Flight testing of Boeing’s 737 MAX 7 has begun after the first test aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight.
The development of the aircraft is running to schedule, with certification and the first delivery planned in 2019 to Southwest Airlines, the US aircraft maker said.
Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program for Boeing, said, “Everything we saw during the flight shows that the MAX 7 is performing exactly as designed.
“I know our airline customers are going to enjoy the capabilities this airplane will bring to their fleets.”
Piloted by Boeing test and evaluation captains Jim Webb and Keith Otsuka, the airplane completed a successful 3 hour 5 minute flight, taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Washington, at 10:17am Pacific time, and landing at 1:22pm on March 16 at Seattle’s Boeing Field. The airplane was put through tests on its flight controls, as well as checks of its systems and handling qualities.
The MAX 7 is the third member of the 737 MAX family produced. It is designed for up to 172 passengers and has a maximum range of 3,850 nautical miles, the longest range of the MAX airplane family. The range is more than 1,000 nautical miles farther than its predecessor, the 737-700, while the MAX 7 still manages 18% lower fuel costs per seat, Boeing said.
“The MAX 7 will provide airlines an efficient product for opening and flying thinner markets and accessing challenging airports, while enjoying all the benefits of being part of the 737 MAX family,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The 737 MAX family incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.