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mfranjic
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Boeing 737 MAX - the Way of Return to the Skies

Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:11 pm


Respected Fellow members!

So many things have been said and written on the grounded aircraft of the 4th ( MAX ) and the last generation of the Image.737 aircraft. I have opened this thread thinking it might be interesting to see which specific solution You would offer in this particular situation and where do You see the way out from the current situation with the grounded aircraft. So, I am kindly asking You not to turn this into the thread filled with something already said, well known and so many times repeated (just as I did here, in my preface), something that might be rather belonging to those threads related to the news, happenings and reviews to the existing situation of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

I thank You in advance for Your participation in this thread!

* * * * *

Dear and good God … I can’t get rid of the impression, as this story gathers a new chapters, it’s like you’re trying to get out of the hole you fell in and the more you try to get out to the surface, the deeper you fall. The more you try to control the situation the more it controls you …

Who would have thought those two terrible tragedies (Lion Air’s flight JT610 and Ethiopian Airlines’ flight ET302) for the consequence will have in this moment pretty uncertain fate and the future of the Boeing 737 aircraft.

I have a feeling the factory is currently not functioning, not at all, at the level needed to objectively look at and solve this problem because these are, more or less, the same people who have made this total chaos and disorder. I know, I’m probably embarking in a story I’m not up to, but I’ll try. I just don’t give up on the 737 so easily …

Probably there were more crucial moments in the development and the construction of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, but if I would have to single out one of them especially, and which determined the current destiny of the 737 aircraft, it would be the one in which it was decided to go with the engine’s fan diameter of 69,4 in / 1.762,8 mm. Just as a brief reminder: Image.737 MAX aircraft are powered by two Image.LEAP-1B, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofans (fan diameter: 69,4 in / 1.762,8 mm; BPR: 9,0:1; eng. architecture: 1F+3LPC–10HPC2HPT–5LPT), OPR: 43,68:1, rated between 119,15 kN / 12.150 kgf / 26.786 lbf and 130,41 kN / 13.298 kgf / 29.317 lbf.

