with thunderstorms as part of the NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program. NASA teamed with Delta Air Lines, Atlanta; AeroTech Research, Hampton, Va.; and Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the in-service evaluation of a production-prototype airborne radar unit with turbulence hazard prediction capabilities.

Delta will install the TPAWS/Rockwell Collins radar unit on a Boeing 737-800 this summer. Delta flight crews will use and evaluate the technology during regularly scheduled flights in the U.S. and South America. The prototype is expected to fly for six to nine months.

Researchers from NASA, the companies involved and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will evaluate interim and final results of the turbulence prediction radar system. If the evaluation is successful, the technology may be adopted for new and existing aircraft.

"The TPAWS technology is an enhanced turbulence detection radar system that detects atmospheric turbulence by measuring the motions of the moisture in the air," said NASA's TPAWS project manager Jim Watson. "It is a software signal processing upgrade to existing predictive Doppler wind shear systems that are already on airplanes," he added.

"Delta Air Lines is always interested in evaluating new technologies that offer the potential for improved ride quality and safety for our customers and flight crews," said Ira Pearl, Delta flight operations technical support director.

Researchers have already tested TPAWS on a NASA Boeing 757 research aircraft. The TPAWS equipped plane searched for turbulence activity around thunderstorms for eight weeks. The aircraft flew within a safe distance of storms, so researchers could experience the turbulence and compare the radar prediction to how the plane responded to the encounters. After one severe patch of turbulence, a NASA research pilot said his confidence in the enhanced radar had "gone up dramatically," since the plane's weather radar did not show anything, while the same time the TPAWS display showed rough skies ahead.

Atmospheric turbulence encounters are the leading cause of injuries to passengers and flight crews in non-fatal airline accidents. FAA statistics show an average of 58 airline passengers are annually injured in U.S. turbulence incidents. Ninety eight percent of those injuries happen, because people don't have their seat belts fastened. Turbulence encounters are hazardous; they cost airlines money and time, in the form of re-routing flights, late arrivals, additional inspections and maintenance for aircraft.

The NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program is a partnership with the FAA, aircraft manufacturers, airlines and the Department of Homeland Security to reduce the fatal aircraft accident rate, protect air travelers and the public from security threats. Researchers at four NASA centers are working to develop advanced, affordable technologies to make flying safer and more secure. NASA's LaRC; Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.; Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.; and Glenn Research Center, Cleveland are working on the program.


21 May 2004 - Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft makes its first flight

A new era in Australian airborne surveillance was launched today with the first flight of the Royal Australian Air Force's new "Wedgetail" Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.

Defence Minister Robert Hill said the first flight conducted at Boeing Field in Seattle in the United States was a significant milestone in the $3.4 billion AEW&C project.

During the flight, tests were made on the Wedgetail's systems and structures. The pilots were in constant contact with test engineers monitoring the flight. After touchdown, the aircraft was greeted by Air Vice Marshal Norm Gray, head of the AEW&C program.

"The Wedgetail program is a hugely complicated undertaking, incorporating leading edge software technologies," Senator Hill said.

"To have it progressing ahead of time and on budget and with all of our capability requirements met so far is a dream come true.

"My congratulations to the Defence Materiel Organisation project team led by Air Vice Marshal Norm Gray, and to Boeing, BAE Systems and all the subcontractors who have achieved a great deal in such a short time."

Senator Hill said that the Government's high confidence in the Wedgetail project was demonstrated last week with the announcement that we would purchase an additional two aircraft, equipping Australia with a fleet of six.

Senator Hill said the aircraft would enhance Australia's combat capability through leading-edge air and maritime surveillance.

"The Wedgetail is based on Boeing's next generation 737 aircraft, which is being modified to accommodate an advanced phased-array radar and various other sophisticated mission systems ," Senator Hill said.

"The aircraft will have far more flexibility and capability than other similar platforms in service today." The RAAF's re-formed No 2 Squadron based at Williamtown near Newcastle will fly the AEW&C Wedgetail when it becomes operational. Delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for 2006.


14 May 2004 - Boeing Makes History with 1,500th Next-Generation 737 Delivery

Boeing made history today with its Next-Generation 737 family reaching 1,500 airplanes delivered sooner than any other commercial airplane model.

The milestone delivery -- a 737-800 to Indianapolis-based ATA Airlines, Inc. -- occurred six years after Southwest Airlines received the first Next-Generation 737. The Next-Generation 737 family bested by four years the previous record holder, Boeing's family of Classic 737-300s, -400s and -500s.

"This is a testament to the Next-Generation 737's efficiency and reliability; the confidence and trust the world's airlines have in it; and the efforts of our employees who design, build and support the 737 every day," said Carolyn Corvi, Boeing 737/757 programs vice president and general manager.

Vice President, Marketing, Randy Baseler, added, "We know better than any other airplane company what airlines and passengers want. That's why the 737 is history's best-selling passenger airplane and why the 7E7 will set a whole new standard for passenger comfort and airplane efficiency."

The Boeing 727 and Airbus A320 models are the only others to have delivered at least 1,500 airplanes. The A320 family, the 737 competitor, reached that mark in 13 years while the 727 did so in 16 years.

Reliability, low operating and maintenance costs, and advanced technologies such as Head-Up and Vertical Situation displays not available on competing models, are hallmarks of the Next-Generation 737 family.

Overall, Boeing has received orders for more than 5,390 737s. That's more than Airbus has for all its models. At any given time, more than 1,200 737s are flying, and a 737 takes off or lands somewhere in the world every 5.3 seconds.

The Next-Generation 737 family includes the 737-600, -700, -800 and -900 airplanes. The 737-100 through 737-500 airplanes are no longer produced.


5 May 2004 - Defects In Aging Passenger Jets Exposed

SEATTLE -- KIRO Team 7 Investigators discover cracks, corrosion and weakened metal hidden inside a growing number of Boeing passenger jets.

The problems lie along structural seams called lap joints. A fuselage is designed with overlapping sheets of metal riveted together. We uncovered at least 28 different warnings regarding flaws or defects. In 2002, a China Airlines jet plummeted into the water, killing 225 passengers. Fourteen years earlier, an Aloha Airlines 737 opened up like a sardine can, killing one person and injuring eight more.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne discovers a big new problem for Boeing, centered on "lap-joint metal fatigue". The problem is called "scoring". During assembly, workers lay a bead of sealant along this lap joint. It makes the jet more aerodynamic. A year or two flying you around and many jets have to get repainted. Powerful chemical strippers melt the sealant, so some maintenance crews have been putting on caulk then, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, have been cutting away the excess with a box cutter. That can ruin the integrity of the metal along the entire aircraft lap joint. The FAA recently grounded three passenger jets due to "scribe marks" and has identified 32 more Boeing planes with damaging box cutter-type cuts along the lap joint. "When we found this, we jumped on it right away," said FAA spokesperson Mike Fergus. Fergus says they have no idea yet how many more jets are affected by scoring. "With the contraction and expansion of thousands of flight hours, the scratch has the potential, not a guarantee, the potential of turning into a crack. That in turn may have safety factor. That's our issue. If it's safety, we're interested," Fergus said.

Scoring of some lap joints is just the latest chapter in Boeing's long battle with the design and maintenance of its riveted seams. "With that type of structure, whatever is occurring between the two sheets is not readily visible," said Earl Brown, a certified jet engine and airframe mechanic. Brown says the FAA has been warning airlines to inspect -- and re-inspect often -- the lap joints of thousands of still-operating older model Boeing jets. "If we can catch a problem when it's still just a crack and fix it, then we don't have to worry about something coming apart, breaking. The potential for breaking is there if a crack develops. It's pretty much inherent in the design of the airplane and the materials used," Brown said. The scoring issue has been kept quiet until now, but other huge maintenance nightmares include hundreds of previously "patched" or repaired planes.

An Airworthiness Directive says new inspections are necessary to find "premature cracking of certain lap joints, which could result in rapid decompression." Spotting fatigue in the lap joints on the outside of an aircraft, through the paint, is nearly impossible. So here's what the airlines have to do: They have to bring the jet into a hanger and gut the interior. That can cost more than $1 million.

The super-high cost of that "D-check" inspection is hardly an incentive for airlines to look really hard for trouble spots. For example, KIRO Team 7 Investigators uncovered an Aviation Safety Report filed by a mechanic last year. He reported his company ignored a potentially deadly safety problem saying, "A B737-200 had water leaking on passengers and inspectors found all fuselage lap joints leaking excessively." Despite that, the mechanic says the supervisor "told me to get off the ACFT and not to check any laps. This ACFT had to go."

Independent aviation robotics engineer Henry Seemann doesn't look at a Boeing 737 like the rest of us. We view them as a whole. He sees them in tiny parts, up close, one rivet at a time. And what he sees should make all of us a little nervous: cascading metal cracks, loose shear clips, corroded lap joints and tiny cuts in the metal. Halsne: "Are there times when you walk up to a plane and think, 'I don't know about this one?'" Seemann: "Yes, I've had my moments of certain airplanes when I've looked at them and actually booked a different flight." Seemann invented a machine, currently used by Boeing itself, that automatically inspects lap joints. The robot could save the industry billions in early maintenance because it takes just a few days to computer map and analyze lap joint flaws. Current methods take a month.

Despite the potential cost savings some airlines are telling Henry don't get that thing near our passenger jets. "There's a requirement that if you know something is wrong with your airplane, you're supposed to fix it. It's a moral thing," Seemann said. "Some are afraid of that -- that their fleet is kind of old and we're going to inspect their planes and we're going to put a big red "x" on them." The Federal Aviation Administration confirms this robot design is in the final stages of approval. It could revolutionize the way we spot catastrophic metal failures - before a serious accident.

Boeing refused our repeated requests for an on-camera interview about "scoring" and other lap joint issues, but did provide us with some background on how it's working hard to fix the problems. We called Boeing again this week for a statement. While they still won't comment on past metal fatigue issues, they did say design improvements on their new line of 7E7's should take care of future problems.


5 May 2004 - Boeing denies report of 737 replacement due in nine years

By Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

A respected trade publication says Boeing has targeted 2013 for launch of a new commercial jet that would replace the narrowbody 737 and likely end production at the company's Renton plant. Aviation-industry magazine Flight International reports in its latest issue that a Boeing preliminary study to replace the 737 — dubbed the Y-1 program — is gaining momentum and that the new candidate airplane could enter service nine years from now.

If so, that would be the likely schedule for the end of aircraft production in Renton, where the 737 is assembled.

A 737 replacement jet would likely be close in design, structure and production to the all-composite 7E7 and would be assembled in Everett.

While Boeing concedes long-term studies exist, it denies any firm plan to replace the 737.

"We're always studying a variety of product strategies," said Boeing spokeswoman Sandy Angers, "There aren't any plans. We're always doing studies."

Boeing has in the past studied the eventual replacement of its entire jet family with a new product line that would have common cockpits, systems and manufacturing processes. Some insiders see the 7E7 as the first of what would eventually be three different size categories, with a 737 replacement next up.

But Angers said the market is too dynamic to predict when the time will be right to end production of what is currentlyBoeing's best-selling jet.

Boeing will deliver its 1,500th next-generation 737 next week, a milestone achieved in a record time of just six years since the revamped 737 was launched.

The schedule for launching a 737 replacement mentioned in the trade magazine does resonate with what is known of Boeing's plans in Renton.

City leaders have long been aware that once the 737 line closes, the great gray box on the south end of Lake Washington will be surplused, and Boeing will be gone.

A 2003 internal strategic-planning document obtained by The Seattle Times revealed Boeing's intention to sell its commercial operations in Wichita, Kan., and showed that the planned "future state" of Boeing's Renton facility is to sell it all — though the document mentions no time frame.

The city, in conjunction with Boeing, already has developed a detailed plan to replace the 280-acre Boeing plant with a lakeside project of mixed office, retail and residential space.

In November, the City Council approved sweeping zoning changes, clearing the way for Boeing to eventually redevelop the property.

In the meantime, Boeing has been rapidly shrinking the site toward the lake and has invested in relocating office space beside its 737 production line.

Yesterday, Boeing announced it will begin marketing an additional 46 acres of vacated land at the site, a parcel named Lakeshore Landing.

A Boeing directive obtained by The Times and dated January 2004 also authorizes vacating adjoining land on Renton Field by the end of this year.

When might Boeing leave the site entirely?

Announcing the closure of the 757 line in October, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Alan Mulally said Boeing would be in Renton "as long as the world wants 737s."

Last year, Carolyn Corvi, the head of the Renton factory, offered assurances that Boeing would stay in the city for "seven to 10 years," but insisted that she could not predict beyond that.

Adam Pilarski, an industry analyst with Avitas, said airplane manufacturers are always conducting advance engineering studies of possible future products and that the obvious next step after the 7E7 would be a 737 replacement.

Pilarski said it is not in Boeing's interest to announce early a firm intention to introduce a new jet. Such an announcement could hit the stock as investors fear the expense of development costs and an adverse impact on sales of the current jet.

"As long as you are selling the 737 Next Generation, there is no reason for you to go there," said Pilarski.

"Will it eventually happen? Obviously."


26 Apr 2004 - Pemco Inks $24M Deal with Chinese Airline

Birmingham-based Pemco Aviation Group Inc. will modify up to 10 Boeing 737 passenger aircraft for cargo duty under a new $24 million contract with China's Hainan Airlines.

"Air cargo traffic, and the resulting demand for freighter aircraft, is showing strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region," says Pemco president and CEO Ron Aramini. "Hainan is a successful company that is benefiting from this growth and an airline with which we are proud to conduct business."

Pemco, the only company approved by the Chinese government to perform such conversions, began work April 15 on the first aircraft.


18 Apr 2004 - Boeing sees Altered 737 as Sub Spy


WASHINGTON - It's a modification of a commercial plane for military use. It has a fierce competitor. It could put hundreds of people to work at Boeing Wichita. But it's not the 767 tanker. It's the 737 multimission Marine aircraft, a proposed Boeing modification of another of its popular commercial models. And it is competing for a Navy contract that would bring Boeing billions of dollars. The 737 MMA would primarily be a submarine-hunter, flying low over water to find and attack enemy subs.

