SEATTLE. Boeing (NYSE:BA) completed the first flight of the company’s new 737 MAX 7 passenger jet. The new commercial airplane is on schedule, officials say, and now begins a comprehensive flight test program that is expected to lead to certification and delivery in 2019.
Boeing Test and Evaluation Captains Jim Webb and Keith Otsuka piloted the airplane, which completed a three-hour, five-minute flight – taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Wash., at 10:17 a.m. Pacific and landing at 1:22 p.m. on 16 March 2018 at Seattle's Boeing Field.
The airplane was put through flight control tests, as well as systems and handling quality checks.
The Boeing 737 MAX 7 airplane is the third and newest member of Boeing's 737 MAX family to be produced, with a maximum capacity of 172 passengers. The MAX 7 has a range of 3,850 nautical miles, the longest of any MAX family airplane.
"Everything we saw during [the first] flight shows that the MAX 7 is performing exactly as designed," says Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "I know our airline customers are going to enjoy the capabilities this airplane will bring to their fleets."
"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," adds Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The MAX 7 is designed to carry 12 more passengers 400 nautical miles farther than the A319neo, on 7 percent lower fuel costs, officials say.
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 high efficiency, reliability, and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.
The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 4,300 orders from 93 customers worldwide, company officials say.