Starship
Topic Author
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 1999 3:26 am

What Made The 737 So Successfull?

Sun Jan 30, 2000 10:08 pm

The first generation B737 could so nearly have been a total failure.  Boeing would have liked an order closer to 100 aircraft before committing itself to production of the 737, but effectively went ahead on the strength of an order for 21 aircraft from Lufthansa.  The other big customers, barring United had already gone for the other existing types, the DC-9, the BAC 1-11 and the Caravelle.

So, United Airlines was to be the absolute deciding factor and by apparently offering the airline large numbers of 727's at giveaway lease terms, they secured an order for 40 737's plus a further 30 on option.

It is a well known fact that the prototype 737 had various problems. Drag figures were worse than expected and the thrust reversers were ineffective. The ALPA insisted on a 3-man crew adding 50% to crew costs compared to the DC-9.

Had it not been for United Airlines and the Boeing's lease terms on the 727's would the 737 have been a dead duck in the water?

Below, the very first 737-100 in airline service with Lufthansa

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Photo © Fritz Gratenau


Another early Lufthansa 737

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Photo © Nils Rosengaard


An early United 737-200

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Photo © AirNikon


Another early United 737-222 in an updated colour-scheme

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Photo © Tom Hildreth


Nick
Behind every "no" is a "yes"
 
Flying-Tiger
Posts: 3927
Joined: Mon Aug 23, 1999 5:35 am

RE: What Made The 737 So Successfull?

Sun Jan 30, 2000 10:19 pm

I think the 737 was so successful because it can be operated in very rough conditions as there are often in Africa or South America. But most probably it was Lufthansa who has the most points in this game. They were the ones who convinced the Boeing sales team to build a 80-100 (and then bigger)-seater instead of a 50-seater which was orginally planed. And when United said that they needed a silghtly bigger 737, the 737-200 was born. The other designs, the Bac 1-11 and DC-9 had the T-tail engines which are a bit difficult for maintenance crews. But apperently LH and UA were the ones who started the 737. But today it does not seem to attractive to the "launch customers" of the 737 as both airlines have gone to the A32X which is slightly better than the 737NG is. Please note that this is MY opinion, please don´t start a Airbus-Boeing war!!

Regards
Flying-Tiger
http://fly.to/rorders
Flown: A319/320/321,A332/3,A380,AT4,AT7,B732/3/4/5/7/8,B742/4,B762/763,B772,CR2,CR7,ER4,E70,E75,F50/70,M11,L15,S20
 
NKP S2
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RE: What Made The 737 So Successfull?

Mon Jan 31, 2000 1:30 am

Reliable. Rugged.
 
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RE: What Made The 737 So Successfull?

Mon Jan 31, 2000 4:43 am

I hope that the alleged rudder problem is found and corrected for the sake of Boeing if they want customers to keep buying this plane. The orders for the Airbus A320 family is growing every month.
 
Starship
Topic Author
Posts: 1038
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 1999 3:26 am

RE: What Made The 737 So Successful?

Mon Jan 31, 2000 5:18 am

I believe that the New Generation 737's have a completely redesigned rudder system that won't permit an uncommanded roll.  As for the older models, I was under the impression that flight crew had learnt counter measures  to deal with such an eventuality. I would have to check through some FAA directives to see what I can find.

What seems to have been largely ignored with regard to old generation 737's is the FAA directive regarding the installation of flame arrestors and pressure relief valves in the aircraft's fuel vent system, where the cost per aircraft was espected to be in the region of $36 000.  This follows the May 1990 Philippine Airlines Boeing 737-300 explosion while taxiing.

Nick
Behind every "no" is a "yes"
 
HyperMike
Posts: 968
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 1999 7:03 am

RE: What Made The 737 So Successfull?

Mon Jan 31, 2000 6:56 am

Is it true that US Airways upgraded all of their 737-300s to the same rudder design as the 737-400 to have some more commonality in their fleet?

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