Boeing 737

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Boeing 737
Air Berlin B737-700 Dreamliner D-ABBN.jpg
An Air Berlin Boeing 737-700
in Boeing's factory colors
Type: Twin - engine narrow-body aircraft
Design country:

United StatesUnited States United States


Boeing Commercial Airplanes

First flight:

April 9, 1967


February 10, 1968

Production time:

In series production since 1967

Number of pieces:

10,580 (as of end of July 2020)

The Boeing 737 from the US aircraft manufacturer Boeing is the most widely built family of jet-powered commercial aircraft in the world . The type, designed as a narrow-fuselage aircraft , is now being manufactured in parallel in the third and fourth generations and has hardly changed its external appearance over time. Originally planned as a small short-haul aircraft, the current models Boeing 737NG ("Next Generation") and 737 MAX represent a family of medium- haul aircraft for commercial passenger aviation, the spectrum of which extends roughly from the 125-seater 737-700 to the 737-900ER ("extended range “- increased range) for up to 220 passengers. Even long distance are operated with certain variations.

Lufthansa received the first Boeing 737-100 in December 1967 . To date, the 737 family has had very good sales with 14,758 orders and 10,580 deliveries (as of the end of July 2020). In July 2013, an average of 2000 Boeing 737s were in the air at the same time; On average, a 737 took off or landed around the world every two seconds. The competing Airbus A320 family came onto the market in the late 1980s and has been selling similarly well over the years with 15,576 orders and 9,451 deliveries (as of end of July 2020). Airbus was able to achieve a certain lead in orders from 2019.

After two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8 with 346 deaths due to identical malfunctions all 371 machines of the MAX 8 and MAX 9 almost worldwide since March 2019 assigned to fly .



The Boeing 737 prototype on its maiden flight on April 9, 1967
The cockpit view of an early Boeing 737-130

The idea of ​​a small airplane arose from the successful launch of the BAC 1-11 and Douglas DC-9 . This opened up the then completely new market for small, short-haul aircraft with jet engines . When Boeing officially launched the 737 program on February 19, 1965 (at the same time as Lufthansa announced the order for 19 aircraft), these two competitors completed their maiden (DC-9) and certification flights (BAC 1-11). The 737 first customer, Deutsche Lufthansa, needed an economical aircraft for short distances. In order to accelerate the development, many technologies of the Boeing 707 , Boeing 720 and Boeing 727 were adopted . The hulls are - except for their length - identical. The wings caused problems. Since a wing broke at 95% of the prescribed maximum load, these were redesigned. This delay was also used to introduce efficiency-enhancing innovations. The unusually short landing gear saved weight and simplified ground operations, but left little space for the engines under the wings of the low- wing aircraft : in early versions of the Boeing 737, the slim Pratt & Whitney JT8D were attached directly to the underside of the wings without a pylon.

The first flight of the Boeing 737-100 took place on April 9, 1967. Lufthansa put the first series aircraft into service in February 1968. She acquired 22 of the 30 737-100 built. The extended version 737-200, which made its maiden flight on August 8, 1967, was far more successful. It was produced until 1988. The first customer for this variant was United Airlines , which started using it on April 28, 1968. In 1970 the 737 program went through a crisis. With only 37 new orders coming in, Boeing considered selling the entire program to the Japanese aircraft industry to improve corporate finances. Ultimately, however, almost 1,100 units of the -200 version were delivered until 1988.

First revisions

In the early 1980s, the 737 was changed to a significant extent for the first time. The modification that led to the classic 737 mainly comprised the far more efficient CFM56 engines from CFM International , a redesigned cockpit equipped with screens and a new cabin. Development began in 1979 and the first details were published in 1980 at the Farnborough Airshow . Among the major changes were a longer hull, modern CFM56 - turbofans which significant savings promised in consumption and noise, and modified wings, an updated cockpit, including enlarged Electronic Flight Instrument System and changes in the cabin, which the Boeing 757 was derived . Because the CFM56 engines have a significantly higher bypass ratio and correspondingly larger dimensions, they could not be installed below the low wings, but in front of it. In addition, add-on parts were moved from the underside to the sides of the engine housing and the air inlet in the lower area was flattened in order to achieve sufficient ground clearance. This gave the engine nacelles an unusually oval front view. The first 737-300 went into service in 1984.

Development of a "new generation" and its revisions

The cockpit view of a Boeing 737-700 (2008)

At that time, a new competitor for the 737 was foreseeable with the Airbus A320 . This far more modern and efficient aircraft prompted Boeing ten years later to start the 737-X program (later called "Next Generation") in 1993. The wings were revised, the avionics were modernized and the higher landing gear made it possible to install the latest CFM56 engine version (-7). CRT screens and later LCDs were used in the cockpit, as in the Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777 . Winglets were later offered, which reduced fuel consumption and improved take-off behavior. The classic versions could later be retrofitted with winglets. In 2001, the 737-900 was the longest version to date. Their hull length even exceeds that of the 707 . Their seating capacity is close to that of the 757-200 , whose production was discontinued in 2004 after a lack of demand.