In order to compete with the aircraft of the Image.A320neo family, The Boeing Company and the 737 MAX aircraft’s engine’s factory - Image.International, after some doubts and changes, decided to go with the design of the engine with 69,4 in / 1.762,8 mm fan diameter, just to make it propulsive efficient as much as the circumstances allow it.
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What determines and defines the engine’s propulsive efficiency - ŋ ( P ) is the fact how good and efficiently the engine transforms the difference of incoming and exhaust kinetic energies into the engines’ thrust power - T ( P ), and which is the product of T ( N ) (net thrust) and v ( a ) (flight speed).
The propulsive efficiency is ideal (1 or 100%) when v ( g ) = v ( a ), i. e. when the velocity of the exhaust gases is equal to the flight speed. Propulsive efficiency does get better the closer v ( g ) gets to v ( a ), but that also makes net thrust - T ( N ) get closer to zero!
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And what is the best compromise, not considering other aspects such as the fan size, nacelle drag, engine’s weight, mechanical complexity, etc? To produce the net thrust with the highest possible mass flow - m [ f ] (large fans, high BPRs) and the smallest possible difference in between the velocity of the exhaust gases and the flight speed - [ v ( g ) - v ( a ) ].
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The optimum bypass ratio changes continuously, but since the drag coefficient drops after crossing Mach 1, the aircraft are either designed for a maximum Mach number of 0,9 or less or 1,6 and above. The corresponding bypass ratios today are up to 12 for subsonic engines, and less than 1 for supersonic engines. This produces a sharp boundary at the speed of sound, and many military engines designed for supersonic flight lost their afterburners and were fitted with a big fan to become the engines for subsonic transport aircraft.
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...E.g. - the core of the Image.CFM56-2 engine was developed as a derivative of the core of the General Electric F101, twin-shaft, low-bypass, afterburning, turbofan engine (fan diameter: 41,8 in / 1.061,7 mm; BPR: 1,91:1; eng. architecture: 2F–9HPC1HPT–2LPT), OPR: (29,9-30,4):1, designed to power Rockwell B-1 Lancer strategic bomber. Apart from the Image.CFM56 (F108 military designation) turbofan engine, on the base of the Image.F101 engine’s core was designed and Image.F110, twin-shaft, low-bypass, afterburning turbofan engine (fan diameter: 35,8 in / 909,3 mm; BPR: (0,76-0,87):1; eng. architecture: 3F–9HPC1HPT–2LPT), OPR: (30,7-33,3):1, used on the Grumman.F-14 Tomcat, McDonnell Douglas.F-15 Eagle and General Dynamics.F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.
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While the commercial turbofan engine manufacturers have focused on developing a very high BPR (bypass ratio) and OPR (overall pressure ratio) systems, a supersonic engines require a comparatively low BPRs and CPRs. Too large fan diameter creates too much frontal area drag, but also the massive volume of the cool exhaust flow is not able to move fast enough to push the aircraft to supersonic speeds. There is a direct correlation between the diameter of a turbofan engine’s fan blades and the amount of the thrust the engine can produce. Generally and somewhat simplified speaking, the larger the fan diameter, the more powerful the engine. This is a game of the fan diameter and the bypass ratio.
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And while the Image.A320 engine’s options include Image.PW1100G, ‘2,5’-shaft, high-bypass, geared, turbofan (fan diameter: 2.057,4 mm / 81,0 in; BPR: 12,5:1) and Image.LEAP-1A, twin-shaft, high-bypass, turbofan (fan diameter: 78,0 in / 1.981,2 mm; BPR: 11,0:1), the Image.737 MAX engine’s options include just Image.LEAP-1B, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofan engine (fan diameter: 69,4 in / 1.762,8 mm; BPR: 9,0:1). That’s a big difference and, unfortunately, The Boeing Company, just because of the short landing gears and consequently the low ground clearance, couldn’t get those engines to fit underneath the wings of their 737 MAX the way they were fitted on the 737 aircraft of the previous generations. After all, the Boeing 737 was originally designed in the 1960s to use the Pratt & Whitney.JT8D, twin-shaft, low-bypass turbofan engines (fan diameter: 49,2 in / 1.250 mm; BPR: 1,6:1).
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Related to the Image.737 MAX 10’s (MTOW: 197.900 lb / 89.765 kg) engines; the idea of using the larger and more powerfull engines of the series CFM.LEAP-1A ( Image.A320neo ) or the CFM.LEAP-1C ( Image.C919 ) has been abandoned. The advantages of continuing with the CFM.LEAP-1B engine are that the fan diameter remains the same and this greatly reduces the development and the certification time. The quick option is using the ‘thrust bump’ capability of the LEAP-1B engine. Already rated at 130,41 kN / 13.298 kgf / 29.317 lbf for a takeoff, it is expected to be capable of a ‘throttle push’ to over 31.000 lbf.
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Please click on the images below for a larger view
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...Image
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...The fact the aircraft of the Image.A320neo family stand on the higher landing gears than those of the Image.737 MAX family, give them a great advantage because of the possibility of placing the larger, more powerful, and in the same time more propulsive (higher BPR) and fuel efficient engines under their wings, just as they are Image.PW1100G, ‘2,5’-shaft, high-bypass, geared, turbofan engine (fan diameter: 2.057,4 mm / 81,0 in; BPR: 12,5:1; gear ratio: 3,0625:1; eng. architecture: 1F-]G[-3LPC–8HPC〧2HPT–3LPT), OPR: 50,0:1 or Image.LEAP-1A, twin-shaft, high-bypass, turbofan engine (fan diameter: 78,0 in / 1.981,2 mm; BPR: 11,0:1; eng. architecture: 1F+3LPC–10HPC〧2HPT–7LPT), OPR: 40,0:1.
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...Image
