The Boeing 737 MAX 9 completed last week its first flight in the skies above Puget Sound, along the northwestern coast of the U.S. state of Washington.
The 737 MAX program achieved the milestone on schedule, beginning a comprehensive flight-test program leading to certification and delivery.
The airplane completed on April 13 a successful 2 hour, 42-minute flight, taking off from Renton Field in Renton, Washington , at 10:52 a.m. local time and landing at 1:34 p.m. at Seattle’s Boeing Field.
Piloted by Boeing Test & Evaluation Captains Christine Walsh and Ed Wilson, the airplane performed tests on flight controls, systems and handling qualities. The MAX 9 will now undergo comprehensive flight testing before customer deliveries begin in 2018.
The 737 MAX 9 is the second member of Boeing's industry leading 737 MAX family, with a maximum capacity of 220 passengers and a range of 3,515 nautical miles.
“The 737 MAX team continues to fire on all cylinders. Each new milestone we meet builds knowledge and experience that gets leveraged to keep the program moving forward on track,” said Keith Leverkuhn , Vice President and General Manager, 737 MAX Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
The 737 MAX family has been designed to offer customers exceptional performance, flexibility and efficiency, with lower per-seat costs and an extended range that will open up new destinations in the single-aisle market. The MAX 8 and 9 will be followed in 2019 by the smaller MAX 7 and higher capacity MAX 200, while studies and customer discussions continue on further growing the family.
The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.
The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 3,700 orders to date from 86 customers worldwide.
Meanwhile, Boeing and Silk Way announced on 14 April 2017 an order for 10 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The order, valued at $1.1 billion at current list prices, was previously attributed to an unidentified customer on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website.
Azerbaijan-based Silk Way Group includes 23 companies working in the aviation industry and related services including passenger and cargo airlines. The airline currently operates seven Boeing airplanes, including two 767-300 Freighters, three 747-400 Freighters and three 747-8 Freighters.