Passenger cabin of a Boeing 737-800 of the Delta (2007)

From the end of 2004, the characteristic small "eyebrow windows" above the cockpit windows were no longer available. These once offered a better overview in turns with the Boeing 707 , from which the 737 got the bow like the Boeing 727 . They were a source of glare and increased weight due to the necessary holding devices and seals and required additional maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, the windows were not used for astronomical navigation . Only the military version T-43A had five connections for sextants in the cabin area, which were used for training purposes in astronavigation. The first 737 without an "eyebrow" window (a 737-700) went to Southwest Airlines in February 2005 . Conversion kits are also available with which the small additional windows were removed from many older 737s. Lufthansa converted its 737-300 and -500. As the last model of the 737 to date, the later 737-900ER was presented in July 2005 under the name 737-900X. With the fuselage of the 737-900, it can transport up to 220 people, making it a competitor to the Airbus A321 .

Another generation change with the MAX versions

In 2006, Boeing began to consider replacing the Boeing 737 with a completely redesigned aircraft, as had previously happened with the Boeing 787 as a replacement for the Boeing 767 . After the announcement of the overhaul of the Airbus A320 family by means of new engines in December 2010 and as a result of numerous orders for the new models, Boeing stopped planning and began construction of an improved Boeing 737, which Boeing's Board of Directors on August 30th 2011 confirmed. The CFM International LEAP is used as the engine. The first plane, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, had on December 8, 2015 its rollout . The first flight was on January 29, 2016. FAA approval was granted on March 9, 2017.

On June 2, 2019, the FAA announced that 133 model 737NG machines and 179 model 737 MAX machines had possibly defective brackets installed on the slats , which had to be replaced within ten days.

Importance and Production

On January 28, 2000, the Boeing 737 world fleet was the first aircraft type in aviation history to exceed the 100 million flight hour mark; in July 2013 it had already exceeded 250 million flight hours. On February 13, 2006, the five thousandth copy of the 737 was handed over to Southwest Airlines. By December 2011, that number had risen to over 7,000 units and the 8,000th machine went to United in April 2014.


The fuselage of a Boeing 737 on its way to Renton for further assembly

Right from the start, Boeing split production of the 737 across multiple locations, which led to a peculiarity. Important fuselage components, the entire fuselage in one piece since the next generation aircraft, come from Wichita , Kansas from Spirit Aerosystems and are transported by train to Renton , Washington . The hulls are attached to a section of regular freight trains of the BNSF Railway on special flat wagons .


The so-called family commonality is found in the various members of the 737 family in many areas. This means that systems of different types of aircraft are identical in order to reduce costs in maintenance as well as in pilot training. This principle is implemented in the 737 in the following areas:

  • The members of the individual 737 generations are closely related to one another and use largely the same parts as, for example, the engines. Thus, maintenance costs can be reduced through synergy effects .
  • The avionics and the cockpit of the classic versions are similar to the avionics of the Boeing 757 and 767 ; the next generation avionics are similar to the 747-400 / -8 and 777 systems .
  • The CFM International CFM56 engines used for the second and third generation of the 737 are also used in slightly modified versions in the Airbus A320 family and the Airbus A340-200 / -300 . As a result, these engines can be purchased at lower cost through economies of scale . In addition, airlines that operate several of these types can realize lower training, acquisition, maintenance, storage and other costs.
  • All models of the individual generations of the 737 are based on the same basic design and can therefore be flown with the same type rating .


The current list prices of a Boeing 737 are between $ 76.0 million for the smallest version still on offer (737-700) and $ 96.1 million for the largest (737-900ER), not including optional extras. The MAX versions cost between $ 85.1 million and $ 109.9 million.


In addition to the problems with the "MAX" versions (see below) that emerged after two crashes , other problems also emerged.

In a total of 791 Boeing 737s of the “Next Generation” series (in 618 units) and “MAX” (in 173 units) non-approved components (sensors) from the manufacturer Rockwell Collins were installed. The FAA therefore imposed a fine on Boeing in the amount of 19.7 million dollars (17.6 million euros) in March 2020.

During maintenance work, foreign objects were found in the fuel tanks of a number of Boeing 737 MAXs temporarily stored in the dump. These were tools, component parts, clothing and other rubbish. Similar serious quality defects had already occurred with brand new Boeing 787 “Dreamliners” and KC-767 tanker aircraft .


The versions of the Boeing 737 can be divided into four generations: the "original versions", the "classic versions", the "next generation" (NG) and the "MAX". Since the version designations do not give any direct indication of the size of the aircraft, the fuselage lengths are shown here in groups of similar length.

Length (approx.) "Original version" "Classic" "Next Generation" "MAX"
29 m / 094 ft -100
31 m / 100 ft -200 -500 -600
33 m / 110 ft -300 -700
36 m / 120 ft -400 MAX 7
39 m / 130 ft -800 MAX 8, MAX 200
42 m / 140 ft -900 MAX 9

The versions are abbreviated here and there, e.g. B. 738 for 737-800 .

The "original versions"

The slim engines are characteristic of the first versions. Since these are longer than the later 737 types, they protrude backwards under the wings. Another feature of these first versions is the shape of the rudder unit with a different shape, the leading edge of which is a curve. In the newer versions there is a kinked straight line, which is due to the larger fuselage length and thus the smaller required area of ​​the newer versions in the event of a one-sided engine failure at take-off.

A total of 1125 machines of this type were delivered. Broken down by type, these are 30 x 737-100, 991 x 737-200 and 104 of the type 737-200C.