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Instead, The Boeing Company went with the next best option, the LEAP-1B engine that is smaller and 20 % less powerful, with 69,4" fan diameter. Even then, it had to move the mounting point of the 737 MAX’s engine forward and farther up. This change disrupted the aircraft’s center of the gravity and caused the 737 MAX to have a tendency to tip its nose upward during the flight, increasing the likelihood of a stall. Simply put: the 737 MAX is an unstable aircraft. The Boeing Company said previously they were trying a few things, like spoilers, different wing shape, fences, but they just could not get the result. In response, The Boeing Company’s engineers created the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), to automatically counteract this tendency and point the nose of the plane downward. Even though the crash investigation on the Ethiopian Airlines’ flight ET302 and the Lion Air’s flight JT610 are still ongoing, the initial reports from the Lion Air investigation indicate that a faulty AoA sensor reading may have triggered the 737 MAX’s MCAS shortly after the flight took off. Observers fear that a similar thing may have happened on the Ethiopian Airlines flight.
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For the most part, an unstable aircraft can be controlled only through the constant moment-to-moment adjustments of a computer based control system. That being said, if you can build an aircraft that is unstable in the right way, it will tend to be very maneuverable. The forces that would normally ‘want’ to keep the plane flying straight and level are not present; the aircraft wants to do darn near anything but flying straight and level, so that instability becomes as advantage as long as you can keep it under the control the way you want to.
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When it comes to the aircraft design, there are often compromises that have to be made. One of them is stability versus maneuverability. It is impossible to have a naturally stable and highly manouverable aircraft, because a stable aircraft will want to remain in its correct position, whereas an unstable one will have a tendency to turn faster. The concept of positive dynamic control refers to the aircrafts tendency over time after a flight control is changed (rudder, elevator, ailerons …). Stable aircraft have positive dynamic stability, meaning that they will return to their former attitude over the time, with damping oscillations, whereas dynamically unstable aircraft will osciillate further away from the original attitude. Because maneuverability is a necessity for the fighter jets, many of them are unstable and rely on electronic systems to aid them in their flight …
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As it was reported earlier, the fix for the 737 MAX’s MCAS system was on the way, but then it has been delayed again, due to the discovery of another flaw that can lead to the nose of the aircraft being pointed inappropriately downward. The test pilots discovered that a microprocessor failure could push the nose of the plane toward the ground and it is not known whether the microprocessor played a role in either crash. This appears to be distinct from the problem with the MCAS system, and which is believed to have been critical to both previous crashes. In these events, the aircraft which relied on the data from a single, potentially faulty angle-of-attack sensor, without a backup sensor drove the aircraft directly into the ground, despite pilot attempts to override it. The implication is that the microprocessor failure is separate from the AoA sensor failure, but there’s nothing to identify what subsystem the chip is in or whether there are redundant parts that are supposed to take over the functionality in the event of a failure. The Boeing Company’s engineers are trying to determine if the microprocessor issue can be fixed by the reprogramming of the software or if the replacing the physical microprocessors on each 737 MAX aircraft may be required. The recent FCC processor "data flow" issue may have been the real reason The Boeing Company went forward with a one-sensor MCAS system on the 737 MAX.
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The 737 MAX’s checklist includes a number of the issues that have been disclosed so far: the MCAS issue, the potential difficulty pilots have in turning the jet’s manual trim wheel, the unreliability of the 737 MAX’s AoA sensors, inadequate training procedures, a software issue pertaining to a lagging microprocessor and the autopilot failing to disengage in a certain emergencies. Allegedly, recently has been discovered the problem with the vulnerable rudder cables …
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In the worst possible scenario, hardware and software changes applied to FCC may not bring the satisfactory results. Besides, a massive amount of the testing of such a redesigned hardware and software should be performed in order to check its validity and usability, and it would result with a grounding measured in a years rather than a months. In my view the MCAS system should be removed completely and any high-AoA flight characteristics should be dealt with aerodynamic or structural modifications, like larger stabilizers, modified nacelles… If, in the end, The Boeing Company’s suggestion this problem can be fixed through the software changes proves to be wrong and the whole FCC’s architecture should be redesigned, this could result with a moment in which will inevitably be imposed the question: ‘What now and how to move on?’..Even worse, all this could mean the beginning of a disappearance of the 737’s production line with the dreadful knock on effects for the world civil aviation, causing the situation in which really nobody, including the Airbus SE factory, didn’t want to find itself. Perhaps, this whole situation can create one, so far unrecognized, precedent in the history of the aviation, and that would be consequently including all interested parties, just trying to solve this, in this moment it seems so, a very big and global problem. Just as a brief reminder: the 380 aircraft of the MAX fleet have been grounded since mid-March, following the second fatal MAX’s accident in five months. The Boeing Company halted deliveries just after the grounding, but has been producing MAXs and have nearly 200 of them in the storage.

