Boeing has successfully conducted the maiden flight of its 737 MAX in Seattle, taking the program a step closer to its Entry Into Service (EIS). The fourth generation of this family aircraft comes to compete directly against the Airbus A320neo family aircraft, in an ongoing battle to dominate the global narrow-body market segment.finally The Boeing 737 MAX Makes First Flight.
After its introduction last December, the aircraft underwent pre-flight preparations, which included taxi tests successfully achieved yesterday. Once completed the first flight, it will be prepared for the flight test campaign as it is the first of four MAX aircraft that will be used to test and certify the program with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). According to Boeing’s chief Project Engineer Michael Teal, the aircraft’s test fleet will wrap up the campaign by the end of the year.
After type certification, it will go to launch customer Southwest Airlines—the world’s largest 737 operator— in the third quarter of 2017. This would be the third time Southwest launches a 737 variant, as it did in 1981 with the 737-300 program, which entered service in 1984, and later in December 1997 with the 737-700.
A crew of two commanded by Captain Ed Wilson, Chief Pilot 737 program, and Craig Bomben, VP of Flight Test, took the 737 MAX to a short taxi down to Runway 34 at Renton Municipal Airport. Takeoff took place at at 09:48 Pacific Standard Time (17:48 GMT), receiving the applause of around 4,000 Boeing employees, media members and invitees who attended to the event. The flight window was pushed forward due to adverse weather conditions. The aircraft soared under typical Seattle stormy, threatening skies which are almost the norm for the Boeing First Flights like the 787-8 back in December 2009. Bombed noted that “other then deteriorating weather at Renton, we had no butterflies or jitters in our stomachs. We did get out of Renton in the nick of time.”