Boeing 737-100

The first Boeing 737 -130 N515NA is the world's only preserved machine of the type 737-100.

The 737-100 is the original short version of the 737 family at 28.63 meters (94 feet ) in length . The first flight took place on April 9, 1967. The 737 got the same fuselage cross-section and the same cockpit shape as the existing Boeing 707 and Boeing 727 types and is equipped with Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines. As with all other short-haul aircraft with only two engines, the flight engineer , which was still common at the time, was dispensed with, and accordingly no separate dashboard was installed on the right-hand side behind the copilot's seat in the cockpit of the 737. The aircraft was initially laughed at because its wingspan was as large as its length. It had been developed in cooperation with Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which was also the main buyer of this version. On March 15, 1965, the purchase contract for 21 737-130 machines was signed. This was increased to 24 machines on February 26, 1967, but then again reduced to 22 machines on August 5, 1968. These machines carried the Boeing factory numbers 19013 to 19033 and 19,794th They were taken between December 1967 and February 1969 in the fleet of Lufthansa and there as B 737 A , respectively. A total of 30 units of the Boeing 737-100 were produced. In addition to Lufthansa, Malaysia Singapore Airlines (MSA) with five and Avianca with two aircraft were other customers. The NASA took erstgebaute and until then used as a prototype machine from Boeing on July 26, the 1,973th

The two Avianca planes were registered with the German Air Force in November and December 1971 with civil license plates, but were never used and were sent to Aloha Airlines via Boeing . The five Boeing 737-100s operated by Singapore Airlines were acquired by Air Florida between 1979 and 1980. Between March 1981 and April 1983, Lufthansa also sold all of the aircraft to People Express , Far Eastern Air Transport and a dealer.

The first Boeing 737 (see photo on the right) is now the last 737-100 preserved in the world. It is on the outdoor area of ​​the Museum of Flight (position: 47 ° 31 ′ 11 ″  N , 122 ° 17 ′ 58 ″  W ) on the Boeing Field in Seattle next to the first Boeing 747 , a 727-223 / Adv from American Airlines , the former Air Force One Boeing VC-137B , a variant of the 707 , a Concorde from British Airways and a Super Constellation from Trans-Canada Air Lines .

Boeing 737-200

A private Boeing 737-200 in Rotterdam in 2012
Air North's only Boeing 737-200 C-GANV with an Unpaved Strip Kit , suitable for landing on gravel runways (metal sheets on the landing gear and tubes to dissolve vortices on the engines)

The Boeing 737-200 is a 30.53 meter (approx. 100 feet) extended version of the 737-100, which was originally mainly adapted for the US market and is still equipped with Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines. The first customer of this version, which was built in just under 1100 units, was United Air Lines .

The 737-200C (C for Convertible) is a version of the 737-200 that can be used for both passenger and cargo purposes; the first customer for this variant was Wien Air Alaska . The German Lufthansa had six machines of the version 737-230QC which they B 737 C called. These flew passengers during the day and cargo at night. This also included the (first) “Landshut” that became known through the kidnapping . These and three others were sold in 1985, while two - somewhat modified - then carried freight around the clock and were labeled “Lufthansa Cargo”. For the repurchase of the former “Landshut” by the federal government in 2017, see D-ABCE .

As of January 2019, two Boeing 737-200s of the Peruvian Air Force, FAP353 from 1969 and FAP354 from 1970, are the world's oldest Boeing 737s that are still in operation. The third oldest aircraft was built in 1970, is operated by the Indonesian airline Jayawijaya Dirgantara as a cargo aircraft and is the oldest Boeing 737 that is still used on commercial flights.

Boeing 737-200 Advanced

The Boeing 737-200 Advanced is a further development of the 737-200 with the same dimensions and increased performance. It has a longer range with increased payload capacity and can operate on shorter runways. In addition, the engines have been optimized in terms of consumption and noise generation. A significant advancement in avionics is also significant . The Boeing 737-200 was manufactured until 1988. The engines have an elongated shape that makes the machine easy to recognize.

This version replaced the -130 and -230 versions at Lufthansa and was called the B 737 B here .

As of August 2018, over 77 of the -200 and -200 Adv. Versions are still in use. A special feature is the Unpaved Strip Kit (also known as the Gravel Kit ) , which Boeing no longer offers for later versions, for taking off and landing on unpaved runways, which is mainly used by airlines in the north of Canada ( Air North , First Air , Canadian North , Nolinor Aviation ) use. This special equipment consists, among other things, of special metal sheets on the landing gear to keep ballast away from the fuselage, reinforcements in the fuselage, special tires and special tubes on the engines that expel bleed air in such a way that no foreign bodies can get into the engine through air turbulence.

The Canadian Nolinor Aviation decided in June 2018 to modernize ten 737-200s, including with “ glass cockpits ”, inertial navigation systems (INS), flight management systems (FMS) and automatic dependent surveillance (ADS). In addition to the seven own machines at the time, three more 737-200s are to be purchased and converted.

The main advantage is expected to be the considerable extension of the service life of this only version of the 737, which can be equipped with the gravel kits required in the Nolinor network . In addition, a massive reduction in maintenance costs is expected through the conversion from analog to digital systems. The company assumes that the aircraft, some of which are 40 years old, can now be operated for another 25 years. Since May 31, 2018, the first modernized machine has been used "without problems".