From now on I will no longer deal with those known facts but will say a few words and draw up a plan how would I try to solve this big problem, so please do not blame me for something that, according to Your judgment, may not be related to a common sense...
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Image.Removing the Image.LEAP-1B engines from all the Image.737 MAX aircraft
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Image.The continuation of the production of the aircraft with all aerodynamic, structural and other changes characteristic to the 737 MAX aircraft, powered instead of Image.LEAP-1B engines, by Image.CFM56-7BE, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofans (fan diameter: 1.549,4 mm / 61,0 in; BPR: (5,1-5,5):1; eng. architecture: 1F–3LPC–9HPC1HPT–4LPT), OPR: 32,7:1, rated up to 121,44 kN / 12.383 kgf / 27.300 lbf and already used on the Image.737NG series of the aircraft
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The main question is how long it would be necessary to re-establish the required dynamics of the production of this series of the engines, and there is also a problem due to the slightly lower thrust the engines of the CFMI CFM56-7B series can produce in comparison with the CFM LEAP-1B engines. That’s the reason to continue, just for the beginning, with the production of the model 737-8. The mitigating circumstance is that the OEW of the aircraft would be lower because of the lower weight of the CFMI CFM56-7B series of the engines in comparison with the CFM LEAP-1Bs.
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In the meantime make a feasibility studies and the studies of the justification for the production of a new series of the engines for the aircraft. The studies should be conducted in the two basic guidelines:
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Image.Image.CFM56-7C series of the modernized and upgraded engines, based on the existing CFM56-7B engine, with the fan diameter of 61,0 in / 1.549,4 mm and the architecture 1F–3LPC–9HPC1HPT–4LPT, using the various new technologies already applied in the design of the Image.LEAP-1B engine
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Image.Image.LEAP-1D series of the newly designed engines, based on the existing LEAP-1B engine, with the fan diameter of 61,0 in / 1.549,4 mm and tailored architecture of the LP and the HP sections of the engine, keeping the same 1F–3LPC–10HPC2HPT–5LPT or returning to the 1F–3LPC–9HPC1HPT–4LPT architecture inherent to the CFM56-7B engine. It must be taken into the consideration the thrust requirements for the 737 MAX 10’s engine (approximately 31 klbf / 138,0 kN of the static thrust or the thrust obtained through the ‘thrust bump’). The OEW of the aircraft would be lower because of the lower weight of the CFM LEAP-1D series of the engines in comparison with the CFM LEAP-1B engines
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Both options are quite feasible, but the the development and the production would be expensive and time-consuming. Very questionable profitability and the justification, but on the other side we are talking on, not just a few hundreds but, a few thousands of the aircraft …
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...Image
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In that case, it remains the question what to do with all those LEAP-1B engines removed from the 737 MAX aircraft. This is the crucial moment that should gather at the same table The Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ), The European Aviation Safety Agency ( EASA ), The Boeing Company and Airbus SE.
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Why Airbus SE? Maybe the European factory would be willing (in the agreement and under the contract with the The Boeing Company) to get certified and produce a few hundreds of the Image.A320meo (middle engine option) aircraft powered by Image.LEAP-1B, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofans (fan diameter: 69,4 in / 1.762,8 mm; BPR: 9,0:1; eng. architecture: 1F+3LPC–10HPC2HPT–5LPT), OPR: 43,68:1, rated between 119,15 kN / 12.150 kgf / 26.786 lbf and 130,41 kN / 13.298 kgf / 29.317 lbf and sell them with a decent discount to the airlines. The engines’ thrust would probably be insufficient for the larger and heavier Airbus A321s. Otherwise, the Airbus A321 aircraft with the lowest engines’ thrust is the model Image.A321-232 powered by two Image.V2530-A5, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofans (fan diameter: 1.612,9 mm / 63,5 in; BPR: 4,6:1; eng. architecture: 1F-4LPC–10HPC2HPT–5LPT), OPR: 36,2:1, rated at 133,00 kN / 13.562 kgf / 29.900 lbf. Currently the most powerful models of the Image.A321neo (MTOW WV072 ACF: 97.000 kg / 213.848 lb) aircraft are powered by either Image.PW1133G-JM, ‘2,5’-shaft, high-bypass, geared, turbofan engine, rated at 147,28 kN / 15.018 kgf / 33.110 lbf or Image.LEAP-1A33, twin-shaft, high-bypass, turbofan engine, rated at 143,05 kN / 14.588 kgf / 32.160 lbf.