For Wichita, it would primarily be a job-preserver -- if the local plant lands the work. Boeing hasn't decided where to place the project, but with 75 percent of the 737 fuselage already built at Boeing Wichita, prototype and modification work could logically take place here. If Boeing Wichita did get the work, it would mean hundreds of jobs. With enough international business, the 737's impact could even surpass the 1,000 or so jobs promised by the tanker program, which is on hold under a cloud of scandal.

The Navy is expected to award a contract by early June to either Boeing or Lockheed Martin, which made the Navy's current sub-hunting fleet. The contract could mean about 150 planes for the U.S. military, and up to that many more for foreign militaries. Neither company would comment on the size of the contract or how much money the program would cost. Boeing MMA program director Tim Norgart said he thinks Boeing is in a good position to win the contract. "I think we've offered the Navy a great offer that gives them the ability to grow and expand," he said. But some defense experts say Boeing is the dark horse; they question whether the 737 is the right plane for the job. "I don't think they've convinced the Navy" that the 737 design works as a sub-hunter, said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va., think tank that deals with national security issues.

The MMA is the latest Boeing attempt to wed commercial plane technology to military needs. The concept is simple. Take an existing plane and adapt it to military use, saving development costs and giving a proven product a new use. The lean manufacturing processes and established track record of the 737 at Boeing Wichita and in other places create "tremendous value" for the Navy, Norgart said. The 737 MMA takes a commercial 737 and gives it sensors, disposable listening devices and other special sound technology. It flies slow and low -- within 200 feet of water and at 200 mph. And it uses jet technology, a change from the fleet of turboprops used by the Navy. The 737 MMA is "a pretty quantum leap technology wise in the primary mission of this platform, which is anti-submarine warfare," Norgart said.

The winner of the contract would replace Lockheed Martin's P3 Orion, which has served the Navy for more than 30 years. The newest P3s were built in the 1980s. Lockheed has its own plans to replace the plane: a new aircraft, the Orion 21, that would have the P3 Orion's airframe and completely revamped inside parts. Norgart said that makes Lockheed's replacement candidate an untried new plane, in comparison with the tried-and-true 737. Lockheed spokesman Peter Simmons said that's not the case. "The P3 design used in the Orion 21 is a well-proven platform for this particular mission," he said. Because the plane's airframe doesn't change, the Navy's infrastructure costs will be less than for a new plane, Simmons said. And while turboprops might not seem as advanced as jets, they're the right approach for sub-hunting. "Turboprops are preferred for these sorts of uses," he said. "If turboprops are old technology, why are people trying to design new turboprop engines?"

Should Boeing get the contract, the first delivery of the 737 MMA would be in 2009, with initial Navy deployment in 2012. The Navy, as is customary, is tight-lipped about the front-runner. Thompson said Boeing faces an uphill climb in getting the contract. Boeing's basic concept of modifying commercial planes for military use "is laudable," he said. But he doubts the 737 is the plane for this particular job. Originally, the 737 "wasn't designed to fly slow and low," he said. "I don't know how expensive it will be to meet (Navy) requirements" for a plane that performs much differently than a commercial jetliner, he said.

Norgart said the 737 meets all the Navy's flight requirements, as proven by flight tests. Thompson said a better example of a commercial plane adapted to military needs is the 767 tanker. But that plane has its own problems, mainly federal probes related to negotiations between the Air Force and Boeing over the $23.5 billion deal. Thompson said a bright side for Boeing is that he doubts the well-publicized tanker woes will affect the Navy competition, which is being conducted through traditional procurement rules. The tanker program first ran into trouble because of a highly controversial leasing arrangement between the Air Force and Boeing that critics said unnecessarily added billions of dollars to the cost. "I don't see any overlap between the tanker lease and MMA," Thompson said.

Boeing, meanwhile, continues to make its case, working with the Navy until a final judgment comes. "We have been following step-by-step with the Navy through this competitive process," Norgart said.


20 March 2004 - Boeing Unveils Project Wedgetail

SEATTLE - More than a thousand Boeing workers and their families crowded into a hangar at Boeing Field Saturday to see their company's newest high flying defense system.

The first two planes from Project Wedgetail go to Australia.

The Aussie government has been working closely with Boeing for several years to develop the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C). The next generation Boeing 737-700's carry state of the art electronically scanning radar. The Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) is a steerable beam, L-band electronically scanned array able to track airborne and surface targets at the same time. Boeing's other early warning radar planes, like the AWACS technology on the Boeing 767 platform, use a mechanically scanning radar disc.

Boeing expects the 737 AEW&C to give a number of countries a low cost, high-tech solution to early warning radar needs for national defense.

"Australia is the size of continental United States," said Wedgetail Team Leader John Grubb from Australia. "This is a capability we need to enhance our air defense network. It will improve our command and control, our air capability, our combat capability and our strike capability."

Australia may buy as many as six of the planes. Boeing also has a contract with the government of Turkey and is in discussions with South Korea and Italy.

The plane unveiled Saturday will now go through a 6-month air worthiness program before it and a second plane can be delivered to Australia.


Trivia - On Sept 30, 1990, Mr R. Letchemanah used his hair to pull a 32.5-tonne Boeing 737 over 16.9m at the Sultan Aziz Shah Airport in Selangor, Malaysia. This is a world record.


19 Feb 2004 - Ryanair Gives New Meaning to 'no-frills' Experience

The no-frills experience will soon deepen even further for Ryanair passengers who already have to walk up to 15 minutes from air terminals to their aircraft because the budget airline does not provide buses. Window seats will no longer come with shades, and passengers will also not be able to recline their seats during flights as these will be non-adjustable. Those who want to put newspapers or passports in the back pockets of seats can no longer do so as there will be no pockets.

White headrests on seats will be replaced by those that carry advertisements for things such as soft drinks, coffee, sweets and car rental companies. Ryanair, which has just become the biggest cut-price airline in Europe, will save millions of pounds with its new penny-pinching ideas.

Most of the 150 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft that the airline is buying between now and 2010 will be delivered without non-essentials such as window shades, reclining seats and seat pockets.

The absence of seat pockets will not only mean savings of about £100,000 (US$318,800) on the cost of each aircraft, Ryanair will also save on cleaning the pockets after each flight. Currently, up to 50 reclining seats have to be repaired by Ryanair on each of its aircraft every year. By using non-adjustable seats, it hopes to save £1.5 million a year, as well as pay less for aircraft.

As it is, the cost of each aircraft will be reduced by about £200,000 for not having window shades. White cotton headrests also cost the company about £100,000 a year. The company hopes that this amount and much more will be recouped by using seats with advertising.


16 Feb 2004 - Meggitt Safety Systems Receives FAA Certification for Its Silicon Dioxide Engine Cables for Boeing 737NG Fleet

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Meggitt Safety Systems Inc. (MSSI) announced today that it has received Federal Aviation Administration certification of its engine fire warning system Silicon Dioxide (SiO2) engine cables for use on the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) family of commercial airplanes.

The Meggitt cables will replace the originally installed organic wire harnesses. Initial shipments of the state-of-the-art product has begun by MSSI for installation into the hot sections of the CFM56-7 engines by the launch customer. This new cable eliminates the need for frequent maintenance required to replace the organic cabling and offers extensive life cycle cost savings. These SiO2 cables have replaced standard engine wire harnesses on MD-11 aircraft, as well as several 747-400 aircraft.

Kevin Faughnan, General Manager of Meggitt Safety Systems, said: "State-of-the-art designs, manufacturing technologies and the unique silicon dioxide dielectric make Meggitt's cable systems the ultimate in hermetically sealed, inconel jacketed cable assemblies. And because we pioneered silicon dioxide cable systems in the early 1960's and hold the basic patent, our comprehensive experience is solving numerous unique application challenges."

MSSI, a unit of Meggitt Aerospace Equipment Group, based in Simi Valley, CA., is a leading provider of Silicon Dioxide solutions for a wide variety of commercial and military aircraft. The aircraft utilization of the MSSI product represents a new application for a problem that has plagued ageing aircraft -- frequent engine wire harness failures in extreme environments.

Meggitt's cables offer numerous advantages over organic engine wire harnesses, including light weight, tight bend radius, smaller diameter, and superior mechanical durability and high-quality performance under high hazard conditions. The company has supplied more of this type of cable system than all other cable suppliers in the world combined.

MSSI has further exploited the highly reliable SiO2 cable for applications that require truly fire-proof and robust performance. These applications include, but are not limited to, nuclear safety related coaxial and multi-wire instrumentation, control and power cable systems, Appendix R fire zone cables in nuclear installations, and high temperature engine vibration monitoring systems.

The company's cables and connectors cover a wide frequency range of 0.1 to 40 GHz, and operate reliably when exposed to extremely low and high temperatures (cryogenic to +2400 degrees F), gamma radiation and high power RF conditions. The SiO2 cable will withstand vibration to 45gs on earth and 110gs in space.

Meggitt Safety Systems has supplied aerospace OEMs, including Boeing, Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier, with a variety of products since 1963. Pneumatic fire and overheat detection systems are used on virtually all Boeing aircraft models. Smoke detectors and high performance engine cables are used on several Boeing commercial aircraft types. The company also produces fire and overheat and bleed air leak detection systems for many Boeing military aircraft including the F/A-18, F-15E and the AH-64 helicopter.

Meggitt Safety Systems is a unit of Meggitt PLC (MGGT.L). Meggitt PLC, headquartered in the United Kingdom, is the parent company for an international group of companies operating in North America, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe and the Far East. Recognized for its specialized engineering skills, Meggitt is a world leader in the aerospace, defense and electronics industries.


12 Feb 2004 - Australia Decides Whether to Convert their 2 AEW&C Options.

Bargains are rare in the defence business. Over the next few months the Government has a chance to snap one up, thanks to an uncharacteristic gamble by the Prime Minister, John Howard, which is paying off. The decision rests with Howard to reap the benefits of that gamble. He must move fast.

Somewhere in Seattle, a Boeing 737 is being taken apart and rebuilt to carry a 2-tonne radar antenna, and enough computing power to run a fair-sized trading bank. It is the first of Australia's four new Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft, and it's due to fly in May. Before the end of June Australia needs to decide whether to buy another two of the same.

Until mid-year, these two extra aircraft are available under a contract option at one-seventh of the unit price we are paying for the first four. We are paying $3.6 billion for the four aircraft on order - $900 million each. We can get two more for $240 million - $120 million each. Or to put it another way, an extra 7 per cent investment will yield a 50 per cent increase in capability, from four to six aircraft.

With numbers like that, it is hard to see how the Government could decide not to buy the extra two aircraft. But last week's revision of the Defence Capability Plan makes no provision for the money needed. Odd.

Of course, there must be a story behind a bargain like this. The story goes back to 2000, when Defence asked Howard and his colleagues to sign a contract with Boeing for six or seven AEW&C. This was not just the biggest defence contract this Government has considered, it was also the most risky. It is full of new, cutting-edge technologies.

Ministers feared they were looking at another Collins submarine project - an overambitious embarrassment waiting to pounce. But they also recognised that, for once, there were good reasons why Australia should take the risk of developing a new high-technology capability, because the capability was critical to maintaining our fighting edge in the air. So the ever-cautious Howard hedged his bets. Yes, we would sign the contract, but he cut the order down to four, with an option to get two more once the project was far enough along to judge if it was working.

Now Howard has every reason to be pleased. For once, in the problem-plagued world of defence acquisition, something is going right. Lessons from the Collins have been learnt and applied in the management of the project which is on track to deliver a first-rate capability.

The two additional AEW&C are so cheap because all we need to pay for is the aircraft themselves, and the cost of fitting the systems to them. We are already buying and paying for six "mission systems" - the radars and other equipment that the aircraft carry to do their job.

Of course, no matter how cheap they are, two extra aircraft are not a bargain unless we need them. But the arguments for buying six (or even more) are very strong. They will provide the eyes and ears for our fighters in air combat, support strike aircraft on bombing missions, provide coverage for naval ships at sea, and support land forces as well.

Australia's AEW&C will also be in high demand from the US and other coalition partners as a contribution to operations beyond our shores.

Four aircraft will not be enough to do more than one of these roles at a time. An extra two aircraft would make all the difference.

At $240 million we are still talking a lot of money. But Defence can find it within its budget. Compared with the cost increases in some other projects in the new Defence Capability Plan, this is small beer. Does it make sense, for example, to allow the cost of an extra 12 trooplift helicopters to blow out from $400 million to more than $750 million, and yet not find $240 million for two more AEW&C?

Howard should be asking Defence that question, soon.

Hugh White is director of ASPI, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. These are his personal views.


22 Jan 2004 - Boeing Selects Palomar Digital Intercommunications System For 737 AEW&C Peace Eagle

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Palomar Products, Inc. announced today that they have been awarded a contract by The Boeing Company for the Mission Intercommunications Systems (ICS) for the 737 AEW&C Peace Eagle program.

The new ICS is a derivative of the system being delivered to Boeing for the Australian Defense Force 737 AEW&C Project Wedgetail. The Peace Eagle Program is for the Republic of Turkey. The program includes the acquisition and development of a new AEW&C system, which includes four 737 AEW&C aircraft and ground equipment. Delivery of the first aircraft is expected in 2007. Palomar Products has been supplying secure Intercommunications systems to Boeing since the 1970s, when the Palomar organization was part of Hughes Aircraft Company. In anticipation of the increasing demand requiring sophisticated digital communications capabilities, Palomar Products has developed a state-of-the-art audio / data distribution system -- using the latest digital signal processing and networking technology. Val Policky, Palomar Products' President, stated: "We are very pleased with this award. Palomar's forecasted production orders for this platform are significant in future years and it is gratifying to know that after three decades of being an award winning supplier to Boeing, that we will be able to continue in the decades ahead."

"Palomar's analog ICS, long recognized as an industry standard, complemented by our digital system allows me to offer customers throughout the world a fully compliant solution meeting their operational needs," states Bob Lawson, Marketing Director of Palomar Products, Inc.

Palomar Products, Inc. is a leading developer and manufacturer of secure audio and data distribution systems for military airborne and ground-based applications. Located in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, Palomar has provided TEMPEST qualified systems to customers throughout the world for over 30 years.

The Boeing Company is the world's largest manufacturer of satellites, commercial jetliners and military aircraft. In terms of sales, Boeing is the largest exporter in the United States. Total company revenues for 2002 were $54 billion.


20 Jan 2004 - 737-200 to be Sunk off Vancouver Island, Canada

Divers are planning to sink a 33m-long, stripped-down, ex Air Canada Boeing 737 at Vancouver Island to provide a new dive site.