The "classic" versions

The classic Boeing 737-300, -400 and -500 versions were produced from 1984 to 1999 in 1988. Broken down by type, these were 1113 x 737-300, 486 x 737-400 and 389 x 737-500.

Boeing 737-300

A Boeing 737 -300 of Lufthansa

The Boeing 737-300 was originally a slightly longer sister model of the Boeing 737-200, but then became the new base model of the classic 737. It got the modern CFM56-3 engine from CFMI and had a flight management system . While the first machines in this series were still equipped with analogue instrumentation, they were later given a partial EFIS following the FAA certification that took place on July 24, 1986 . The latter comprised an Electronic Attitude Direction Indicator ( EADI for short ), which combined information on the spatial position, speed and the operating modes of the autopilot on a CRT screen , as well as an Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator ( EHSI for short ), which gave an overview of the flight path and plan a second CRT screen enabled. Although the engine indications were initially still presented using electromechanical pointer instruments, from the end of 1988 it was also possible to install the digital, LED-based Engine Instrument System ( EIS for short ). This version was approved for up to 149 seats. The range is 2500 kilometers with maximum payload. It was built in 1113 copies.

The 737-300 first flew on February 24, 1984. Deliveries began in November of that year. The US companies Southwest Airlines and USAir were the first customers of this type . The British Orion Airways became the first operator outside the USA with the delivery of a machine on January 29, 1985. Some machines were later equipped with a side cargo door by Pemco Aeroplex (now Kaiser Group Holding). This, in conjunction with passenger seats on special pallets, enabled a quick changeover between freight and passenger operations. These were then given the unofficial designation B737-300QC (for QuickChange). From May 2003 there was also the possibility of having existing 737-300s retrofitted with the winglets of the next generation series as part of a so-called “retrofit”.

Boeing 737-400

A Boeing 737 -400 of the Czech Airlines (without color design)

In June 1986 it was announced that Boeing would extend the 737 again and bring a 400 variant onto the market. It now offered up to 188 passengers, thus catching up with the larger Airbus A320 and replacing the Boeing 727 . It was specially developed for charter airlines . This version was the largest classic Boeing 737.

The 737-400 made its maiden flight on February 19, 1988 and entered service with Piedmont Airlines in October of the same year . A total of 486 pieces of this version were delivered. The last Boeing 737 Classic (Boeing 737-400) was handed over to ČSA on February 28, 2000 .

Boeing 737-500

A Boeing 737 -500 of Estonian Air

The Boeing 737-500 is a shortened version with the length of the Boeing 737-200, but with the modern technology of the -300 and -400. The project was presented in May 1987 under the name 737-1000 and was later given the version name that is valid today. The first flight took place on June 30, 1989, the first delivery took place in February 1990 to the first customer Southwest Airlines .

This aircraft is approved for a maximum of 140 passengers; it is usually operated with 100 to 110 seats. 389 pieces of this version were produced.

The "next generation"

In response to the increasingly successful Airbus A320 , Boeing announced in November 1993 that it wanted to modernize its 737 family again. The resulting models (-600, -700, -800, -900 and occasionally BBJ) were christened “Next Generation” (NG) by Boeing. In order to increase profitability, the next-generation 737s were equipped with modified avionics systems and integrated EICAS , improved engines and newly developed wings compared to the previous models . In contrast to the Airbus A320 family, the 737NG do not have an electronic fly-by-wire control.

So far, 7061 of the 7110 aircraft of this type ordered have been delivered (as of the end of July 2020). Broken down by type, these are all 69 ordered 737-600s, all 1128 737-700 units, all 22 737-700C units, 14 of 17 737-700Ws ordered, 4989 of 4991 737-800 units, 133 from 175 pieces of the 737-800A, all 52 pieces of the 737-900, all 505 pieces of the type 737-900ER, all 121 pieces of the BBJ, 21 of 23 ordered BBJ2 and all 7 ordered BBJ3.

The last 737NG built for commercial use was delivered to KLM in December 2019. The last delivery took place on January 5, 2020, when two 737-800NG were handed over to China Eastern Airlines.

As a marketing campaign for the newly presented 787 Dreamliner and the new corporate colors, a 737-700 (customer: Air Berlin ), a 737-800 ( Ryanair ) and a 737-900 ( Lion Air ) painted in the Dreamliner colors were delivered to the customers . The airline logo was only attached to the vertical stabilizer and the engine nacelle. After some time, however, the machines were repainted in the respective fleet schemes.

Since the beginning of August 2008, the 737NG has also been available with carbon brake systems, which means a weight saving of up to 320 kg and longer maintenance intervals. The first such aircraft was a 737-700 for Delta Airlines .

From the end of April 2009, there will also be a new optional cabin design with curved lines for the 737NG, which is based on the Boeing 787 and is called "Sky Interior". Indirect LED lighting and slightly enlarged luggage compartments as well as improved ventilation and sound insulation are used.

Boeing 737-600

A Boeing 737-600 of the SAS

The Boeing 737-600 is a shortened version with the length of the Boeing 737-200 / -500, but with the modern technology of the next-generation models. The development of the 737-600 started on March 16, 1996, the first flight took place on January 22, 1998. The first delivery followed in September of the same year to the main customer of this variant, SAS .

