Boeing 737 Has "MAX" Fun During Test Flight
A Saturday test flight of the Boeing 737-MAX turned out to be fun for the pilots and those working for the aircraft's manufacturer, as revealed by the flight path from FlightAware. The nine-hour test flight over Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon spelled out a particular word...
The 737-MAX departed from Boeing Field/King County International Airport (BFI) just before 9am local time on Saturday. The test aircraft did several spirals over southern Washington near the Oregon border before embarking on its “MAX” test flight across four states, which you can see in animated form by clicking here. [Update: Thanks to TPG reader ejg239 for pointing out these loops happened at the end of the journey instead of the beginning.]
The long-range flight is one of many trials Boeing will complete before the first aircraft is delivered. In January, the Chicago-based airframe manufacturer performed a splash test of the new plane with the help of drones for photography and data capturing.
According to Boeing, Saturday's flight was a test of the range and efficiency of the next-generation single-aisle aircraft. The 737-MAX variant is reported to use 20 percent less fuel per seat than previous variations of the 737 thanks to a new wing, winglet and engine design. In addition, the new MAX variant is expected to have 99.7% schedule reliability, making it one of the most dependable aircraft in the skies. Over 50 airlines have committed to adding the 737-MAX to their fleet — including all three legacy carriers — with over 3,000 aircraft orders to date.
With the early success of the 737-MAX, the aircraft manufacturer is already looking toward the future. Early reports suggests the company is beginning to shop around an extended version of the aircraft, currently being developed as a 737-10 variation.
The 737-MAX is currently projected for delivery in May 2017, with the first planes going to Norwegian Air Shuttle.