Comox Valley Dive Association and the Artificial Reef Society are hoping their application for permission to sink the commercial airliner in 26m of water off Vancouver Island will win the approval of Environment Canada.

If given the go-ahead, the airliner will become the seventh artificial reef sunk in Canadian waters - the previous six were ships.

The Boeing 737 currently belongs to Air Canada and is kept at Vancouver International Airport. It has already been stripped to a shell and cleaned of pollutants.

A previous application to sink the airliner at Sechelt Inlet was turned down by the local authorities who were unconvinced that it would attract the levels of interest and increased business revenue that the organisers were claiming.


16 Jan 2004 - Fresh New Look Debuts in Boeing Next-Generation 737 Lavatories

SEATTLE, Jan. 16, 2004 - Boeing is introducing a redesigned lavatory for its Next-Generation 737 commercial airplanes that is more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing for passengers and easier for airlines to maintain.

A 737-700 delivered to China Southern Airlines today is the first to carry the new lavatory. Aspects of the redesigned lavatory reflect suggestions from passengers and airline operators around the world.

"We're committed to offering technical or aesthetic innovation that enhances the value of the 737 as well as the comfort and flying experience for the passenger," said Carolyn Corvi, Boeing 737 vice president and general manager. "The redesigned lavatory accomplishes both."

The new lavatory features:

  • A seat and lid damper also used on the Boeing 777, which slows the closure of the seat and lid and prevents slamming.
  • A gently-curved composite countertop that holds a larger stainless steel sink.
  • An adjustable temperature-controlled faucet that can be operated with one hand and automatically shuts off.
  • A larger soap dispenser conveniently located over the sink rather than on the countertop.
  • Brighter lighting that incorporates lightweight and efficient LED lighting technology.
  • A re-vamped venting system that produces a quieter lavatory interior.

Airline maintenance technicians will find that the restyled lavatory panels provide easier and faster access to plumbing, while improved anti-corrosion materials will lower maintenance costs. There is also a larger waste container and bigger stowage compartments for supplies.

The new lavatory complements an already passenger-pleasing cabin that provides more head room and larger overhead stowage bins. The Next-Generation 737s are the newest and most technologically advanced in their class, and continue to be Boeing's best selling commercial airplane.


12 Jan 2004 - Boeing 737-NG's Remain the Company's Best Seller in 2003

The Boeing 737 in 2003 remained the company's best-selling commercial airplane, propelled by strong demand from the world's low-cost airlines.

The Next-Generation 737 models (737-600/-700/-800/-900) accounted for 86 percent of the 239 Boeing commercial airplanes ordered last year. The Next-Generation 737s have annually been Boeing's best seller since entering service in 1998.

Demand from low-cost airlines such as Southwest Airlines, Ryanair, WestJet and Virgin Blue underpins the 737's popularity. The Next-Generation 737s have received 56 percent of orders from that market segment during the past five years, nineteen of the 24 low-cost airlines operate only 737s, and 92 percent of airplanes flown by low-cost carriers are Boeing 737s.

"The 737 aircraft produced the best results for Virgin Blue and more importantly our guests," said Brett Godfrey, chief executive officer of Brisbane-based Virgin Blue. "The 737 is the proven leader for low-cost airlines around the world, and it has been a key factor to the success of Virgin Blue."

The Next-Generation 737s are the newest and most technologically advanced in their class, offering new flight-deck technologies such as Head-Up and Vertical Situation displays that aren't available on competing Airbus models. In addition, the modern 737s provide exceptional economics through lower fuel burn and maintenance costs.

"The 737's design, reliability, fuel economy, and quick turn-around times, all of which contribute to low operating costs, make it the low-cost airlines' airplane of choice," said Carolyn Corvi, Boeing 737 vice president and general manager. "It allows those carriers to provide cost-conscious travelers with the value they want."

Since 1998 air carriers have ordered more than 2,240 Next-Generation 737s. Overall the 737 family is the best-selling in history. About 5,400 Boeing 737s have been ordered, more than the total for all Airbus models combined.


3 Oct 2003 - FAA Is Testing Cameras Inside Planes

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal government is looking into putting video cameras on commercial flights so people on the ground could monitor pilots and passengers and get an early warning of hijackings or other trouble on board.

The Boeing Co. demonstrated a satellite system to Federal Aviation Administration officials in two test flights early this year, showing how images could be sent from a plane to the ground, said John Loynes, an FAA program manager in Washington. A Boeing 737, equipped with seven cameras, transmitted images of the cockpit and cabin.

Pilots have fiercely opposed efforts to put cameras in cockpits as an infringement of their authority. Passenger advocates have supported cameras as a way to prevent terrorist acts.

FAA officials stressed that the tests, conducted in January and February, were preliminary. There will be further tests and the agency is far from deciding whether or how to use the technology, said Marcia Adams, an agency spokeswoman.

About 20 federal and Boeing workers, most of them engineers, were on board the round-trip flights from Seattle. Federal air marshals also tested Boeing technology that allows the use of hand-held devices to transmit video and to speak with and send data from the air to workers on the ground, Loynes said.

One camera showed the pilots from behind, one was in first class and the others showed the rest of the passenger area. Workers on the ground, at Boeing offices in Seattle and in McLean, Va., could choose which camera view to look at by touching a computer screen, said Joseph J. Tedino, a Boeing spokesman.

Loynes described the tests as successful, with a few glitches in which video images were briefly garbled.

"There were no insurmountable problems,'' he said.

The tests were part of Boeing's 2002 contract with the FAA to test various security technologies.

Boeing officials discussed the technology at a recent security conference in New Orleans. The city of Denver uses a similar video system to monitor part of its public transit system.

For more than a decade, the FAA has considered various plans to put video cameras in airplanes. In 2000, National Transportation Safety Board officials pushed a plan for cockpit cameras, saying they aid air crash investigators.

The proposal was dropped after stiff opposition from pilots, who were concerned that cameras could lead to a dilution of pilots' control over decisions made during flights. Pilots said workers on the ground could misinterpret video images and give orders based on incomplete information.

But advocates for air passengers say cameras would make air travel safer by preventing terrorism and hijackings.

David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association, said cameras would allow officials to assess the seriousness of a disturbance in the cabin. Officials on the ground could then talk about the problem with the flight crew members, who could learn about the situation without having to leave the cockpit.

"In the old days, one of the flight crew could come out and check things out, but they can't do that anymore,'' Stempler said. "These days, we want to keep the cockpit impenetrable to terrorists or hijackers.''


27 Aug 2003 - AEW&C Mission Simulator to be Used in Australian Exercise

AIR Force officers will get an early look at their new eye in the sky next week, with a computer simulation allowing the yet-to-be-built Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) capability to be put through its paces at an exercise.

Next week's Armchair Warrior exercise in Adelaide will run Boeing's 737 AEW&C aircraft through realistic Australian-scenario missions using locally-developed simulation technology.

The technology will allow Defence to try out the 737 ahead of the expected delivery of four of the high-tech aircraft in 2007-2008 as part of its Wedgetail AEW&C capability.

Developed jointly by Melbourne software firm Kesem International and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, the BattleModel Wedgetail Capability Modelling Environment (WCME) allows crews to get a hands-on view of the new aircraft.

"They will know how to use the capability when it's delivered," said Kesem technical director Gil Tidhar. "The same simulation environment is designed to support all three stages of the project."

The BattleModel software is already turning heads in the US, Europe and Asia following its use in the selection and implementation of the Wedgetail project. Used to select the successful technology and currently in use to trial the technology in real-life scenarios, the simulator will eventually be used to simulate maintenance and upgrade work on the aircraft.

Mr Tidhar said the WCME had already attracted interest overseas.

"We have looked at it for export overseas, and there has been a lot of defence-related interest from the US, Europe and Asia," he said. "The technology can also be applied to other areas, like the P3C Orion." The WCME runs on Windows and Linux.

Kesem - which also provides simulation technology for doctors - is based in Melbourne and has offices in Adelaide and Israel.


11 Aug 2003 - Boeing to test fuel cell APU on 737.

Don't hold your breath but Boeing expects to start flight tests of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) APU in 2005. The SOFC uses jet fuel as the reformer in the proton exchange membrane to give a 440kW APU that is 75% efficient compared to the conventional 40-45% efficient APU's. This would give a typical fuel saving of 1,360t for a 737 over a year. It is actually a hybrid gas turbine / fuel cell due to the sudden surges in demand eg engine starts and gear retraction etc. The SOFC will use air from a compressor passed through a heat exchanger for its gas turbine section.

A potential drawback is that it has a 40min start-up time, so it would have to remain on for the whole day and depending upon its noise levels this could be a problem at airports which require the APU to be shutdown during the turnaround.

The technology for the SOFC APU to replace the current APU is not likely to be available until at least 2010.


31 Jul 2003 - Jack Steiner, co-designer and patent holder of the 737 dies aged 85.

John E. "Jack" Steiner, known as the "father of the 727" for his role in designing what was once Boeing's best-selling commercial jet, is dead at 85. Steiner, who also helped design the Boeing 737, which supplanted the three-engine 727 as the best-selling jetliner in aviation history

Known for working such long hours that he had both a day secretary and a night secretary, Steiner helped design the PBB-1, a float bomber; the B-29 Superfortress, 707, 727,737 and 747.

A Seattle native, Steiner earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering at the University of Washington and a master's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but that field was not his first choice. "His first love was boats. He wanted to design boats," Boeing Co. historian and archivist Michael Lombardi said. "The airplane business was booming, and there was a lot more work for airplane engineers."

Believing Boeing needed a smaller model than the 727, he and Joseph Sutter designed the two-engine 737 to which he held the patent. Steiner didn't care much for being called the "father of the 727" because he viewed airplane building as a team effort, but Sutter said the term was apt. "He was really the engineering spark plug behind the 727," said Sutter, who went on to become chief designer of the 747, "not only to develop the airplane but to work with the management to get it offered out to the airlines and inspire them to buy it.

"He was really the main guy on developing the airplane and pretty much the same thing on the 737. Especially on the 727, he was the guy that gave it the push and made sure everything happened." Years later, though, when Boeing was considering a three-engine version of the 777 and airlines showed little interest, Steiner was quoted as saying, "Three engines? That's the optimum worst!"

He retired in the mid-1980s as corporate vice president and chairman of the aeronautical policy review committee.

For a description of Jacks design work on the 737 see History & Variants page.


13 Jun 2003 - Boeing Next-Generation 737 Fleet Reaches 10 Million Flight Hours in Record Time

The worldwide fleet of Boeing [NYSE: BA] Next-Generation 737s this week surpassed 10 million flight hours, a feat equal to one airplane flying more than 1,141 years nonstop. The world’s fastest-selling airplane family is the first and only commercial jetliner to reach this milestone in record time -- five short years.

The newer 737 family, which includes the 737-600, 737-700, 737-800 and 737-900, entered service in 1998. Since then, it has logged almost half the hours accumulated by its aging competitor, the 16-year-old A320.

"This milestone is a tremendous achievement for the newest 737s," said Carolyn Corvi, 737/757 vice president and general manager. "It underscores the durable and efficient design of the 737, and the value the airplane brings to our airline customers."

Although the current and earlier 737 models (737-100 through –500) share the same name, there are key distinctions between the two families. The 737-600/-700/-800/-900 models incorporate an advanced wing design and blended winglet technologies that help increase fuel capacity, efficiency and range.

The new 737s also offer leading-edge display and flight-management software that reduces flight delays and enhances safety and flight-crew efficiency. Examples of these technologies include Head-Up Display, which provides pilots with "eye-level" flight and safety information, and the recently certified Vertical Situation Display, which shows the current and predicted flight path of the airplane and indicates potential conflicts with terrain.

Powered by new CFM56-7 engines produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma of France and General Electric Company, the newer 737s meet community noise restrictions well below current Stage 3 limits and below expected Stage 4 limits. The engines also provide lower fuel burn, lower maintenance costs and lower overall cost of ownership compared to the CFM56 engines powering the 737-300/-400/-500 series.

"The success of this program has been overwhelming," said Pierre Fabre, president and CEO of CFM International. "We are honored that Boeing and the airlines made us such an integral part of this team, continuing to put their confidence in our people and our product. Through the Working Together Team, we’ve been able to develop and refine an airplane/engine combination that provides exceptional reliability and operating economics for our customers."

More than 1,300 Next-Generation 737s are in service today. As of April 2003, the newer 737s have won orders for 2,080 airplanes.


6 May 2003 - Boeing Business Jets Names Lufthansa Technik An Authorized Service Center and Warranty Repair Facility

Boeing Business Jets today signed an agreement with Lufthansa Technik that designates the company as an authorized warranty repair facility and service center, providing Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) operators another service option in Europe.

The contract allows Lufthansa Technik to perform warranty work on the BBJ on behalf of Boeing. In addition, the Hamburg, Germany-based company will provide other maintenance, repair and overhaul services as required.

The agreement was announced ahead of the third annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva. A BBJ is on display at the show, which runs May 7-9 at the Palexpo convention center adjacent to the Geneva International Airport.

"With extensive experience both inside and outside the cabin, Lufthansa Technik can provide BBJ operators with nose-to-tail service," said Lee Monson, president of Boeing Business Jets. "We’ve worked with Lufthansa Technik for a number of years and are pleased to further that partnership."

Lufthansa Technik, a skilled VIP interior completion center, has wide-ranging experience maintaining Boeing Next-Generation 737 airplanes – the model that the BBJ is based on – for operators around the world. The company has installed interiors on 10 BBJs, including a number of the NetJets BBJs, and two BBJ 2s. One BBJ and two

BBJ 2s are currently in work at Lufthansa Technik‘s 172,000-square-foot (16,000- square-meter) Hamburg facility.

August Henningsen, chairman of the executive board at Lufthansa Technik AG, said the agreement with Boeing Business Jets is another example of the working relationship between the two companies.

"That relationship has led to establishing new milestones in BBJ interior completions, and we anticipate the same result in this latest agreement," Henningsen said. "As an authorized service facility we further expand our portfolio of services for BBJ operators."

With the addition of Lufthansa Technik, BBJ operators can chose from three locations in Europe and two locations in the United States for authorized service and warranty work. Those include: Associated Air in Dallas, Tex.; DeCrane Aircraft Systems Integration Group (PATS) in Georgetown, Del.; and Jet Aviation in Basel and Geneva, Switzerland.

