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Illustrated technical information covering Vol 2 Over 800 multi-choice systems questions Close up photos of internal and external components Illustrated history and description of all variants of 737 Databases and reports of all the major 737 accidents & incidents History and Development of the Boeing 737 - MAX General flightdeck views of each generation of 737's Technical presentations of 737 systems by Chris Brady Detailed tech specs of every series of 737 A collection of my favourite photographs that I have taken of or from the 737 Press reports of orders and deliveries Details about 737 production methods A compilation of links to other sites with useful 737 content Study notes and technical information A compilation of links to major 737 news stories with a downloadable archive A quick concise overview of the pages on this site


The Overhead Panel

The overhead panel is the nerve center of the aircraft systems and replaces many of the controls previously located on the flight engineers panel. the following page shows how the function and layout of this important panel has evolved from its roots in the 1950's.

The four light-grey panels are the "Primary system control panels" - fuel, electrical, hydraulics and air-conditioning. (Ref Boeing Advanced 737-200 Systems Doc D6-24014A-R1 Page 17)

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*** Updated 14 Nov 2021 ***

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The individual panels are usually partially covered by a 1/4in deep raised section called the light plate. This contains the backlights for any markings required for the panel. The small white cross on each light-plate shows the position of the electrical connector behind the plate. So, if the individual panel lighting is acting up then pressing on the cross will sometimes help.

The ENGINE panel with the light-plate fitted.

The ENGINE panel with the light-plate removed.



This panel is very similar to the NG. Differences include:





This panel is still very similar to the original 1967 737-100. Obvious differences include:

For a detailed look at each panel go to Systems.






This night shot of a 737-700 overhead panel illustrates the "Dark cockpit" concept which is that if all is well, then no captioned lights should be illuminated. Unfortunately Boeing still designed the NG with the window heat ON lights blazing away for the entire duration of every flight, which is why we have to replace them so often! The effect is also spoilt by the Gen Panel LED's




This is one of the later production 737-300 overhead panels.

The air conditioning panel shows that it is not a 400 series and the digital cabin pressurisation controller shows that it is a late build aircraft.





Superficially very similar to the -3/4/500 panel. Differences include:

  • Two extra panels (top left & right) for Compasses. DG or Slaved.
  • Mach Trim test.
  • Compass and Vertical Gyro transfer functions.
  • Fuel filter heaters.
  • Single equip cooling fan switch.
  • Multi speed wipers.
  • No alpha vane heat.
  • Engine anti-ice indications.
  • Layout of hydraulic pumps.
  • Gasper fan rather than Recirc fan.
  • No ignition switching.

This particular aircraft (737-200C) was built for cargo operations and some other distinguishing features:

  • Extra set of main gear green lights on the aft overhead panel because the downlock viewers are not installed.
  • Smoke clearance system on the pressurisation panel.

Notice also the GRAVEL PROTECT switch to the right of the ignition switches and the TYRE SCREEN light on the doors panel which are probably indicative of the rough strip kit.




Although difficult to identify all of the controls in this low shot photograph, It can still be seen how the 727-200 panel bridges the gap between 707 and 737, in particular, the Flight Controls panel is very recognisable to 737 pilots.

The guarded switches in the fourth column are the ignition and start switches. Notice the location of the fire switches in this version.




This 707-441 overhead panel shows some components that are still in use on the 737 of today. For instance, the HF radios, alternate flap, emergency exit lights, rain repellent, and exterior lights are virtually identical. All credit to Boeing for living by the theory of: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."


707-441  (Photo Valter Azevedo)


The 707 aft overhead (P5) panel was purely for circuit breakers. This ex Pan Am model has had several components robbed for spares but illustrates the layout well.

707-321B  (Photo Air Nikon)


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