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Clearly, those aircraft would not be as efficient and optimized as those Airbus.A320neo aircraft powered by Image.PW1100G, ‘2,5’-shaft, high-bypass, geared, turbofan engine (fan diameter: 2.057,4 mm / 81,0 in; BPR: 12,5:1; gear ratio: 3,0625:1; eng. architecture: 1F-]G[-3LPC–8HPC2HPT–3LPT), OPR: 50,0:1, rated up to 147,28 kN / 15.018 kgf / 33.110 lbf or Image.LEAP-1A, twin-shaft, high-bypass, turbofan engine (fan diameter: 78,0 in / 1.981,2 mm; BPR: 11,0:1; eng. architecture: 1F+3LPC–10HPC2HPT–7LPT), OPR: 40,0:1, rated up to 143,05 kN / 14.588 kgf / 32.160 lbf, but still they would be more advanced, optimized and efficient than the Airbus.A320ceo aircraft powered by either Image.CFM56-5B, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofans (fan diameter: 1.734,8 mm / 68,3 in; BPR: (5,4-6,0):1; eng. architecture: 1F-4LPC–9HPC1HPT–4LPT), OPR: (32,6-35-5):1, rated up to 142,34 kN / 14.515 kgf / 32.000 lbf or by Image.V2500-A5, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofans (fan diameter: 1.612,9 mm / 63,5 in; BPR: (4,5-5,4):1; eng. architecture: 1F-4LPC–10HPC2HPT–5LPT), OPR: (32,8-36,2):1, rated up to 140,55 kN / 14.332 kgf / 31.600 lbf.
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………………Image
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From the very beginning my idea of powering the 4th generation of the Image.737 aircraft was including GTF engine ( 737 FOUR ); four (4) Image.PW1600G, ‘2,5’-shaft, high-bypass, geared, turbofan engine (fan diameter: 56,0 in / 1.422,4 mm; BPR: 9,0:1, gear ratio: 2,409:1; eng. architecture: 1F-]G[-2LPC–8HPC〧2HPT–3LPT), OPR: 50,0:1, rated between 66,60 kN / 6.791 kgf / 14.972 lbf and 75,72 kN / 7.722 kgf / 17.023 lbf.
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The Image.PW1600G, ‘2,5’-shaft, high-bypass, geared turbofan engine is a custom designed and specially tailored version of the small-core Pratt & Whitney.PW1000G GTF engine (previously known as the PurePower Geared Turbofan™), already applied on the Image.SpaceJet ( MRJ ) powered by P&W.PW1200G GTF engine and also predicted for the Image.E175-E2 ( ERJ190-500 ) aircraft, foreseen to be powered by P&W.PW1700G GTFs.
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………………Image
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Those four engines would not bring a significant weight penalty to the aircraft, and in the same time these are more propulsive efficient engines in the comparison with the CFM LEAP-1Bs. Besides, due to the noticeably smaller (23,9 %) fan diameter (69,4 in / 1.762,8 mm vs 56,0 in / 1.422,4 mm) those engines could be far easier placed on a much more appropriate place under the Boeing 737’s wings. The wings should probably need some modifications to deal with somewhat higher, but differently distributed weight of the two smaller and lighter GTFs...
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...Image
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Image above: flydubai’s Image.737 MAX 8 aircraft; MSN 60966 / LN 6326, reg. A6-MAX, originally powered by two Image.LEAP-1B28, twin-shaft, high-bypass turbofans (fan diameter: 69,4 in / 1.762,8 mm; BPR: 9,0:1; eng. architecture: 1F+3LPC–10HPC2HPT–5LPT), OPR: 43,68:1, rated at 130,41 kN / 13.298 kgf / 29.317 lbf, here, just for this occasion as the Image.737 FOUR 8, powered by four Image.PW1615G, ‘2,5’-shaft, high-bypass, geared, turbofan engine (fan diameter: 56,0 in / 1.422,4 mm; BPR: 9,0:1, gear ratio: 2,409:1; eng. architecture: 1F-]G[-2LPC–8HPC2HPT–3LPT), OPR: 50,0:1, each rated at 66,60 kN / 6.791 kgf / 14.972 lbf ...