Boeing Business Jets is a joint venture with General Electric launched in July 1996 to respond to market demand for a larger, more capable business airplane that can fly more than 6,000 nautical miles. The versatility of the BBJ, a version of the Boeing 737-700, allows owners to create a unique environment tailored to their specific needs and seating requirements – whether it’s for eight or 100 passengers – for private, corporate, or charter use or for government transport. There are more than 60 BBJs in service worldwide.


25 Feb 2003 - Boeing talking with airlines about new 737-900X

SEATTLE (AP) -- Boeing Co. is talking with several airlines in Europe and Asia, looking for a launch customer so it can bring out a new version of the 737-900 jet.

The proposed plane, known as the 737-900X, could carry as many as 220 passengers and would target competitor Airbus' A321 jet. Airbus' jet can carry that many passengers and has been popular with European tour operators.

"This plane will bring us into direct competition with the Airbus A321," Kenneth Hiebert, regional director of product marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "It will give us head-to-head competition."

Design changes -- including adding two emergency exit doors just behind the wings -- are key to helping the plane carry more passengers. Safety regulations limit the current 737-900 jet to no more than 189 passengers.

Boeing has long been talking with airlines about a 737-900 that could carry more passengers and travel as far as 2,770 nautical miles.

"We are talking to customers who are very interested in the plane," Hiebert said. "I can't say if something is imminent or not, but our hope is sooner rather than later."


28 Jan 2003 - Boeing Delivers New Leading-Edge Technologies for the 737

Boeing today delivered leading-edge display and flight-management software for the 737, the world's best-selling airplane, that promise to reduce flight delays and enhance flight-crew efficiency.

The new flight-deck technologies are the Vertical Situation Display (VSD), Navigation Performance Scales (NPS) and Integrated Approach Navigation (IAN).

The Vertical Situation Display shows the current and predicted flight path of the airplane and indicates potential conflicts with terrain.

The Navigation Performance Scales minimizes flight delays and increases airspace capacity by allowing the airplane to navigate through a narrower flight path with higher accuracy.  NPS uses vertical and horizontal indicators to provide precise position awareness on the primary flight displays.

The Integrated Approach Navigation enhances current airplane landing approach capability by simplifying pilot procedures and potentially reducing the number of approach procedures pilots have learned in training.

"These new features enable Boeing to continue its leadership role in offering technology that brings value to our customers and makes the 737 the most capable airplane in the world's single-aisle market," said Carolyn Brandsema, 737 chief engineer.

The three features were part of a suite of new and emerging flight-deck technologies unveiled last year on the 737-900 Technology Demonstrator airplane.  One of the features, NPS, was certified on a Malev Hungarian Airlines 737-700, which is due to begin operating tomorrow.

Boeing is committed to providing the capabilities across its product line.  Timing will be dependent on both market interest and airplane model development plans. In addition, Boeing Commercial Aviation Services offers after-market solutions for these features on the newer 737s only.

The 737 family alone has won more orders than exists in the entire product line of its biggest competitor.  As of December 2002, Boeing had orders for 5,177 737s and had delivered to 214 operators in more than 100 countries around the world.


18 Nov 2002

The Connexion by Boeing service for commercial airlines is now less than three months away following stringent review by government agencies in each country that has the responsibility for allocating radio frequencies. To support those efforts, Connexion by Boeing has used a dedicated Boeing 737 aircraft for research, testing, validation and demonstrations to ensure the service can operate within its allocated spectrum without causing radio interference with other spectrum users. In a parallel effort, the Connexion by Boeing regulatory team has worked extensively with countries that are members of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for the
global spectrum allocation.


1 Nov 2002 - First 737 Wedgetail Rolls Out of Boeing

The first Australian Wedgetail aircraft was rolled out Oct. 31 during a ceremony at the Boeing plant in Renton, Wash. The 737-700 will be transformed into a platform for an Airborne Early Warning & Control System, or AEW&C. Modifications to the aircraft begin in 2003. Project Wedgetail is named after Australia’s native eagle.

The Australian Minister for Defence, members of the Royal Australian Air Force, The Boeing Company and its industry partners celebrated today as the first Project Wedgetail aircraft, a Next Generation 737–700, rolled off the factory line during a ceremony in Renton, Wash.

The plane is one of four that will be transformed into an Airborne Early Warning & Control, or AEW&C, system for the Commonwealth of Australia under a program called Wedgetail in honor of Australia’s native eagle. Both Australia and Turkey have signed billion-dollar contracts with Boeing Integrated Defense Systems to develop AEW&C systems. AEW&C is part of Boeing’s vision for an integrated battlespace where real-time information is quickly and simultaneously accessible to aircraft and forces and commanders on the ground, at sea and in the air.

Patrick Gill, Boeing vice president of 737 AEW&C programs, said, “The rollout is the latest in a series of major Wedgetail milestones achieved on schedule. They include design reviews of the state-of-the-art Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array radar, the airborne mission system, identification friend or foe, electronic support measures, electronic warfare self protection, navigation and communication systems.

“Boeing looks forward to continuing this progress as we move toward modifications of the aircraft and flight testing next year. Our thanks to Boeing Commercial Airplanes for building this state-of-the-art aircraft while keeping to its quality, cost and schedule commitments for Project Wedgetail.”

Air Vice Marshal Norm Gray, head of Australia’s Airborne Surveillance and Control Division, said, “Production of aircraft number one ahead of the contracted schedule reflects well upon the work of the combined Boeing and Commonwealth team. Australia looks forward to employing the versatile Wedgetail system as a key element of its upgraded surveillance system.”

Following the completion of delivery and flight test activities, the plane will fly to Delaware in January for installation of auxiliary fuel tanks, which should take approximately eight weeks. It will then fly back to the Northwest where crews will modify the plane at the Boeing Military Flight Center in Seattle. The modifications include installation of a reinforced fuselage section that will hold the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array radar. Provisions for the mission system equipment also will be installed. All of this is part of preparations for FAA Airworthiness Certification. Flight testing is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2003. Delivery of the first two 737 AEW&C aircraft is expected in 2006.

9 Sep 2002 - Boeing Business Jets Offers Customers New Cabin Altitude for Improved Passenger Comfort

Boeing Business Jets today announced the availability of a lower cabin altitude modification for Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) operators. The new feature will offer 6,500-foot cabin altitude instead of the standard 8,000-foot cabin, providing passengers with an improved level of comfort.

The lower cabin altitude feature, available in early 2003 from Boeing Commercial Aviation Airplanes Technical Servicesand Modifications in early 2003, will be sold as a kit that can be installed after delivery of a green airplane or as a retrofit on in-service BBJs.

"It's all about passenger comfort," said Lee Monson, president of Boeing Business Jets, at a media briefing during the 55th annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting and Convention in Orlando, Fla. "A 6,500-foot cabin means less cabin pressure change on climb and descent, as well as more oxygen in the cabin during cruise. The lower cabin altitude, combined with 807 square feet (75 square meters) of cabin area, results in the most comfortable business jet available."
The retrofit kit will include new cabin pressure controller boxes with revised software, a new cabin altitude indicator and two pressure-relief valves. Revised operations and service manuals will show new parts and the structural maintenance program. The kit can be installed by certified maintenance personnel, completion centers or Boeing. No structural changes will be necessary and no increase in maintenance will be required until the airplane surpasses 30,000 flights. The average BBJ flies approximately 225 flights per year.

A BBJ currently is on static display at Orlando Executive Airport for the NBAA show, which runs September Sept. 10-12. Boeing Business Jets also has an exhibit in the Orange County Convention Center.

Fifty-two Boeing Business Jets now are fully completed and in service, including the first BBJ in Latin America. The fleet has generated more than 38,000 flight hours to date and 16,000 flights, with 99.9 percent dispatch reliability and no major technical issues reported.

Boeing Business Jets was launched in 1996 as a joint venture between Boeing and General Electric. Designed for corporate and VIP applications, the Boeing Business Jet is a high-performance derivative of the Next-Generation 737-700. The BBJ 2, announced in October 1999, is based on the 737-800 and has 25 percent more cabin space and twice the cargo space of the BBJ. Both provide unsurpassed levels of space, comfort and utility and are backed by a global support program with dedicated field service representatives.


26 Jun 2002 - Boeing Business Jet Introduces New Era for Australian Leaders

SYDNEY, Australia, June 27, 2002 - The first Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), shown publicly in Australia for the first time today, introduces a new era of capability for long-distance international travel.

The Canberra-based Air Force 34 Squadron will operate two BBJs under a lease managed by Qantas Defence Services. Able to fly nearly anywhere in the world from Australia with only one stop, the two BBJs, in slightly varying configurations, will be used by
Australian government leaders and senior executives traveling on official business. The Australian BBJs, outfitted with a VIP cabin and business class style seating for 36 passengers, were completed by Ozark Aircraft Systems in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Approximately 200 government transport and head-of-state airplanes are in operation worldwide. More than half are large airframes - the size of a Boeing 737 or larger - and 80 percent are Boeing products. Many governments are finding the BBJ platform a valuable tool for international transport. In addition to the Australian government, the government of South Africa will begin operating a BBJ later this year. The U.S. Air Force will put its first C-40B, based on the BBJ, into service this fall. And the U.S. Navy operates a C-40A, which is based on the same platform as the BBJ, a Boeing 737-700.

The BBJ is a version of the popular Boeing 737, similar to those already in service in the South Pacific region with Qantas Airways, Virgin Blue, Air Pacific and Polynesian Airlines. The Australian Air Force's Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) airplanes, currently under development, also are sister platforms to the BBJ.

"We're honored that the Commonwealth of Australia has chosen the BBJ for its VIP transportation needs. It is also great to see the first Boeing Business Jet based in the South Pacific region," said Lee Monson, president of Boeing Business Jets. "The capabilities of this airplane make it ideal to meet the long distances facing any traveler from Australia. And because it is based on the best- selling jetliner of all time, the BBJ brings unparalleled reliability and cost-effectiveness."

The BBJ continues to meet market demand for an executive airplane that can fly passengers more than 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 kilometers) in a comfortable, spacious cabin. Fifty BBJs now are fully completed and in service. The BBJ platform is flexible enough that operators - such as private individuals, governments, corporations and fractional programs - can have a passenger seating area as well as an executive lounge, a private suite and a bedroom, if required.

Boeing Business Jets was launched in 1996 as a joint venture between Boeing and General Electric. Designed for corporate and
VIP applications, the BBJ is a high-performance derivative of the Next-Generation 737-700. The BBJ 2, announced in October 1999, is based on the 737-800 and has 25 percent more cabin space and twice the cargo space of the BBJ. Both provide unsurpassed levels of space, comfort and utility and are backed by a global support program with dedicated field service representatives. 


10 Jun 2002 - Boeing checking why part was left off wing on 737

Seattle PI -- The Boeing Co. is investigating an embarrassing lapse in its quality-control procedures that allowed a new 737 to be delivered to a Chinese airline without a part that helps move the wing flaps. The plane was delivered to China-based Xinjiang Airlines in August and had been flown, but it was not until last month that the airline discovered the part, known as a push rod, was missing.


5 Jun 2002 - Boeing sells Turkey specialized 737s


Some strange-looking airplanes have taken flight from Boeing Field over the years, and by this time next year, a 737 with a "Top Hat" could be ready to take its place among them.

The plane is a militarized version of the most popular commercial jetliner. It is designed for foreign countries that can't afford or don't need the capability of the much bigger 767 Airborne Warning and Control System planes that Boeing built for Japan a few years ago, or the 707 AWACS planes operated since the 1970s by the United States and later by NATO.

After about 18 months of tough negotiations, Boeing signed a deal with Turkey on Tuesday for four of the 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control planes, plus options for two more. The deal is worth about $1 billion without the options.

"This is a strong vote of confidence in our platform," a tired but happy Patrick Gill, Boeing's vice president of the 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control program, said in a telephone interview from his hotel room in Ankara, Turkey.

In its business plans, Boeing has forecast an international market for as many as 50 of the 737 jets, which will be built on the same Renton assembly line as the commercial version of the plane. South Korea and Italy could be the next international customers.

The Australian military was the program's launch customer. Like Turkey, it ordered four jets with options for two more.

Gill noted that the engineering work will remain in Seattle, as will the modification work on the four Australian planes. The first of the four 737s for Turkey will be modified in Seattle, at Boeing Field. The remaining three will be modified in Turkey as part of offset agreements worth about half the value of the Turkey contract, Gill said.

The Boeing agreement with Turkey must now be approved by the State Department and by Congress.

The first of the four planes would be delivered to Turkey from 42 to 48 months after the contract is approved by the U.S. government, Gill said. The first of the Australian 737s will begin rolling down the Renton assembly line later this year, with modification work to begin in January. First flight is expected by mid-2003.

The base plane is essentially a Boeing Business Jet, which has the 737-700 fuselage with the stronger 737-800 wing to support its extra weight. The design takes advantage of technological advances that allow an airborne early-warning and control system to be mounted on a jet the size of the twin-engine 737.

The original airborne early-warning system developed by Boeing was a modified 707. In the late 1990s, Boeing built four 767 AWACS planes for Japan.

Those bigger 707 and 767 jets were needed to support a heavy rotordome that turns mechanically on top of the fuselage.

The 737 will use what's known as a phased-array radar "Top Hat" sensor developed by Northrop Grumman and mounted in a small, dorsal-like fin on top of the 737. The radar does not turn.

Boeing started looking for a smaller and cheaper airborne early-warning system about 10 years ago and decided the 737 was the right plane for international markets to keep the cost down.

A 737 airborne early warning plane costs from $150 million to $190 million, compared with about $400 million for the 767 AWACS.

Turkey picked Boeing in November 2000 to enter negotiations to supply its military with six of the specially designed 737s. Boeing and Northrop beat a proposal by Raytheon, which was offering its airborne early-warning system on an Airbus A310.

"A contract like this typically runs many thousands of pages," Gill said, explaining why it took about 18 months to complete the deal. "It takes a lot longer than people might expect. It's not like going in and buying a car from your local dealer."

One complicating factor was a financial crisis in Turkey. A number of defense procurement programs in the country were suspended. Defense funds for the 737s will come primarily from a national lottery and gambling, as well as taxes on alcoholic beverages, tobacco and gasoline.


