Boeing has delivered to United Airlines the 737-800 that the manufacturer used as the flying test bed for Boeing’s 737NG performance improvement package.
According to the manufacturer, the Boeing 737-800 played a key role in testing and certifying the performance improvement package (PIP) now available as the standard specification for production Next-Generation 737s.
Boeing began performance-improvement testing in November 2010 with the goal of reducing fuel consumption by up to 2 per cent. For customers, that would mean saving an average of $120,000 per aircraft, per year, based on current fuel prices, says Boeing.
The result of the testing is a package of performance improvements which includes aerodynamically shaped anti-collision lights, streamlined slat and spoiler trailing edges, wheel-well fairings re-contoured to smooth the air flow near the main landing gear, and a redesigned environmental control system exhaust vent.
Meanwhile, CFM International introduced the new CFM56-7BE engine for the PIP-specified 737, the CFM56-7BE being an enhanced version of the already fuel-efficient CFM56-7B. The improved design includes a high-pressure and low-pressure turbine modification which is now standard on all production 737s.
“The improved fuel savings is part of our commitment to deliver market-leading value to Next-Generation 737 customers,” says John Hamilton, vice president and chief project engineer for the 737 program.
With the testing done on the United Airlines aircraft, Boeing was able in July to begin delivering 737NGs featuring the performance improvement package.
United’s latest 737 delivery is its fifth 737NG with the Boeing Sky Interior. The new interior introduces new lighting and curving architecture that create a distinctive entryway. Boeing says passengers experience a greater sense of spaciousness in the cabin in a blue-sky-like environment simulated by light-emitting diode (LED) light. The new interior also features decorative sculpted sidewalls, as well as improved and expanded pivot stowage bins.
The 737-800 delivered to United in the week of August 15 marked the final 737 delivery for the carrier in 2011. United took delivery of three 737-800s and one 737-900ER earlier this year. In 2012, United will take 19 737-900ERs.