The 737-600 offers space for a maximum of 149 passenger seats, usually 100 seats were used. The cost for a 737-600 was $ 50 to $ 57 million. A total of only 69 pieces were ordered and delivered. The last 13 machines were delivered to Westjet by September 2006 . Since there were no further orders, the 737-600 was discontinued as the first model in the next-generation series.

In February 2019, 36 of the 69 aircraft produced were still in operation with five airlines: 13 with WestJet , 7 with Tunisair , 6 with Janet , 5 with Air Algérie and another 5 with the former largest operator SAS Scandinavian Airlines . The latter will take the machines out of service by the end of 2019. Most of the remaining machines had already been scrapped by this time.

Boeing 737-700

A Boeing 737 -700 of Aeroméxico
with winglets

The Boeing 737-700 was the first version of the “Next Generation” (NG) and corresponds in length to the Boeing 737-300. It was presented in November 1993 as the first 737NG, the roll-out took place on December 7, 1996. The certification followed in November 1997, after which the first customer Southwest Airlines began flight service with the 737-700 in December . A machine cost an average of $ 76.0 million in 2013.

Boeing 737-700C (C-40)

The Boeing 737-700C (C = Convertible) is a version of the Boeing 737-700 that can be converted from a passenger aircraft to a cargo aircraft (or vice versa) in less than an hour with a "quick change" option. It has the reinforced wings of the Boeing 737-BBJ. In a one-class configuration up to 149 passengers can be carried, the two-class configuration offers space for up to 126 passengers. In the freight version, up to 18,780 kg of freight can be transported over 5335 km (2880 NM). The Boeing 737-700C is equipped with a newly developed cargo door on the main deck. The first two full freighters were ordered by the United States Navy on September 3, 1997 . The military variant is called the C-40 Clipper . By June 2019, a total of 22 units of the 737-700C had been delivered to four customers.

Boeing 737-700ER

The 737-700ER is a version of the 737-700 that has a maximum take-off weight increased by around 7.5 t and a maximum range of 10,200 km. As part of these performance improvements, the 737-700ER will be equipped with the main landing gear and wings of the 737-800, among other things. The aerodynamic and structural modifications for this new variant are largely based on changes developed for the BBJ . The program was officially launched on January 31, 2006 with an order conversion by ANA , which converted two 737-700s that had been ordered into two copies of the -700ER, which were delivered in March 2007.

Boeing 737-700F

The Boeing 737-700F is a conversion ship based on the Boeing 737-700. Alaska Air Cargo became the first operator in October 2017 . The aircraft was converted by Israel Aerospace Industries in Tel Aviv.

Boeing 737-AEW & C

Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems division sells the 737-AEW & C (= Airborne Early Warning & Control) based on the 737-700ER in cooperation with Northrop Grumman . It is used in the military as an early warning and surveillance aircraft, for which purpose it is equipped with a 10.8 m long and 2.7 tonne radar antenna on the fuselage. Customers have so far been the air forces of Australia , South Korea and Turkey .

Boeing 737-700BDSF

The Boeing 737-700BDSF is a version of the 737-700 that Israel Aerospace Industries is converting into freighters. The first conversion began in 2016 on an Alaska Airlines aircraft (N627AS, first flight 2001). The first flight as a freighter took place on February 17, 2017 in Tel Aviv . The first aircraft was delivered to Alaska Airlines at the end of September 2017.

Boeing 737-800

A Boeing 737-800 of Austrian Airlines with winglets

The Boeing 737-800 is slightly longer than the 737-400 (39.5 m long, 12.5 m high, 35.79 m wingspan), optionally available with the large winglets , which are 2.60 meters high, and can carry a maximum of 189 passengers. The project started on September 5, 1994 under the name 737-400X Stretch . The first flight took place on July 31, 1997, in April 1998 the first aircraft of Hapag-Lloyd Flug (today TUIfly ) was handed over. Hapag-Lloyd also called for an increase in range. In the specifications, the airline demanded that the Hanover – Canary Islands route be fully occupied without a refueling stop. The SFP (short-field performance) variant was developed for VARIG in order to be able to take off from the runway at Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont Airport, which is just 1350 meters short .

With 4991 orders and 4989 deliveries (as of the end of July 2020), the 800 series is the most successful variant of the 737NG family. Their purchase price averaged $ 90.5 million in 2013.

The airline Ryanair has so far only operated 737-800 aircraft as part of its business strategy (simple fleet management). However, it received its last machine of this series on December 13, 2018, of which it operates over 350 units (as of January 2020). Future deliveries will only include machines from the 737 MAX series.

After the fire of a China Airlines Boeing 737-800 on August 20, 2007 in Okinawa, the FAA and EASA ordered that all aircraft of this type had to be inspected for loose guide pins in the wing leading edge within ten days.

Boeing 737-800BCF

The Boeing 737-800BCF ( B Oeing C onverted F reighter) is a freighter conversion on the basis of used passenger versions of the Boeing 737-800. The first delivery took place on April 19, 2018 to the leasing company GECAS , which leased the machine to West Atlantic . At the time of delivery, according to Boeing, there were 45 firm orders and commitments from seven different customers.