28 May 2002 - Milestone for Boeing Business Jets: 50 BBJs now in service

GENEVA, May 28, 2002 -- The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) continues to meet market demand for an airplane that can fly passengers more than 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 kilometers) in a comfortable, spacious cabin. Fifty Boeing Business Jets now are fully completed and in-service, including the first BBJ in Latin America. The fleet has generated more than 31,400 flight hours to date and 13,800 flights, with 99.9 percent reliability and no major technical issues reported.

"We continue to see a wide range of applications for the BBJ," said Lee Monson, president of Boeing Business Jets, at the second annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva.  "The versatility of the airplane allows owners to create a unique environment tailored to their specific needs and seating requirements, whether it's for eight or 100 passengers; for private use, corporate, charter or even government transport."

The BBJ platform is flexible enough that customers can have a passenger seating area as well as an executive lounge, a private suite and a bedroom, if required. The spacious interior makes it possible for passengers to be fully productive during travel. When people spend as many as 14 hours on one leg of a flight and are expected to be ready to work on arrival, it is important that onboard facilities allow them to be productive en route, and refreshed and ready to work when they arrive.

The following are examples that highlight the many applications for the BBJ:

- A BBJ designed for medical evacuations and charter operations recently flew the farthest distance yet for a BBJ: 6,854 nautical miles (12,694 kilometers).

- An all-business class 48-seat PrivatAir BBJ will soon begin operating as a scheduled Lufthansa flight from Duesseldorf, Germany, to Newark, N.J., in the United States.

- An intercontinental VIP transport BBJ will begin to be used by South African Air Force starting later this year.

- A BBJ 2 soon will be available for charter operations through Multiflight Ltd. in the United Kingdom, the first BBJ 2 to be based in Europe.

Boeing Business Jets was launched in 1996 as a joint venture between Boeing and General Electric. Designed for corporate and VIP applications, the Boeing Business Jet is a high-performance derivative of the Next-Generation 737-700. The BBJ 2, announced in October 1999, is based on the 737-800 and has 25 percent more cabin space and twice the cargo space of the BBJ. Both provide unsurpassed levels of space, comfort and utility and are backed by a global support program with dedicated
field service representatives.


14 May 2002 - Pemco Aviation Group Starts New 737-300 Conversion Program

Tuesday May 14, 10:02 am Eastern Time
Press Release
SOURCE: Pemco Aviation Group Inc.

Pemco Aviation Group Starts New 737-300 Conversion Program

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 14, 2002--Pemco Aviation Group announced today that it has inducted its first aircraft for the new 737-300 cargo conversion program at its Dothan, Alabama facility following the recent certification of its 737-300 Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) by the Federal Aviation Administration. Bluebird Cargo, based in Iceland and lead by Chairman Einar Olafsson, has signed a contract with Pemco to be the first customer under the new certification. Bluebird is a former customer of Pemco's conversion program, having the company modify an aircraft last year as part of the STC development process.

Frank Tucci, President of Pemco World Air Services, Inc., Pemco's Dothan facility, states, "Pemco has always been a leader in the cargo conversion industry and we are very pleased to be able to carry on the tradition as we hold the only FAA-approved STC for 737-300 conversions. We are working with several potential customers and look forward to expanding our capacity to meet the needs of today's market."

Ron Aramini, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pemco Aviation Group said, "Now that we have accomplished our first goal of upgrading the 737-300 conversion program, we will be focusing on new modification opportunities such as the BAe 146 and B-757. The market is wide open for those aircraft conversions and we intend to pursue them vigorously."

13 May 2002 - Boeing 737 may be Enlisted as a Warplane

Seattle PI -- Flying off the Washington state coast recently, a Boeing 737 suddenly swooped low above the dark waters of the Pacific. When the jet was just a couple hundred feet above the waves and banking sharply, power was cut to one of the two jet engines - a maneuver that no commercial pilot would deliberately make with a planeload of passengers. But this was no commercial flight. It was a demonstration for the U.S. Navy. Boeing wants the Navy to select the world's most frequently flown commercial jetliner as a replacement for the aging fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and the EP-3C planes that gather intelligence.


29 Apr 2002 - 717 & 737 to Lose Their Eyebrows

Seattle PI -- The Boeing Co.'s 717 jetliner is about to get a face lift. And the 737 could be next. Nobody's trying to improve the look of either jetliners, which in the case of the 717 is not all that old. Rather, the issue is reducing costs, for both Boeing and the airlines. And one way to do that, Boeing has determined, is to get rid of the so-called "eyebrow" windows just above the cockpit windshield -- a feature that has been on some models made by Boeing and McDonnell Douglas since the dawn of the jet age.


20 Apr 2002 - F.A.A. Investigating 737-800 Emergency Landing

NYTimes -- WASHINGTON, April 20 - The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into an emergency landing on Thursday by an American Airlines plane. The plane developed vibrations in its tail, which had been repaired right before the flight.

Botched repairs that require emergency landings are rare, but the tail was de-iced just before takeoff, which the agency recently discovered is linked to severe vibration. The agency said Friday that it ordered that planes of the type involved in the incident fly slower on takeoff if they have been de-iced.

On Thursday, the flight bound from Reno to Chicago, was delayed two hours for repairs to the stabilizer, the horizontal part of the tail. The tail problem was discovered in an overnight inspection.

Because snow was falling at the airport, the plane was also delayed for de-icing. Shortly after takeoff, at 12,000 feet, the pilot declared an emergency because of the vibration and landed at Sacramento, which has a long runway and no high terrain in the area.

The plane, carrying 99 passengers and a crew of 6, is a Boeing 737-800. At the factory, a spokeswoman, said that some late-model 737 models had had tail vibrations because a part was not stiff enough. The company will begin installing a redesigned part this summer, she said.


24 March 2002 - Boeing Unveils Safer 737 Cyber Cockpit

The company recently unveiled the new 737-900 jetliner with cutting-edge cockpit technology during a two-hour demonstration flight over Washington state.

One of the new technologies on the aircraft, which is still considered experimental, allows pilots to see the terrain below them, even if surrounding clouds totally obstruct the view. Boeing test pilot Ray Craig demonstrated the vertical situation display (VSD) feature by steering the plane toward the side of Mount Rainier.

"I can put the airplane where I want to put it," said co-pilot Mike Carriker, showing how the high tech cabin maximizes his ability to safely navigate through the skies.

Extra Eyes for Flight Crew

Boeing packed the flying machine full of features designed to detect and predict almost any hazard found in the not-always-friendly-skies.

"We can see hills off to the left and right that are above our altitude right now," Craig said during the demo, pointing out areas otherwise invisible to the pilot and information usually not found on a standard instrument panel.

The vertical situation display continued to work on the ground in zero visibility.

"It's not very new technology," Carriker said. "It's been around for quite a while but nobody's been able to put it all together into one airplane, especially one that people are familiar with."

Some of the navigational and safety features onboard include:

  • Vertical situation display (VSD) indicates the presence of terrain in a flight path.
  • Global positioning landing system (GLS), is a new satellite-based landing system.
  • Head-up display (HUD) enhances safety by providing conformal flight path information to crews.
  • Enhanced vision system (EVS) gives pilots an accurate and clear view of all obstacles, traffic, and potential incursions at night or with reduced visibility.
  • Synthetic vision system (SVS) provides a computer-generated view of the outside world during takeoff, landing, and on the runway.

"We get the rap that we are low, you're not with the program. This dispels that myth completely," said Ken Hiebert, of Boeing product marketing. "We are jumping out ahead, the tip of the arrow."

Headed For Your Flight Soon?

Hiebert predicts the technology highlighted on the experimental 737 will be standard issue on future aircraft.

"[In] three to five years, these features are going to be embedded in Boeing technology. It's that short," Hiebert said.

The Federal Aviation Administration still considers the 737 experimental because some of the onboard systems have yet to be certified. FAA representatives will soon board the plane to see the new equipment working both in flight and on the ground.

But Boeing did not design every feature just for safety's sake.

One advance that will have homeowners that live near airports smiling is a system that senses when the plane approaches noise-restricted zones. If it detects a noise-sensitive area, the plane automatically cuts back on engine power during landing and takeoff.

Copyright 2002 TechTV, Inc. All rights reserved.


31 October 2001 - USAF Orders Aeromedical 737

Seattle Post -- The House Appropriations Committee yesterday earmarked $85 million for the purchase of a specialized Boeing 737, to be used by the Air Force for aeromedical evacuation. The provision was part of a $317.5 billion defense-spending bill that was approved unanimously by the committee.


17 October 2001 - Raisbeck Engineering's Hardened Cockpit Security System finds first home with Alaska Airline's 737 fleet

Raisbeck Engineering and Alaska Airlines today announced the installation of the first of 70 Raisbeck-designed hardened cockpit security systems for Alaska’s fleet of Boeing 737s. The system called The RAISBECK ARMOURED COCKPIT SECURITY SYSTEM, developed over the last twelve months, meets all current FAA requirements, as well as those envisioned to be implemented by April 2003. Patents are pending.

Alaska’s 737 fleet of 70 aircraft, are scheduled to be completely hardened by November 15th of this year. According to John Kelly, CEO and Chairman of Alaska Airlines, "The security and safety of our crews and our customers is paramount. After reviewing all options, we chose Raisbeck Engineering’s system because of its availability, cost, simplicity, and the fact that it meets all safety certification regulations including rapid decompression and pilot emergency egress. It is unique, elegant, and simple."

Current FAA regulations with which this system complies are:
–FAR 25.365 Pressurized Compartment Loads
–FAR 25.807 Emergency Exit
–FAR 25.809 Emergency Exit Arrangement
–FAR 25.831 Ventilation
–FAR 25.853 Compartment Interiors
–FAR 25.772 Pilot Compartment Doors
–FAR 121.587 Closing and Locking Flight Compartment Door

Additional FAA requirements will be incorporated in the next 18 months. They are already a part of the Raisbeck System and include a bullet-proof cockpit environment which meets NIJ-III (National Institute of Justice) standards, as well as increased cabin awareness for the flight-deck crew. The latter is initially satisfied by the incorporation of two 1-1/4" thick bullet-proof glass windows in the hardened cockpit door, and can be augmented by an available video system. The bulletproof cockpit door locking/unlocking mechanism is remotely operated by the flight crew from their center pedestal.

Raisbeck Engineering’s CEO, James D. Raisbeck added: "We had a head start on our system, since we realized over a year ago the day would come when an immediate need for such a cockpit hardening and crew protection would be necessary. We are gratified to be able to be making such an important contribution to airline safety. It is only sad that it had to come about as a result of the national WTC tragedy."

With the first of its Raisbeck-Equipped 737s ready for full passenger service, Alaska Airlines becomes the first United States carrier to meet the long-range Phase II cockpit-hardening regulations, currently scheduled to be required by the FAA deadline in 18 months. Raisbeck Engineering is producing 737 kits at the rate of 100 per month. It expects to be able to meet the Phase II demands of the other major airlines for its system, after completion of the Alaska Airlines fleet.


7 Aug 2001 - Ryanair swoops on weak market with ad to buy 737s

LONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Irish no-frills airline Ryanair Holdings Plc swooped on the weak market for airliners on Monday with an advertisement to buy up to 50 used Boeing 737s. The airline, which has hoarded cash to exploit exactly the sort of aircraft glut that global aviation is now experiencing, said it needed no financing. With used 737s typically valued between $13 million and $40 million Ryanair's acquisition campaign is worth something like $1 billion.
Following the formula of successful Southwest Airlines of the United States, Ryanair operates only 737s.


9 July 2001 - Singapore Airline Sues Boeing

SINGAPORE (AP) - Singapore's regional airline SilkAir is suing Boeing Co. and other aircraft parts manufacturers over the 1997 crash of a SilkAir passenger jet, a report said Sunday. A SilkAir Boeing 737 crashed into an Indonesian river on Dec. 19, 1997, killing all 104 people on board. The cause has not been determined. In the suit, SilkAir's insurer Singapore Aviation and General Insurance Company or SAGI claimed Boeing and other companies supplied a "defective" and "dangerous" commercial airplane.

7 June 2001 - Boeing Investigates Wire Sabotage at 737 Plant.

RENTON, Wash. (CNN) - Boeing Co. inspectors have discovered intentional wire damage on at least seven Boeing 737s at a company assembly plant in Renton, Wash., the company confirmed to CNN Thursday.

The damage was found during routine service testing over the past two weeks. Boeing says it notified the FAA of the sabotage Tuesday. The company also said an additional three aircraft also may have had sabotaged wiring, but evidence is not conclusive.

A 737 jet is assembled at the Boeing plant in Renton, Wash. The company is investigating sabotage of wiring on 7 jets under construction there.

There are no suspects at this time.

"No airplane is delivered until it has met rigorous testing starting with Boeing, the FAA, and the airlines," spokesman Sandy Angers told CNN. "The fact that we found the damaged wires proves our quality system works."

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is looking into the matter, but could not elaborate on details.

Boeing employs about 12,000 people at the Renton plant, where the narrow-body 737 jet is assembled along with the 757, another narrow-body jet, and the Boeing business jet.

The world's largest aircraft manufacturer announced in March that some of the 757 assembly work now done in the Renton plant would be shifted to its plant in Wichita, Kan., although the fuselages of the planes will still be shipped by rail from Wichita back to Renton for final assembly.

About 500 workers at the Renton plant are affected by the shift of work, which is to take place over the next two to three years, although the company said all the employees would be shifted to other jobs with the company and there would be no layoffs as a result of the shift.

The company is cutting jobs in the area, though, as it shifts its corporate headquarters to Chicago this summer. About half of the 1,000-person corporate staff will be cut in the move, with the other half relocating. That move shook the Seattle area, which has been associated with the company since its founding.

Last year the company saw a surprisingly bitter strike by the engineering and technical workers who inspect aircraft during and at the end of the assembly process. The strike, the first by the union to last more than a day, won support of many employees who performed the same jobs but did not belong to the union.


