The smallest member of Boeing’s 737 MAX narrowbody airliner family, the 737 MAX 7, has completed its first flight.
On the flightdeck for the 3 hour, 5 minute flight on Friday were Boeing test and evaluation captains Jim Webb and Keith Otsuka, with the aircraft taking off from Renton, Washington State at 10:17am local time, landing at nearby Boeing Field, Seattle at 1:22pm.
Boeing says the aircraft, registered N7201S, was put through a series of flight controls tests, as well as checks of its systems and handling qualities.
“Everything we saw during today’s flight shows that the MAX 7 is performing exactly as designed,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ vice-president and general manager of the 737 MAX program, Keith Leverkuhn.
Boeing says a comprehensive flight test program for the 737 MAX 7 should lead to certification and first deliveries in 2019.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) March 16, 2018
The 172-seat, 3,850nm range 737 MAX 7 is the smallest but longest-ranging variant of the five-member 737 MAX family, which also comprises the MAX 8 (max seating for 210 passengers, 3,550nm range), MAX 9 (220-seats, 3,550nm), MAX 10 (230-seats, 3,300nm) and MAX 8-based MAX 200 (200-seats, 2,700nm).
The MAX family features a new flightdeck, fly-by-wire spoilers and new winglets compared with the 737 NG on which it based. It is powered by two CFM International LEAP 1B 176cm fan diameter engines, compared with the 155cm fan diameter CFM56 on the NG.
Boeing says it has so far taken 4,300 orders for the MAX family from 93 customers. Malaysia-based Malindo Air became the first airline to take delivery of a 737 MAX when it received 737 MAX 8 9M-LRC last May.
First flight for the MAX 7 on Saturday capped a big week for the 737 program, with the 10,000th 737 built celebrated in a ceremony at Renton on Tuesday.