Boeing unveils 737 MAX design elements

The Boeing Co. has made decisions about the design of its new 737 MAX, keeping the re-engined jet on track to offer improved fuel efficiency, the company said Wednesday.

The updated 737, which will be built in Renton, is still on track for delivery in 2017, Boeing said.

Design elements announced Wednesday on the 737 MAX include:

• Integrating the MAX’s engines with its wings, similar to the 787’s design.

• An extended tail cone to reduce drag and improve performance.

• The flight controls will include fly-by-wire spoilers, which will save weight by replacing a mechanical system.

Boeing estimates its 737 MAX will save customers 10 to 12 percent on fuel compared to the existing 737. The company also says its 737 MAX will be 7 percent more fuel efficient than rival Airbus’ new A320 new engine option aircraft.

The jet maker also plans to strengthen the MAX’s main landing gear, wing and fuselage to accommodate the increase in loads due to the larger engines. The aircraft will feature CFM International’s LEAP-1B engines. The MAX also will have an eight-inch nose gear extension in order to have the same ground clearance the existing 737 has while using the larger engines.

The company will continue to study other changes to the aircraft over the next year.

“Any new technology incorporated into the MAX design must offer substantial benefit to our customers with minimal risk for the team to pursue it,” Michael Teal, chief project engineer on the MAX, said in a statement. “On the 737 MAX we are following our disciplined development process and continue to work on an airplane configuration that will provide the most value for our customers.”

Boeing’s new 737 MAX has received commitments for more than 1,000 orders since its launch last August.

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