5 June 2001 - FAA wants old Boeing 737s inspected

SEATTLE (AP) - More than 1,000 older Boeing 737s should be inspected for potential damage from excessive vibration reported by some carriers in a backup tail control mechanism, the Federal Aviation Administration says. In one case, the vibration caused a piece of the elevator tab mechanism to break off in flight and damaged the plane, FAA officials said. The tab assembly is a backup hydraulic system that is used to move the elevators, control flaps on the horizontal stabilizer that change the up-and-down angle of the aircraft. The stabilizer resembles a small wing at the rear of the plane. A pilot would resort to the tab assembly only if the primary and secondary hydraulic systems failed, Boeing officials said. The proposal covers older 737 models that are out of production and is not intended to become mandatory for several months. Airlines have until July 16 to comment before the FAA issues an air worthiness directive that makes inspections mandatory. An FAA inspection order would directly cover about 1,080 commercial jets in the United States. Civil aviation authorities in other countries typically follow the FAA's lead in such cases, potentially affecting another 1,690 older 737s. Boeing issued a service bulletin in January 2000 recommending such inspections and follow-up checks from time to time. The FAA estimated the cost at about $1,100 per plane for the first inspection and $540 to $840 for succeeding checks. A similar problem on newer 737-600s, -700s and -800s was the subject of an FAA emergency air worthiness directive earlier this year. The problem was more critical and thus needed quicker action on the newer models because of design differences, officials said. The problem apparently is the result of parts wearing out faster than expected. ``The wear takes longer for the older (737) models, but it is still sooner than what we expect,'' Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said. An FAA statement said the agency had received several reports ``indicating high-frequency airframe vibrations of the elevator tab'' on older 737s in flight. ``In one incident, a portion of the elevator tab separated from the airplane, causing damage to the elevator tab, elevator, and horizontal stabilizer. ``In another incident there was severe damage to the airplane's elevator and elevator tab assembly. Several incidents resulted in severe structural damage to the elevator tab assembly,'' the statement added. No dates, airlines or other details of the incidents were given in the statements. No crashes or injuries linked to the problem were reported.


21 May 2001 - Boeing 737 Advanced-Technology Winglets Make World Debut

Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 advanced-technology winglets made their world debut in revenue service last week with German carrier Hapag-Lloyd Flug.

The new winglets on the Boeing 737-800 curve out and up from the wingtip, reducing aerodynamic drag and boosting performance. They add about 5 feet (1.5 meters) to the airplane's total wingspan and allow the airplane to fly up to 130 nautical miles (240 kilometers) further.


16 May 2001 - Alaska Airlines Receives First Boeing 737-900

During a festive celebration in Seattle, The Boeing Company delivered the first 737-900 to launch customer Alaska Airlines. The new airplane, posing at right with another 737-900 destined for Alaska, is the first of 11 such airplanes Alaska will receive between May and April 2003 and the first of three the airline will receive this month.

At 138 feet 2 inches, the 737-900 is the longest of the four Next-Generation 737 models and seats the most passengers. As configured by Alaska, the airplane carries 172 passengers in a two-class configuration, 52 more passengers than their 737-700s and 34 more than their 737-400s and MD-80s.


10 Mar 2001 - BOEING 737-900 IN FLIGHT TESTS

By Sebastian Steinke After 260 flying hours, Boeing's 737-900 programme manager, Jon Robinson, and his director of flight testing, John Corrigan, are extremely pleased. Flight trials of the 737-900, whose fuselage has been stretched to an impressive 42.1m, are proceeding as hoped, and despite the significantly longer fuselage as of half-way through the test programme there had been no unpleasant surprises, as the two Boeing experts explained in an exclusive interview with FLUG REVUE.

"The aircraft rotates a little more slowly than an -800, pretty much like a -400, but it flies completely smoothly and also achieves all the expected performance data," enthuses flight test director Corrigan. Fears of tailstrikes, i.e. where the tail comes into contact with the runway on take-off or landing due to the unusually long fuselage, have proved unfounded in practice. "As a precaution we have strengthened the tail skid somewhat, but up to now tailstrikes have not been a problem," explains Corrigan. "The changes in flying behaviour tend to be more subtle," he explains. "We did have a problem with vibration during trimming of the elevators, which meant we had to change the trim tab. But we have already successfully modified a component on the prototype aircraft, which will now need to be certificated for the series."

"As the fourth member of the family of Next Generation 737s, the 737-900 is already like an old friend to us," says programme manager Robinson. "The overwhelming majority of the certification data it has been possible to calculate, and during flight testing we are just finding those calculations confirmed." For this reason Boeing is using only a single prototype, with the second test aircraft already earmarked for delivery to a customer later on.

Following the maiden flight on 3 August 2000, the prototype and its production mate are required to spend a total of 438 hours in the air plus another 120 hours undergoing ground tests before joint FAA/JAA certification can be achieved as planned by the middle of March. Since January the second test aircraft, with full cabin furnishings, has therefore been supporting the flight programme for a month. In particular, it has been used for smoke alarm tests, cargo tests and to check other cabin systems.

The prototype on the other hand, crammed full of test equipment, spends most of its time attended by between 12 and 20 flight test engineers, often operating out of Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave desert of California. "For flight trials with higher levels of risk, as a precaution we often take only a basic team of eight engineers on board," explains Corrigan, adding, "while on some other flights, for example to LAX [the international airport of Los Angeles - Ed.], even customer airline crew were allowed to control and land the -900."

The extra length on the 737-900 is not the only record likely to be achieved on this programme, but, according to Boeing, the expected savings should also be of record proportions. The manufacturer is hoping that its latest offering will not only undercut the seat mile costs of the other Next Generation 737s  the 737-600, -700 and -800  but also those of the A320 family of arch-rival Airbus. If it succeeds, then the -900 will be the most economical short- and medium-range jet around. Boeing's latest "baby jet" is almost 11m (35.7ft) longer than the 31.2m (102.5ft) "short" 737-600, and can accommodate 177 passengers in a typical two-class configuration, rising to a maximum of 189 seats. With a maximum cruising altitude of 41,000ft or 12,500m, the 737-900 outdoes all its older predecessors, the 737-300, -400 and -500, as in fact all the Next Generation 737s do, in the present case by 4,000ft. And even the sophisticated A320 family cannot climb higher than Flight Level 390.

With a maximum number of passengers of 189, Boeing has reached the final upper limit for the 737, whose basic design dates from the 1960s. In those days a 737-100 carried only 103 to 115 passengers.

The 189 passengers permitted today is the maximum number able to pass quickly enough through the doors and evacuate the relatively narrow emergency exits over the wings. All Next Generation 737s are already routinely fitted with improved, automatically outwardly opening escape hatches over the wings to enable today's larger passenger complements to exit the aircraft rapidly in the event of an emergency. From the certification viewpoint, 189 seats are actually already permitted in the 737-800, which is only moderately stretched However, only in the larger -900 can they be transported in real comfort. The new aircraft offers 9% more cabin floor space, 18% more cargo space and 15 seats more than a normally configured -800.

"Even if from the structural viewpoint it were feasible to consider yet another stretch, a 737-1000, the evacuation requirements rule this out," explains Jon Robinson, adding, "Instead, we are already thinking about a possible ERX version of the -900 with a particularly long range. The -900 can be supplied today with blended winglets, if a customer so wishes. And of course we are playing theoretically with all the possible variants, for example, variants with increased take-off weights or a -900 business jet, in fact with all the growth options that are possible." However, according to Robinson, there are currently no plans to use the alluringly large fuselage for a pure freighter, although it would appear naturally suited to that role.

The main decks of the 48 aircraft which have been ordered to date will thus be carrying passengers. And their customers are certainly intent on filling 177 to 189 seats right away with fare-paying passengers. The first airline customers, Alaska Airlines, Continental, Korean Airlines and KLM, are all looking primarily to increase their short- and medium-range fleet capacity economically with their "giant babies", for all members of the Next Generation 737 family have the same cockpit, the same engines, the same wings and the same systems. They can therefore be flown by pilots with a common type rating. This means savings in training and personnel and increases the flexibility of 737 operators in the event of fluctuations in demand. Maintenance is also simplified, and already in the Boeing factory all 737 family members, in their mixed colours, roll out off a single final assembly line in Seattle. Even the -900 prototype is a product of that line.

Apart from its length, the -900 does actually have a few other differences: the cockpit is the first 737NG flightdeck to have state-of-the-art flat panel displays rather than CRTs. The screens are programmable, so that they can be made to look exactly like previous 737NG screens, which is important as far as the pilots' common type rating is concerned, or, alternatively, as in the Boeing 777, they can be easily adjusted so as to display additional information and alter the presentation. The design of the passenger cabin has also undergone a major revamp and reminds one strongly of the design of Boeing's giant twin, the 777.

Meanwhile prototype "N-737X" is flying test runs between Washington State and California. This includes at present flying different speed ranges, calculating the minimum speed on take-off and landing and ground clearance, plus flight stability tests. The next item on the test programme agenda will then be fine tuning of the autopilot, especially for range optimisation, automatic thrust control and various cruise profiles.

If certification is plain sailing as expected and all the indications are that this will be the case Jon Robinson and John Corrigan plan to then deliver their giant baby to its launch customer, Alaska Airlines, in April.

From page 24 of FLUG REVUE 3/2001


18 Apr 2001 - 737-900 gets FAA approval

BOEING CO. on Tuesday said its next-generation 737-900 received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is expected to earn validation from Europe's Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) by April 20. The certification indicates the airplane has passed the FAA's and JAA's stringent design and testing requirements, clearing the way for passenger service. The certification clears the way for the first 737-900 to be delivered to launch customer Seattle-based Alaska Airlines in mid-May. Three other airlines, Continental, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Korean Airlines, also have placed orders for the airplane. (Reuters)

20 Feb 2001 - U.S. Air Force orders C-40B jet from Boeing

The U.S. Air Force said late on Tuesday it had ordered one C-40B jet from BOEING CO. and taken options on six others in a deal that could be worth $800 million, including a 10-year support contract. In a release the Air Force said it had allocated $59 million for the single C-40B, a military version of Seattle-based Boeing's 737-700, a commercial jetliner which seats up to 149 passengers. The C-40B will carry high-ranking military and government officials "to deploy immediately on matters of national security," the Air Force said.(Reuters 06:51 PM ET 02/20/2001)

3 Jan 2001 - Navy Orders 6th Boeing Airlifter

Wednesday January 3 6:20 PM ET
Navy Orders 6th Boeing Airlifter

SEATTLE (AP) - The U.S. Navy has ordered a sixth Boeing 737-700C jetliner for use as a cargo and passenger plane, Boeing Co. said Wednesday.

The Navy is buying the 121-passenger jets, which it designates as C-40A Clippers, to replace its fleet of C-9 airlifters. No value was given for the order, but Boeing's list price for a 737-700 is $43.5 million to $51.5 million, depending upon configuration.

The C-40A can be used as an all-passenger plane, all-cargo, or to carry a combination of cargo and people.

The U.S. Naval Reserve is the first customer for the aircraft. Four of the planes will be based at Naval Air Station Carswell Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas, with the first to be delivered in April. Two others will be based at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.


14 Dec 2000 - SilkAir crash probe yields no answers

SINGAPORE, Dec 14 (Reuters) - The investigation into the mysterious crash of a SilkAir passenger plane in Indonesia in 1997, which killed 104 people, has been unable to determine the cause of the disaster an official report said on Thursday. Flight MI 185, cruising at an altitude of 35,000 feet, was en route from Jakarta to Singapore when it plunged into the Musi River near Palembang in southern Sumatra. The report by Indonesia"s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC)
released by the Singapore government, said the probe was hampered by extensive damage to the Boeing 737-300 when it crashed on December 19, 1997. "Due to the highly fragmented wreckage and the nearly total lack of useful data, information and evidence, the NTSC has to conclude that the technical investigation has yielded no evidence to explain the cause of the accident," the official report said.


Nov 2000 - Stowaway In Wheel-Well Causes Gear Retraction Problem

MUNICH, Germany (AP) - A stowaway was found hidden inside the wheel-well of a Boeing 737 that was forced to return to Munich after the pilot couldn't retract the landing gear, police said Thursday. The 27-year-old was unconscious and suffering from hypothermia when he was found Wednesday evening by a mechanic under the Berlin-bound aircraft operated by Deutsche BA. The Romanian is registered as a resident of Berlin and has been seeking asylum in Germany. It was unclear why he had stowed away in the plane. The man endured temperatures that dropped to below freezing for the 22
minutes before the plane landed again, but suffered no serious injuries. He was arrested after being examined. Prosecutors were considering charges of endangering air traffic, police spokesman Hans-Peter Kammerer said. He could also be charged with violating laws requiring asylum seekers to remain in the part of the country where they were granted asylum.


26 Sep 2000 First Boeing 737-800 Flies With Blended Winglets - Boeing

SEATTLE, Oct. 23, 2000 - German carrier Hapag-Lloyd Flug has earned another page in the aviation history books by being the first airline to fly the Boeing 737-800 with blended winglets. The test flight took place Sept. 26 in Seattle.

The flight is the latest of several significant events involving Hapag-Lloyd and the Boeing 737-800. The airline was the airplane's launch customer in 1998, with 16 orders, and it operates the largest 737-800 fleet in Europe, with 17 airplanes in service and nine more on order.

Hapag-Lloyd provided one of its 737-800s as a certification-test airplane for the blended winglet technology. This airplane is expected to go into service early next year, which will make Hapag-Lloyd the first airline to commercially fly a 737-800 with blended winglets. Additional winglets are being retrofitted on Hapag-Lloyd's current fleet of

737-800s through a contract with Aviation Partners Boeing, a joint venture that offers blended winglet technology for in-service Boeing commercial airplanes.

Unlike traditional winglets typically fitted at abrupt angles to the wing, this new advanced "blended" design gently curves out and up from the wing tip, reducing aerodynamic drag and boosting performance. Some of the performance improvements resulting from blended winglets on a 737-800 include:

  • An extended flying range of more than 150 miles.
  • Improved cruise fuel mileage of up to six-percent, resulting in nearly a five- percent reduction in gate-to-gate fuel consumption.
  • A payload increase of up to 6,000 pounds.
  • More efficient climbing while at the same time using less thrust - creating less noise and emissions, and providing lower engine maintenance costs through greater engine utilization.
  • Improved take-off performance at high-altitude airports, in hot climate conditions and at obstacle-limited airports. (The 737-800 already is well below the current environmental standards for emissions and the winglets will even further enhance the airplane's environmental performance.)

