On January 29, 2016, the Boeing 737 MAX prototype embarked on its first flight. It is the first of many milestones for the aircraft as it will soon undergo testing for FAA certification. The aircraft is scheduled to be first delivered in 2017, with Southwest Airlines being the launch customer (Lusk, 2011).
The aircraft is 14% more fuel efficient than the Next Generation 737 models and 20% more than the original 737 models (2015 Environmental Report, p. 11). This may not seem a lot in terms of cutting down overall emissions from the atmosphere, but it is still a huge improvement from the previous models. In order to accomplish this, the plane is equipped with CFM International LEAP-1B engines and Advanced Technology winglets (Admin, 2012). Click here to see the historic first flight of the 737 MAX.
The aircraft is part of the Boeing Yellowstone Project, which involves replacing its entire civil aircraft with advanced technology aircraft, such as composite structures, more electrical systems, and more fuel-efficient turbofan engines. Originally called the Boeing Y1, it was renamed to its current name soon after Airbus released the A320neo aircraft, and was approved in 2011. The other two aircrafts part of the Boeing Yellowstone Project are the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (currently in-service since 2011) and the Boeing 777X (planned to be introduced in 2020)(Boeing Y-class Yellowstone, n.d.). Click here to see the early concept art for the 737 MAX.
As a fan of aviation, I love how Boeing is aware of the increasing trend to “go green.” According to Boeing’s annual Environmental Report (2015), the aviation industry is responsible for about 2% of manmade carbon emissions (p.10). So, I am really glad that Boeing has decided to do something about this by making more fuel-efficient planes. I look forward to flying this beautiful plane in the future.