Boeing's new 737 MAX 7 aircraft completes successful maiden flight
The aircraft is the third and latest member of Boeing's 737 MAX family, with a maximum capacity of 172 passengers and a range of 3,850 nautical miles (about 7,130 km), the longest of the MAX-series planes.
As the shortest jet among Boeing's MAX jetliners, which is only less than 118 feet (36 meters) long, the 737 MAX 7 model boasts a more efficient engine and has split-tip winglets, which help improve the wings' efficiency.
The maiden flight started earlier in the day at Boeing's Renton Plant in Washington state on the U.S. West Coast, and ended successfully after three hours and five minutes when the plane landed at Boeing's Seattle Field, also in Washington state.
"Everything we saw during today's flight shows that the MAX 7 is performing exactly as designed," Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement.
The newest model is the smallest among Boeing's 50-year-old 737 passenger aircraft, of which the original version made its debut flight in 1967.
The jet will undergo several additional comprehensive tests, which are required for the plane's certification and delivery in 2019.
The 737 MAX planes are the fastest-selling ones in Boeing's history, already receiving more than 4,300 orders from 93 customers worldwide, Boeing said. ■