Blended winglets are offered by Boeing on new 737-800s as an option and are installed during production. For Hapag-Lloyd and other customers electing to retrofit winglets, the procedure involves removing the 737-800's wingtip and performing minor structural modifications to the wing before attaching the winglet. The modifications take about two weeks.

Hapag-Lloyd Flug is one of the leading German charter airlines serving mainly destinations around the Mediterranean, in the Canary Islands and the Caribbean. The Hanover-based airline is part of Preussag AG, one of the world's leading travel groups.


5 Oct 2000 - FAA considers order to check fuel tank wiring - Seattle Post

Thursday, October 5, 2000

FAA considers order to check 737 wiring The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed asking operators of some Boeing 737 jets to inspect a portion of the fuel-quantity measuring system for a potentially dangerous electrical fault.

The FAA said in a notice placed in the Federal Register on Tuesday that it had received two reports of wires chafed down to the conductor in the fuel-measuring system in the right main fuel tanks of the 737s.

The FAA said its proposed airworthiness directive, giving six months for the work to be done, would apply to about 800 U.S.-registered 737-300, -400, and -500 jets.

Boeing played down the safety hazard, saying there was not enough voltage in the line to pose an immediate risk. In response to 747 ignition concerns in 1997, Boeing maintained that aircraft was designed to eliminate all ignition sources from the fuel system and that even if a spark were created, the energy would not be enough to ignite a center wing tank.


4 Oct 2000 Boeing partners with BFGoodrich to convert 737 - Reuters

SEATTLE, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA - news) said on Wednesday it has agreed to form a partnership with BFGoodrich Co. (NYSE:GR - news) and InterContinental Aircraft Services to develop a passenger-to-freighter conversion programme for the 737 aircraft.

The 737 ``is the best-selling jetliner of all time and is an ideal airplane to meet the needs of the feeder and niche freighter markets,'' said Joe Gullion, president of Boeing Airplane Services.

The worldwide fleet of freighter airplanes is expected to double during the next 20 years with more than 2,600 airplanes added, Boeing said. Nearly 70 percent of the additions will come from modified passenger and combination airplanes. Boeing expects this will include about 250 737s.

Both BFGoodrich Aerospace and InterContinental, an alliance of major Taiwanese companies -- including Air Asia, China Airlines , Evergreen Aviation Technologies, and Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. -- are members of Boeing Airplane Services' international network of modification and engineering facilities.

Representatives from the three companies are jointly developing the configuration and engineering statement of work for modifying both the 737-300 and -400 model airplanes. In addition, a ``quick change'' option is being evaluated, which allows airlines to convert from freighter to passenger operations in a short period of time.


3 Aug 2000 Boeing facing fine over failing to act quickly over cracks - Seattle Post

Boeing faces huge fine

$1.24 million urged for poor supplier oversight, failure to report bad parts

Thursday, August 3, 2000


The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday proposed a record $1.24 million in fines against The Boeing Co. for inadequate supplier oversight and for failing to quickly report cracked parts on two older jetliners.

In one case, Boeing waited 415 days -- instead of the required 24 hours -- to report that an operator had found a crack in the aft pressure bulkhead of an older 737, the FAA said.

Cracks in that area, if they grow, can cause rapid decompression of the flight deck and cabin. The FAA requires immediate reporting of such damage, in order to alert airlines of potential problems that might require inspection and repair.

All the incidents occurred two to three years ago, and the proposed fines are unrelated to a recently completed special FAA audit of Boeing's quality control and manufacturing processes.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the company has taken steps to fix the problems noted by the FAA and is in informal talks with the agency that could lead to a settlement.

"We are talking to them about closing this out," said Boeing's Liz Verdier. "Whether they reduce their fine is up to them."

Should the $1.24 million in fines stand -- and that is unlikely, based on past practices in such matters -- it would be the largest in Boeing's history. Larger penalties have been levied against airlines, however.

The FAA's biggest previous proposed fine against Boeing was $392,000 in July 1999. The FAA said then that Boeing had failed to report a manufacturing defect on its 757s within 24 hours, as required. Boeing waited more than a year to notify the agency, the FAA said. Verdier said Boeing and the FAA have not yet settled the 1999 case, and the proposed fine has not been paid.

In the latest case, the FAA proposed separate penalties of $500,000 and $741,000.

The smaller of the proposed fines is for failing to report cracks in critical airframe structures within 24 hours, as required by law.

In August 1997, the FAA said, Boeing was notified by the operator of a 737-100 that three cracks had been found in the horizontal stabilizer (the winglike structure on the tail). The cracks were 1.1 inches, 2.3 inches and 12 inches long, the FAA said.

The stabilizer is a critical flight control surface, and the cracks, in a worst-case scenario, could have posed a safety risk, the FAA said.

The 737-100 is the oldest of Boeing's 737 models and was built in the late 1960s. There are only a few still flying.

Boeing did not notify the FAA of the cracks until July 1998, nearly 300 days after first learning about them, the FAA said.

The FAA also said that in September 1997, Boeing was notified by the operator of a 737-200 (a 1970s model) that a 3.5-inch fatigue crack was found in the aft pressure bulkhead. Boeing waited until late November 1998 to notify the FAA.

There are more 737-200s flying than 737-100s, but few are still in operation in the United States.

In both cases, Verdier said, Boeing delayed making reports to the FAA because it had to wait to obtain the parts in question from the 737 operators so they could be tested.

"Our procedure is to make a report within 24 hours of determination of a potential problem," she said. "We could not make such a determination until we got the parts. . .. It took months."

She said Boeing has improved its reporting methods in response to the FAA's findings.

"We average about 100,000 messages a year from our operators," she said. "We try and make a determination so that the safety-related ones get passed to the FAA. That process has been tightened and improved."

The FAA noted Boeing's efforts.

"Since the time of the alleged events, Boeing has cooperated with the FAA in developing an improved reporting process that exceeds the requirements of the regulation," the agency said in a statement.

The FAA's proposed $741,000 penalty is related to Boeing's oversight of its suppliers and subcontractors. Boeing failed to assure that they adopted and adhered to the company's quality control policies and procedures, the FAA said.

The supplier actions occurred more than two years ago, the FAA said, and did not directly affect aircraft safety.

In four separate cases, the FAA said, suppliers did not follow Boeing's quality control practices.

"Failing to do so might have resulted in Boeing's use of non-conforming materials to build airplanes," the FAA said.

The violations came to light during FAA inspections of Boeing's suppliers in late 1997 and early 1998.

The contractors and suppliers are: Parker Control Systems of Ogden, Utah; Aerospace Technologies of Port Melbourne, Australia; Northrup Grumman's Grand Prairie, Texas, plant; and Kayaba Industries of Tokyo.

They were cited for a total of 17 different violations, including improperly heat-treating products, failing to periodically check tooling machines, failure to keep up with certification for quality control workers and failing to make corrections identified in past audits.

Boeing said no substandard parts ever made it onto aircraft from the contractors in question.

"Most of the violations were training and procedural issues," Verdier said.

She said Boeing continues to work with its suppliers to improve practices and to make sure the company's quality control procedures are followed.

Boeing has more than 3,500 suppliers worldwide.

The FAA and Boeing also continue to talk about the findings of the special audit that was started in December. The audit also found lax supplier oversight by Boeing.

It was sparked by a series of embarrassing production and quality control problems that resulted in defective parts being installed on Boeing airplanes.

Boeing and the FAA are currently developing an action plan to address problems discovered during the audit. The findings won't be made public until the action plan has been approved by the FAA.

An FAA spokeswoman said yesterday the proposed plan is under review at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Since the audit, Boeing has increased scrutiny of its suppliers and added more people to a unit that works with suppliers and monitors the quality of parts.


21 Mar 2000 United 737 experiences aileron control system malfunction - NTSB

*** NTSB: United 737 experiences aileron control system malfunction

NTSB Identification: LAX00SA132
Scheduled 14 CFR 121 operation of UNITED AIRLINES, INC.
Incident occurred MAR-21-00 at LAS VEGAS, NV
Aircraft: Boeing 737-300, registration: N328UA
Injuries: 100 Uninjured.
On March 21, 2000, at 0836 hours Pacific standard time, United Airlines
flight 2701, a Boeing 737-300, N328UA, experienced an aileron control
system malfunction during the landing roll on runway 25L at the Las Vegas
Nevada, airport. The airplane was operated by United Airlines, Inc., as a
regularly scheduled domestic passenger flight under 14 CFR Part 121. The
airplane was not damaged. None of the 5 crewmembers or 95 passengers were
injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan
was filed. The flight originated from Denver, Colorado, at 0816 mountain
standard time as a nonstop flight to Las Vegas. The flight crew reported
that all aspects of the flight were normal until the landing roll. The crew
disconnected the autopilot about 3,000 feet agl and hand flew the approach
through touchdown due to turbulence. After touchdown, the captain was holding
about 30 degrees of right control wheel input for the existing crosswind
condition and as the airplane slowed below 100 knots, the wheel smoothly
moved to a full right aileron deflection. A detailed examination of the
lateral control system is in process.


19 Feb 2000 Winglets boost to Boeing 737--800 performance

SEATTLE, Feb. 18, 2000 - The Boeing Company announced today that it is offering Next-Generation 737-800 customers a new, advanced-technology winglet as a standard option.

The winglet will allow a new airplane that already flies farther, higher and more economically than competing products to extend its range, carry more payload, save on fuel and benefit the environment. The first Boeing 737-800 with winglets is expected to be delivered in the spring of 2001. All subsequent 737-800s will be equipped with structurally enhanced wings that will make it easier for owners of standard 737-800s to retrofit those jetliners with winglets.

"The key to product leadership is to create a superior product, then continually improve it in ways that add value to customers," said John Hayhurst, vice president and general manager, 737 programs. "With this new winglet, the Next-Generation 737 will remain the most advanced airplane family in its class for the 21st century, just as it was for the 20th."

A Next-Generation 737-800 equipped with the new winglet will be able to fly farther, burn 3 percent to 5 percent less fuel, or carry up to 6,000 pounds more payload. Other benefits include a reduction in noise near airports, lower engine-maintenance costs, and improved takeoff performance at high-altitude airports and in hot climate conditions.

The winglets weigh about 120 pounds each. They are made of high-tech carbon graphite, an advanced aluminum alloy and titanium. The winglet is eight feet long and tapers from its four-foot wide base to a width of two feet at the tip. Unlike traditional winglets typically fitted at abrupt angles to the wing, this new advanced "blended" design gently curves out and up from the wing tip, reducing aerodynamic drag and boosting performance.

The 737-800 winglet was developed initially for the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), which also features the state-of-the-art 737-800 wing. This winglet will be available initially as an option on the 162-passenger 737-800. Formal availability of the winglet will follow quickly on other models that feature the 737-800 wing, including the 737-700C and the 737-900. The applicability of the winglet to Next-Generation 737-600 and 737-700 models is being assessed.

The blended-winglet technology was developed by Aviation Partners Inc. of Seattle. In 1999, during the design of the BBJ winglet, Aviation Partners and The Boeing Company formed Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), a joint venture that completed and owns the design. APB is developing the capability to make the winglet available as a retrofit for airplanes already in service.


27 Jan 2000 Popular Boeing 737 Surpasses New Aviation Milestone - Boeing

SEATTLE, Jan. 27, 2000 --

The Boeing 737, the world's most widely used jetliner, has become the first jetliner in history to soar beyond 100 million flight hours - a testament to the jetliner's popularity and to The Boeing Company's continuing commitment to enhance the airplane's design, performance, comfort and value.
The Next-Generation family, which entered service in 1998 inaugurated the third generation of Boeing 737s. The Next Generation 737 family consists of the 110-passenger 737-600 the 128-passenger 737-700, the 162-passenger 737-800, and the 177-passenger 737-900. The Next-Generation airplanes feature a new wing - the most aerodynamically efficient in its class; new, more powerful yet quieter engines; a new, more spacious and comfortable interior and a state-of-the-art flight deck.
The overwhelming market success of the Boeing 737 is one of the ironies of aerospace history. When the program was launched in 1965, the 737's prospects looked questionable. Competitors were two years ahead of the 737, with 300 orders between them. The 737 had to compete for product-development budget and engineering talent with several other major programs in development - the 747, a "stretched" 727, the C5 transporter and the supersonic transport. But compete it did, leading to the most successful jetliner program of all time.


9 Dec 1999 - 'Classic' 737 line to close, ends era of Boeing lows, highs. - Seattle Times

Wednesday December 08 07:57 PM EST

'Classic' 737 line to close, ends era of Boeing lows, highs.

By Polly Lane
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing's final 737-400 will be rolled out of the Renton factory tomorrow, ending a 32-year era that produced the best-selling airplane model in aviation history.
The jet is to be delivered to CSA Czech Airlines in February.

With the rollout, Boeing will close out production of the last of five "classic" versions of the twin-engine airplane, the dominant jet of the hub-and-spoke system at U.S. airports.

Boeing will concentrate in the future on new 737 models - the -700, -800, -900 and a business jet that incorporates features of the -700 and -800. The 737-700 was launched by Southwest Airlines in 1994.

Production of the classic 737s surpassed that of the former top seller, the Boeing 727, in February 1990. Boeing delivered 1,831 727s in all. The 737 has continued to be the front-runner in sales ever since. Boeing has booked orders for 4,349 737s, including the new-generation models.

The last 737-300 will be delivered Monday to Air New Zealand, while the last 737-500 went to Air Nippon in July.

Like many airplane models, the 737 had a shaky start and faced oblivion a couple of times when orders dwindled. In 1972, during the famous Boeing Bust, only 14 were sold. But the company said 1,970 classic models remain in service today.

Boeing's 737 was two years behind the Douglas DC-9 in the marketplace in the mid-1960s. And after fierce debate by the company's board of directors, Boeing moved into production of the first 103-seat 737 with only one order, from Lufthansa German Airlines.

Boeing was confident United Airlines also would order the jet and it did, a few months later. But it wanted more seats so the 737-100 was stretched more than six feet and dubbed the -200. A more advanced -300 made its debut in 1981 when start-up Southwest Airlines decided to make the 126-seater its airplane of choice. The earlier two models were phased out.

The larger 147-passenger -400 followed in 1988, first ordered by Piedmont Airlines. Then Southwest launched a smaller 110-passenger -500 model in 1990.