Boeing 737-900

A Boeing 737 -900ER of Alaska Airlines with winglets

The Boeing 737-900 is the largest of all Boeing 737s to date. The maximum number of passenger seats has been limited to 189, as the number of emergency exits has not been increased compared to the Boeing 737-800. The limitation is not a problem for multi-class seating. Development began on September 10, 1997 with an order for ten aircraft from Alaska Airlines . The first flight took place on August 3, 2000, the first aircraft was handed over to Alaska Airlines on May 15, 2001. After 52 machines were delivered, production was discontinued in favor of the 737-900ER.

Boeing 737-900ER

Since the basic version of the 737-900 can carry a maximum of 189 passengers despite being long enough due to the insufficient number of emergency exits, some airlines requested early on to remedy this deficiency and also to equip the model with a greater range. The result was the 737-900ER (formerly 737-900X), which is now approved for up to 220 passengers thanks to additional emergency exits. Further changes compared to the standard 737-900 are reinforced wings and additional fuel tanks, with which the range could be increased to 5,925 kilometers. On July 18, 2005, the Indonesian Lion Air , which received the first aircraft on April 27, 2007, was presented as the launch customer of the 900ER .

The first machine was rolled out in August 2006; the first flight took place on September 1 of the same year. The 737-900ER is usually equipped with 170 to 180 seats, the Lion Air machines with 206 or 214 seats. The 737-900ER competes with the Airbus A321 . In addition, it is also intended to replace the aging and only slightly larger 757-200 .

A Boeing 737-900ER cost an average of $ 96.1 million in 2013. A total of 505 machines of this type had been delivered by June 2019.

Boeing Business Jets

The Boeing Business Jets, or BBJ for short, are business jets that have been developed together with General Electric on the basis of the Boeing 737NG.

Boeing P-8 Poseidon

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a maritime long-range reconnaissance and submarine fighter based on the Boeing 737-800.

The "MAX" versions

Boeing 737 MAX 8 during a flight demonstration
“Split-Tip Scimitarwinglets

On August 30, 2011, Boeing announced another modernization of the 737 with more economical LEAP engines under the designation 737 MAX following a large order from American Airlines . After Airbus announced a revision of the Airbus A320 family in 2010, Boeing decided to revise it instead of redeveloping it based on the Boeing Y1 study that had been started . The 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 are based on the next-generation models 737-800 and 737-900ER. The smallest next-generation version 737-600 is not built as a MAX version, the MAX 7 is lengthened compared to the 737-700 and equipped with structural elements from the 737 MAX 8.

The New Engine Family was a reaction to the A320neo family and is intended to catch up market share that was lost to Airbus . The engines of the 737 MAX have a fan diameter of 1.73 m, 18 centimeters more than the 737 NG. Because of the low ground clearance of the wing, the engines were forward reaching to further engine pylons attached and higher, and the nose gear cm extended by about 20 microns. The new engine cowlings have sawtooth trailing edges .

By the end of July 2020, 4516 copies of the MAX version had been ordered and 387 of them had been delivered (first delivery to Lion Air in May 2017 ); Initially, the variant was a reasonably successful response to the A320neo Family (7449 orders and 1384 deliveries by the end of July 2020). A 737 MAX 7 costs an average of $ 85.1 million, a 737 MAX 8 about $ 103.7 million, and a 737 MAX 9 about $ 109.9 million (as of 2013).

Due to the orders placed with Airbus for the same class of aircraft, Boeing's management made efforts to certify the 737 MAX quickly: managers from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urged FAA safety engineers to delegate safety assessments to Boeing and quickly approve the resulting analysis.

After two aircraft crashes and flight bans for the MAX series in connection with the new MCAS software (see following section ), the group reduced the production rate from 52 to 42 copies per month at the beginning of April 2019. There were increasing problems with space, as over 400 copies had to be temporarily stored because they could not be delivered. This led to the temporary cessation of Boeing 737 MAX production in December 2019, as a re-registration was not expected until the end of 2019. Additional software problems became known in January 2020. These are in an area that is very important for re-approval. According to Boeing, the problems should be fixed soon.

In early March 2020, the US Congress received preliminary results from its committee of inquiry into the 737 MAX. This raised serious allegations against Boeing and the FAA. The 737 MAX is a "fundamentally faulty and unsafe" machine. Important information was withheld from the FAA because Boeing had a "culture of secrecy". The Transportation Committee found that Boeing and the FAA "played with people's safety". Boeing is responsible for "several technical design errors" and deceptions in obtaining the necessary certificates.

In March 2020, the FAA requested a change to the wiring for 737 MAX aircraft that were already in service.

Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)

At high angles of attack (around 14 °), the larger engine housings of the MAX versions, which are moved further forward, generate so much lift themselves that it is more difficult for the pilot to control the attitude and a further increase in the angle of attack makes a stall more likely. Therefore Boeing led the trim system Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System one (MCAS), which is critical to prevent situations by reducing the angle of attack. This system had previously been used in the KC-46A , a military version of the Boeing 767 . The system has been simplified for the 737 MAX. a. only one encoder (instead of two in the KC-46A) for the angle ( angle of attack , shortly AoA used). When the change was presented to the FAA for approval, the individual intervention of the MCAS was 0.6 °, with the design actually delivered later, it was 2.5 ° (at 5 ° full deflection) with continuously repeating interventions every 10 seconds. In order to facilitate the retraining of NG pilots on the MAX models, Boeing is said to have concealed the MCAS and how it works. According to pilots, it was not mentioned in manuals, and thus neither was its deactivation options.