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Regardless of the fact how the situation with the Image.737 MAX will be developing, I certainly think that the smallest member of the family, 737-7, should be left out of the further development and the consideration. Originally based on the 737-700, The Boeing Company redesigned the MAX 7 (MTOW: 177.000 lb / 80.285 kg), derived from the MAX 8 (MTOW: 181.200 lb / 82.190 kg), announced at the July 2016 Farnborough Air Show, accommodating two more seat rows than the 737-700. The redesign uses the MAX 8’s wings and the landing gear, a pair of over-wing exits rather than the single-door configuration, a 46-inch longer aft fuselage and a 30-inch longer forward fuselage, structural re-gauging and strengthening, systems and interior modifications to accommodate the longer length. By the end of February 2019 the MAX 7 had only 60 orders, among approximately 5.000 MAX’s total orders ...
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Simply put; the time ran over those short ‘heavy-weight’ narrowbodies like the Image.A319neo and the Image.737 MAX 7.
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...A partially reworked original graph below (click on it for a larger view) shows the Image.A220-100 aircraft positioned somewhere between the two new Image.E-Jet E2 aircraft models: E190-E2 ( ERJ 190-300 ) and E195-E2 ( ERJ 190-400 ). Also it’s visible the Image.A220-300 model, in some aspects, is quite comparable with the upcoming Image.737 MAX 7 and Image.A319neo aircraft.
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...Image
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...The possible streched and recently often mentioned version of the aircraft, Airbus A220-500, would even enter the area so far reserved for the already existing single-aisle aircraft models, the Image.A320neo and the Image.737 MAX 8. No doubt, with a stretched A220-500 model, Airbus SE factory would take the competition well into their own and already existing, but also The Boeing Company’s narrobodies’ domain …
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...Image
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...I have started to work on this post weeks ago, stumbling on many doubts and uncertainties. I have no idea how many times I have closed and reopened it and every time it was harder and harder for me to move on. Frankly, in this moment, far more than that what You will be thinking on me because of what I have written, it is important to me how this whole situation will be solved.
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...Now, I feel somehow relieved … because to keep all this I have written here, in one moment, became just too much burden for me. I just hope this whole nightmare won’t last for a long and that all of us will be witnessing to the new life of the Boeing 737 aircraft. And … this is it …
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Mario
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile" - Albert Einstein
 
DeltaMD11
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Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2002 4:56 am

Re: Boeing 737 MAX - the Way of Return to the Skies

Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:26 pm

This post is a nightmare and doesn’t cover anything the other posts have not already touched on twenty times over. It’s nothing but copied specifications and conjecture.

Mods please lock this. I haven’t posted in years but this one I felt compelled to respond to.
Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
 
bob75013
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Re: Boeing 737 MAX - the Way of Return to the Skies

Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:41 pm

I would reply -- except I don't have three hours to read your post.
 
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Pudelhund
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Re: Boeing 737 MAX - the Way of Return to the Skies

Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:42 pm

Including all of the logos and changing typefaces makes this unreadable drivel. It’s like a teenage girl’s MySpace page from 2004.
 
tys777
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Re: Boeing 737 MAX - the Way of Return to the Skies

Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:47 pm

Already have various Max related threads.

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