The earliest 737 was alternately dubbed FLUF (Fat Little Ugly Fella) and Fat Albert because it was short and fat, almost square. Later, the 737 was renamed Little Giant because of its ability to land and take off on short runways, even unpaved strips, features that attracted customers from Africa, Australia, South America and Asia.

The earliest 737 had some problems, including thrust reversers that didn't work properly, and a shimmy in the landing gear, but it was a good airplane from the start, recalls Brien Wygle, its chief test pilot.

The 2 1/2-hour maiden flight was uneventful, he said. Wygle had worked with pilots and engineers on the plane for months before he and co-pilot Lew Wallick took it up the first time from Boeing Field on April 9, 1967.

It was the first Boeing airplane was designed for a two-man crew, rather than three. While that concept took a while to prove to pilots and safety experts, Wygle said he had no problems with only one assistant in the cockpit. The 737 had two engines under the wings instead of near the tail, as on the DC-9s. The 737's new Pratt & Whitney engines were designed to be quieter than the competitors'.

The 737 classic series has been a key player for growing airlines and for leasing companies, including Boullioun Aviation of Bellevue, which owns 35.

"Boullioun truly grew up with this aircraft," said John Willingham, chief operating officer. "It's been a very successful airplane for us."

He cited reliability, efficiency and ease of maintenance. Willingham said his company will be keeping the classic models in its fleet for some time because officials believe their value will hold up.

Peter Jacobs, aerospace analyst with Ragen MacKenzie in Seattle, agreed. Jacobs said the 737 classics "still are among the most widely flown aircraft and join the DC-3, the 707 and 727 as real workhorses."

At tomorrow's noon rollout, Boeing Chairman Phil Condit will recall his role in producing the first 737 while he headed the Renton division. Alan Mulally, the Boeing Commercial Airplanes president, and John Hayhurst, the 737 vice president and general manager, will discuss how the past shaped the 737's future.

It's a future in which the 737 must compete with a strong Airbus Industrie family of similar A320 airplanes that have attracted hundreds of orders this year. But competition is nothing new for the 737, considering it began in the shadow of a successful DC-9 and prevailed.


11 May 1998 Mandatory inspections reveal widespread damage in fuel tank wires on the Boeing 737 - Las Vegas Review Journal

By Glen Johnson
Associated Press

      The government on Sunday grounded older models of the Boeing 737, the world's most popular jet, after mandatory inspections of some aircraft found extensive wear in power lines running through their wing fuel tanks.
      The order affected 15 percent of the 737s operating domestically, causing scattered flight cancellations as the business week began. United Airlines alone canceled 54 flights.
      But with a typical inspection taking about six hours, the effect on the flying public Sunday apparently was minimal.
      A number of flights also were canceled at Philadelphia International Airport, but ticket clerks attributed most of them to the weather. The few passengers affected by inspection delays seem to take the developments in stride.
      At Reagan National, just outside Washington, Doug Clowers said his United flight to Chicago was canceled, "but they made sure they didn't mess up my plans too much. They made sure I was on the next available flight."
      The emergency inspections, the broadest FAA order for commercial aircraft since McDonnell-Douglas DC-10s were grounded in 1979, came three days after the Federal Aviation Administration gave airlines up to a week to inspect their oldest 737s for signs of wear in the wiring or the pipes that carry the wires through the fuel tanks.
      A recent inspection of a Continental Airlines 737 found both exposed wires and holes in the piping believed to have been caused by electrical sparks. Officials feared the mixture of fuel, air and electricity could spark an explosion such as the one that downed TWA Flight 800.
      By Saturday afternoon, 14 more aircraft had been inspected and mechanics found chafing in half of the bundles examined.
      One wiring bundle in a United Airlines 737 showed signs of sparking in one spot and a second area where the wires had been worn bare, most likely from vibration over the plane's 50,000 hours in flight.
      That prompted the FAA to revise its original order, ordering all Boeing 737-100 and -200 series aircraft immediately out of passenger service until they could be inspected and repaired.
      The planes have cigar-shaped engines mounted directly under their wings. There are 179 such aircraft operated by U.S. carriers.
      The FAA also ordered inspections over the next two weeks for 737s with between 40,000 and 50,000 flight hours, generally the newer generation Boeing 737-300, -400 and -500 aircraft.
      Those models have oval-shaped engines mounted on pylons that extend in front of the wings. There are 118 such planes in the United States and 282 worldwide.
      Based on the early inspections, the FAA also allowed airlines to discontinue inspections of another set of pipes and wires leading to the aircraft's center fuel tank.
      In all, 14 aircraft inspected, there were no signs of chafing found in that wiring.
      "While we are concerned about (the inspections) and the disruption it may have on the system, the No. 1 concern of the FAA is safety," said Thomas McSweeny, the FAA's director of aircraft certification.
      Boeing supported the action, which followed its own service bulletin to aircraft owners on April 24.
      "We're doing everything we can to minimize any schedule disruptions to affected 737 operators and we will continue working with the FAA to monitor the inspection results and take any other action that may be advisable," said Boeing spokesman Russ Young.
      The manufacturer said it was rushing repair kits to the airlines.
      Southwest Airlines, United and US Airways were most affected. Southwest has an all-737 fleet, though only about 35 of its aircraft were the type covered by the grounding.
      The inspections took three-person teams about six hours for each plane, a spokeswoman said.
      United had to cancel 54 flights on Sunday as its 18 older-model planes were inspected, but the airline said it would have all the planes back in the air by today.
      "This is not impeding our operation anywhere near the level a severe weather condition would at Denver or O'Hare," said United spokeswoman Mary Jo Holland, referring to the airline's two major hub airports.
      A US Airways spokesman said his airline had to pull four planes out of service.
      Investigators still do not know what caused TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, to explode off Long Island in July 1996. They suspect fumes in the center fuel tank were ignited by electricity. Since then, they have been examining the wiring configurations on similar planes and ordering inspections.
      Last week, the FAA ordered inspections for Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft to make sure they had the necessary protection around their fuel tank wiring. The airlines have 60 days to complete that work.
      The agency is also considering inspections for McDonnell-Douglas and Lockheed aircraft. Planes made by Airbus Industries are not affected because they have a different wiring configuration.
      There are 1,088 Boeing 737s in the United States and 2,716 registered worldwide, making it the most common passenger aircraft in use. While the FAA action does not apply to foreign aircraft, most countries follow its lead on safety matters.
      The FAA grounded the DC-10 fleet in May 1979 after an American Airlines plane lost a wing-mounted engine at takeoff and crashed. All 273 aboard were killed. The planes were not allowed to fly until their engine mounts were inspected and repaired as needed.


11 Mar 1998 Germania Breaks Distance Record In Boeing 737-700 - Boeing

SEATTLE, March 11, 1998 --

German tour operator Germania Fluggesellschaft mbH today helped The Boeing Company’s newest jetliner -- the 737-700 -- set a new distance record, flying the single-aisle plane nonstop from Seattle to Berlin.

The 737-700, the first of the Next-Generation 737 family to enter service, weighed in at 62,248 kilograms before takeoff. The plane departed Seattle’s Boeing Field at 4:26 p.m. PST (0026 Universal Takeoff Time), Tuesday, March 10 and arrived in Berlin at 10:53 a.m. local time (1053 UTC) Wednesday, March 11. The 9 hour 27 minute flight spanned 4,511 nautical miles, breaking the international record in the 60,000-80,000-kg weight class. The previous record -- 3,385 nautical miles -- was set in 1993 by another Boeing jetliner, the MD-83.

The airplane, painted in TUI/Germania livery, was fully configured for passenger service, with 144 seats. Among those participating in the record-breaking flight were Germania Managing Director Peter Kiessling, team leader; Germania Director-Flight Operations/Chief Pilot Thomas Scheel along with accompanying crew and staff; representatives from Boeing; and engine maker CFMI. The official observer aboard the flight was Jack Sweeney, a board member of the National Aeronautical Association, USA.

Aviation authorities from the United States, Germany and France are expected to accept the flight as a new international record for its weight class.

"This record-breaking flight is a testament to the design and quality of the Next-Generation 737-700 -- and to the Boeing workers who make it," said Germania’s Kiessling. "In terms of range, new passenger-interior appearance, efficiency and reduced emissions, the -700 is perfect for us."

Germania’s delivery marks the first of 12 737-700s the airline has ordered. Its all-Boeing fleet also includes 13 737-300s.

"We have had a good relationship with Germania and are pleased they continue to choose Boeing airplanes," said Jack Gucker, vice president – 737/757 Derivative Programs. "We have a lot of confidence in the -700 and we’re happy to see it accomplish what we expect of it. Based on their needs, the 737-700 will serve them well."

The Next-Generation 737 family -- the 737-600/-700/-800/-900 models are designed to fly higher, faster, farther and quieter than previous models and continues to be the fastest-selling jetliner model in history. The Next-Generation 737 models are particularly popular among environmentally conscious carriers because of lower noise and emissions than competing aircraft.

The 737-700 is powered by new CFM56-7 engines produced by CFMI, a joint venture of General Electric of the U.S. and Snecma of France.


27 Jan 1998 Boeing rolls Out 3,000th 737 - Aerotech News

Journal of Aerospace and Defense Industry News

SEATTLE - Boeing Commercial Airplane Group Monday night achieved a significant manufacturing milestone when employees rolled the 3,000th Boeing 737 out of the manufacturing facility in Renton, Wash., where the popular twinjets have been manufactured since 1970.

The historic rollout occurs 31 years after Boeing rolled out the first 737-100 Jan. 17, 1967. That rollout took place at the company's Plant 2 facility in Seattle, the initial site of 737 production.

"Through three decades of hard work and commitment, Boeing employees have built an unmatched legacy of success with the 737," said Gary Scott, vice president and general manager of 737/757 Programs. "With roughly 900 more 737s currently on order, we can look forward to extending this legacy for future generations of employees."

The 3,000th 737 is a 146-passenger 737-400 model, scheduled for delivery to Alaska Airlines. Last November, the Seattle-based carrier became the launch customer for the 737-900 - the fourth model in the Next-Generation 737 family - when it announced an order for 10 737-900s, with 10 options. At the same time, the airline also announced orders for two 737-400s and three 737-700s.


15 Jun 1997 CFM56-3 Engine sets new World Record for time on-wing - CFMI

June 15, 1997

LE BOURGET - A CFM56-3 engine powering a Boeing 737-500 with Braathens S.A.F.E. reached 19,855 cycles without a single shop visit, setting a new world's record for time on wing. The previous record of 19,841 cycles was held by a CFM56-3 engine in service with Southwest Airlines.

The CFM56-3 is produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma of France and General Electric of the United States and the world's largest supplier of commercial aircraft engines.

The CFM56-3C1 engine, which entered Braathens' fleet in October 1991, was removed after nearly six years of service due to life-limited parts in the core. The airline may soon break its own record as there are six additional -3 engines in its fleet that have logged more than 18,000 cycles without a shop visit. The Norwegian flag-carrier currently operates 27 CFM56-3-powered Boeing 737-400s and -500s and will begin taking delivery of the first of 16 firm and option Next-Generation 737-700 aircraft, powered by the CFM56-7, in 1998.

A CFM56-3 engine in service with Germania Flug is poised to set yet another time-on-wing record by year's end. The engine has been in service with the German charter and regional carrier since 1988 and has logged more than 28,000 engine flight hours without a shop visit. If the engine stays on wing for 30,000 hours, Germania will have set a new world's record.

Germania operates a fleet of 13 CFM56-3-powered Boeing 737-300 aircraft, and three additional engines in this fleet have logged more than 16,000, 18,000, and 22,000 hours, respectively, without a shop visit. When it takes delivery of the first of 12 Next-Generation 737-700 aircraft later this year, Germania, along with Maersk Air, will be the first European carriers to place the CFM56-7 into revenue service.

Since entering service in 1984, the CFM56-3 has established itself as the standard against which all other engines are judged in terms of reliability, durability, and cost of ownership. The fleet of nearly 1,800 CFM56-3-powered 737s in service worldwide have logged more than 61 million hours and 44 million cycles while maintaining a 99.98 percent dispatch reliability rate (one flight delayed or canceled for engine-caused reasons per 5,000 departures), a .070 shop visit rate (one unscheduled shop visit per 14,286 flight hours), and an in-flight shutdown rate of .003 (one incident per 333,333 hours).


17 Nov 1995 Next Boeing 737 Program Sets Two-Year Order Record - Boeing

The next Boeing 737 program has set a new aviation record: More 737-600, -700 and -800 airplanes have been sold in the first two years that they have been offered than any other commercial jetliner.

Since the airplane program was launched two years ago today, 214 airplanes have been ordered by 11 different customers. "We knew when we launched this program that this airplane would be popular, but sales have exceeded our expectations," said Ron Woodard, president of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. "We expect these airplanes to extend the 737's record as the best-selling jet in history," he added.

As the program marks its second anniversary, the first of the three airplanes -- the 737-700 -- continues to meet its design and build milestones. "About 70 percent of the engineering drawings for the -700 have been released to the factory and that's right on schedule," said Jack Gucker, director of the 737-600/-700/-800 program. With the release of the drawings, more than 100,000 parts are being scheduled for fabrication.

All three models of the next 737 twinjet will be powered by the new CFM56-7 engine, which is being developed by CFM International, a joint venture of Snecma of France and General Electric of the United States. Design, assembly and testing of the engine also remain on schedule.

"We've released 93 percent of the drawings for the engine, the auxiliary power unit and their major related parts," said Gucker.

Boeing has designed and built engine struts and thrust reversers to support extensive engine ground and flight tests in France and the United States. The testing is aimed at validating the new engine's integrity as well as greater thrust capability and improved performance over the CFM56-3, which powers today's 737-300, -400 and -500 fleet. In January, the CFM56-7 engine is scheduled for first flight on a GE-owned Boeing 747 flying test bed.

Plans for supporting airline customers who will be flying the -700 also are on schedule. The first portion of a computer-based flight and maintenance training course that will be available on CD-ROM has just been completed and a general familiarization course on the 737-600, -700 and -800 program already is being taught to employees of airline customers who have purchased the airplanes. Development of maintenance manuals for the -700 and the engine also are well under way.

The first -700 is due to be delivered to Southwest Airlines of the United States in October 1997, the first - 800 is slated for initial delivery to Hapag Lloyd of Germany in early 1998 and the first -600 will go to SAS in late 1998.

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