A malfunction of the MCAS is believed to be the likely cause of the Boeing 737 MAX crashes on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 . The investigations suggested at an early stage that the MCAS received incorrect values ​​from the angle of attack sensor and reacted with unnecessary and dangerous corrections. This made an unreliable angle sensor a single point of failure , which contradicts the guidelines (e.g. Federal Aviation Regulations ). In the further course of the investigation, the pilots should also be asked to blame. Pilot unions and an airline had complained that the training documents "originally had no reference to the MCAS assistance system". Systems that work autonomously without the knowledge of the pilots are standard, but Boeing deceived the FAA, "with what vehemence MCAS can actually intervene in the flight." According to reports, some pilots were only in a two-hour training session on the iPad for the new one Model trained; unchanged flight characteristics compared to the previous models were a selling point, since no new type rating was necessary and thus the training costs for the introduction of the model at the airlines could be kept low.

A commission of experts appointed by the FAA reviewed the MCAS certification process and criticized manufacturers and aviation regulators in the final report published in October 2019. Boeing did not adequately explain how the MCAS worked to regulators, and the expertise of the FAA officials responsible for certifying the 737 MAX was questioned. As a ready-made and integrated function, MCAS was not assessed in the documents submitted to the FAA.

Boeing 737 MAX 7

The Boeing 737 MAX 7 was originally intended as a modernized variant of the 737-700 with the same length and passenger capacity. Due to customer requests for a larger variant, above all from the largest 737 operator Southwest Airlines , Boeing came up with the idea of ​​positioning another variant between the MAX 7 and MAX 8, which could accommodate two additional rows of seats. This variant, now known as MAX 7.5 , was officially confirmed at the Farnborough Airshow 2016 as the only successor to the 737-700. The MAX 7 is about two meters longer than the 737-700. For this purpose, a fuselage segment was inserted in front of and behind the wings. Furthermore, the MAX 7 now offers four instead of two emergency exits above the wings, a reinforced landing gear and the reinforced wings of the MAX 8. The first flight took place on March 16, 2018.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 Spirit of Renton (2015)
Flight bans of the 737 MAX by country with a deadline of March 17, 2019:
Explained by authorities Explained only by airlines

Boeing 737 MAX 8

The 737 MAX 8 is the further development of the 737-800 and with up to 189 seats and a range of more than 6500 km is a direct competitor to the Airbus A320neo . The roll-out of the first Spirit of Renton prototype took place on December 8, 2015. The same aircraft with the new CFM-LEAP-1B engines successfully completed its maiden flight in Seattle on January 29, 2016 .

The use of these large engines changed the aerodynamics of the aircraft.

On October 29, 2018, an almost new Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed on Lion Air Flight 610 shortly after take-off from Indonesia . All 189 people on board were killed. On March 10, 2019, a four-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 at more than 700 km / h. All 157 inmates died. This crash was preceded by a series of serious warnings about this specific problem from pilots in the United States.

Therefore, the aircraft types Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 were banned from flying on March 11, 2019 in China and Indonesia and on March 12 in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, also by EASA in the European Union and, in response, by the FOCA in Switzerland. Ethiopian Airlines , Turkish Airlines , Norwegian , Icelandair , Cayman Airways and Gol Linhas Aéreas also forego further flights of the Boeing 737 MAX 8. On March 13, after initial hesitation, Canada and the USA followed with flight bans for the aircraft types Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9.

Boeing 737 MAX 200

On September 8, 2014, at the request of Ryanair , Boeing launched the Boeing 737 MAX 200, which is based on the 737 MAX 8. The difference is that the capacity is 11 seats higher, which was achieved by rearranging the emergency exits and adding another emergency exit in the middle. Internally, the design is therefore referred to as High Capacity MAX 8. The first flight was on January 13, 2019, the first customer is Ryanair. The new version should hold up to 200 passengers. Like the other 737 MAX, it has the new “Sky Interior” interior design familiar from the “Next Generation” with indirect LED lighting, slightly enlarged luggage compartments and windows as well as improved ventilation and soundproofing.

Boeing 737 MAX 9

Boeing 737 MAX 9 during the first flight

The Boeing 737 MAX 9 is a modernized version of the Boeing 737-900ER. It has a range of around 6500 km and is approved for up to 220 passengers. It competes with both the Airbus A320neo and the Airbus A321neo. The first flight took place on April 13, 2017.

In the course of the two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in October 2018 and March 2019, the EU airspace was also closed by EASA on March 12, 2019 for Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft .

Boeing 737 MAX 10

Due to the significantly greater sales success of the rival Airbus A321neo compared to the MAX 9, efforts were made to stretch the fuselage of the 737 again in order to close the capacity gap to the A321neo and to offer a replacement for the Boeing 757 fleets that are aging at many airlines . In mid-2016, initial plans indicated an extension of 3.35 m, which, however, would also have resulted in an increase in engine performance, reinforcement of the wings and an extended landing gear. At the beginning of 2017, Boeing confirmed a simpler design with an aspect ratio of only 1.86 m. This allows the MAX 10 to accommodate two additional rows of seats and dispense with changes to the engines and wings. Only the suspension of the main landing gear is shifted a little backwards by a longitudinal arm in order to move the point of rotation towards the rear and thus reduce the risk of a tail strike . At the Paris Air Show 2017 , Boeing confirmed the development of the MAX 10 after receiving around 240 expressions of interest from 10 customers.


