Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 1999 4:15 pm

Something To Think About.

Wed Feb 06, 2002 9:10 am

Recently, I began to think about how civil airplanes have changed over the past thirty or so years much like how auto manufactures have kept an edge in order to compete and hold a piece of the market place.

The other night I was looking through the photo database. I took particuliar interest in how the Boeing 737 has changed over the years. I began to think just how much the airplane has progressed. To think for a second that back in late 60's the orginal 737-100/200 was marketed as the baby boeing resembling much like that of a "football" for it was short and stout. The airplane was suited for the short to medium range market and competed head on with the Douglas' DC-9.
In the eighties Boeing updated the 737 and introduced the 733, 734 and later the 735. And all of these new airplanes suited airlines well and continue to.
Then in the mid 90's Boeing once again updated the 37 and introduced the "New Generation" family;
736, 737, 738 & 739 . The newest 737's effetively meats the demands of airlines present and future growing needs. However, As I stop to look at the newest 737's , I cannot help but ponder how far the 737 has come. To think for a second that the original 737 was a hair shorter then the 737-500 you put that plane next to the biggest 737 the 900 and I become astounded, that the 737 today is not what is was yesterday. The short stout little 737 is now a jetliner almost similiar is size to that of the 752 (the 900 is) it really amazes me. But I suppose when it comes down to competing and holding place in the airliner market you as an airplane manufactuer have to keep up with the times.
Anyone else have any thoughts on the 737 or other airplanes that have changed through time?
Would be good to hear your thoughts.
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 12:58 pm

RE: Something To Think About.

Wed Feb 06, 2002 12:10 pm

I point this fact out to visitors at the Pima Air Museum.

The 737-900 is 6 ft longer than the first 707s and has greater range. And the 707 was, in the late 50s considered a long range aircraft. Pretty amazing to consider that a short range aircraft has exolved so much. Also consider that what used to considered ultra long range, Europe to the US west coast, is now only 2/3 the range of the 744, 777 and A340. Even medium range airliners can fly 6000 miles today.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2001 4:35 pm

RE: Something To Think About.

Wed Feb 06, 2002 12:19 pm

In contrast, I think the evolution of the 747 is pretty unique in that it kept up with the times in innovative technology yet it has basically stayed the same aircraft (unlike the 737 like you mentioned). The 747's biggest change was the addition of winglets and a glass cockpit on its later models but is basically the same plane. Thankfully the furthest Boeing deviated from the design of the original was the 747SP.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
Posts: 539
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 1999 4:15 pm

RE: Something To Think About.

Thu Feb 07, 2002 4:26 am

Its good to hear your comments. It really makes you think about technology and how we are advancing.
Posts: 392
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2002 4:40 am

RE: Something To Think About.

Thu Feb 07, 2002 4:32 am

I was just wondering what Boeing will be calling their 'next' 737?

They have now used the -900 series, so what's next? The B.787-100?

Posts: 1411
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 1:21 am

RE: Something To Think About.

Thu Feb 07, 2002 4:43 am

Interesting, too, is how LITTLE change has been seen in the light GA fleet over the past 50 years. The C172 is basically a 1947 design with a nosewheel added in the 1950s. The C182 is the same deal, based on the C180 of the early 50s. The C152 is a C140 with a nosewheel, and the C140 is a C120 with metal wings; the C120 is a late 40s design. The Bonanza is 5 years older than Queen Elizabeth's reign. The list of Methuzelah designs just goes on and on. I learned to fly in 1959; had the same situation been true then as it is now, I would have learned to fly in the second model of the Wright brothers first airplane.

RE: Something To Think About.

Thu Feb 07, 2002 5:01 am

Wow, we are all having similar brain waves.

Although today's airliners are 1000 times more sophisticated than Comets, 707s and Viscounts, thay are essentially the same as their cousins from the 50s and 60s.

Heck, the Douglas Commercial 'nose' is still being produced (although gently altered and refined o'er the years) on B717s...same for the B737s.

Planes like the Sonic Cruiser really represent a completely new thought process.
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 1:21 am

RE: Something To Think About.

Thu Feb 07, 2002 5:02 am

One more thing. Most of the "improvements" in flying light GA aircraft are no thanks to the GA manufacturers. I'm less likely to get lost than Lindberg but I'm not going much faster than he did in 1927 or any more above the weather. My aircraft's instrument capabilities are about where Jimmy Doolittle left them in 1929.
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Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2001 10:46 am

RE: Something To Think About.

Thu Feb 07, 2002 7:04 am

Engine technology has also played its part in aircraft design. Tri-jets are not popular now since more powerful engines means twinjets can be just as powerful and more efficient and quieter. Going further back, the old 4 engine jets (707, DC8, VC10, etc) could be easily carried by two of today’s engines. In fact, the TOTAL 707-120 thrust with 4 P&W JT3D-1s was 68,000lbs. Today, a single P&W PW4098 engine from a 777-300 can produce 98,000lbs of thrust! This increase in performance is why today's long range aircraft are a lot bigger and can have fewer engines than yesterday's equivalent. (Even a 744 could run off three larger engines instead of four). To compare this to your 737 examples, the original JT8D-7s on the 731 could produce 14,000lbs of thrust each. The smallest 737NG, the -600, has two CFM56-7B18s which can produce 19,500lbs. The -900's engines can produce up to 27,300lbs each. The high-bypass ratio engines of today are much wider which has led to another design change, having the engines mounted on pylons in front of the wing, instead of mounted directly under the wing.

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