From the first flight in 1967 to January 2020, the Boeing 737 suffered 214 total losses. 94 total write-offs also resulted in deaths, a total of 5500 people were killed.

Technical specifications

Due to the short landing gear, the lower cargo compartments of the 737-300 are directly accessible from the ground, the housing of the CFM56-3 engine is flattened at the bottom.

737 and 737 Classic

Parameter 737-100 737-200 737-300 737-400 737-500
length 28.65 m 30.48 m 33.40 m 36.45 m 31.01 m
span 28.35 m 28.88 m
height 11.28 m 11.13 m
Trunk width 3.76 m
Torso height 4.01 m
Cabin width 3.54 m
Seats (maximum) 124 136 149 188 140
Max. Takeoff weight 44,225 kg 52,390 kg 61,236 kg 68,039 kg 60,555 kg
Top speed Mach 0.84 Mach 0.82
Cruising speed Do 0.73
TAS about 780 km / h
Do 0.745
TAS about 800 km / h
Range 3,440 km 4,200 km 4,400 km 5,000 km 5,200 km
First flight Apr 9, 1967 Aug 8, 1967 Feb. 24, 1984 Feb 19, 1988 Jun 30, 1989
Commissioning Feb 10, 1968 ( Lufthansa ) Apr 28, 1968 ( United ) Nov 28, 1984 ( US Air ) Sep 15 1988 ( Piedmont ) Feb 28, 1990 ( Southwest )
Engines 2 × Pratt & Whitney JT8D 2 × CFM International CFM56 -3
Takeoff route 1,676 m 2,027 m 2,500 m 1,700 m
Landing route 1,207 m 1,603 m 1,725 ​​m 1,350 m

737 next generation

Parameter 737-600 737-700 737-800 737-900 737-900ER
length 31.24 m 33.60 m 39.47 m 42.11 m
span 34.32 m (with winglets: 35.79 m)
height 12.57 m
Trunk width 3.76 m
Torso height 4.01 m
Cabin width 3.54 m
Seats (maximum) 149 189 220
Max. Takeoff weight 65.091 kg 70,080 kg
77,564 kg with IGW version
(Increased Gross Weight)
79,016 kg 85,124 kg
Empty mass 36,378 kg 37,648 kg 41,413 kg 42,901 kg 44,676 kg
Top speed Mach 0.82
Cruising speed Do 0.785
TAS about 830 km / h
Service ceiling 12,497 m (41,000 ft )
Range 4,000 to 7,200 km 3,980 to 7,630 km;
737-700ER up to 10,200 km
3,790 to 6,650 km 3,630 to 6,660 km 3,500 to 6,500 km
First flight Jan. 22, 1998 Feb 9, 1997 Jul 31, 1997 Aug 3, 2000 Sep 1 2006
Commissioning Aug 1998 ( SAS ) Oct 1997 ( Southwest ) April 24, 1998 ( Hapag-Lloyd ) May 15, 2001 ( Alaska Airlines ) Apr. 27, 2007 ( Lion Air )
Engines 2 × CFM International CFM56 -7B
Takeoff route 1,616 m 1,744 m 2,100 m 2,591 m 2,910 m
Landing route 1,342 m 1,418 m 1,634 m 1,662 m 1,450 m

737 MAX

Parameter 737 MAX 7 737 MAX 8 737 MAX 9 737 MAX 10
length 35.59 m 39.47 m 42.11 m 43.80 m
span 35.92 m
Height (max.) 12.50 m 12.42 m 12.40 m
Trunk width 3.76 m
Torso height 4.01 m
Cabin width 3.54 m
Seats (two classes) 138 162 178 188
Seats (maximum) 172 189 (200 in MAX 200) 220 230
Max. Takeoff weight 80,286 kg 82,191 kg 88,314 kg 89,765 kg
Top speed Mach 0.82
Cruising speed Do 0.785
TAS about 830 km / h
Range 7,130 km 6,704 km 6,658 km 5,960 km
Engines 2 × CFM Leap-1B with 89 to 125 kN thrust each
First flight March 16, 2018 January 29, 2016 April 13, 2017
Commissioning May 22, 2017 ( Malindo Air ) March 22, 2018 ( Thai Lion Air )


A total of 10,580 of the 14,758 machines ordered were delivered between December 1967 and the end of July 2020.

Deliveries by year


Whole or substantial parts of various models are exhibited in the following museums (list is not exhaustive):


  • Helmut Gerresheim, Mike Riedner: Airplanes that made history, Boeing 737 . Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-613-01650-8 .
  • Malcolm Hill: Boeing 737 . The Crowood Press, 2002, ISBN 1-86126-404-6 . (English)
  • W. Borgmann: The aircraft stars: Boeing 737 . Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 978-3-613-04038-0 .

Web links

Commons : Boeing 737  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 13, 2006 .