Boeing’s newest breed of airplane, the fuel-efficient 737 MAX, took to the air for the first time on Jan. 29– and the first pilots to fly it had nothing but glowing reviews.
“This is our first airplane of our second century, and I just have to say, wow, this is an amazing machine,” chief test pilot Craig Bomben told reporters afterward at Seattle’s Boeing Field, in a reference to the Boeing Co.’s centennial this year.
737 MAX chief pilot Ed Wilson said that the nearly three-hour flight occasionally got “a little rough up there,” due to the rainy weather, but that the plane worked like a charm. “This airplane is ready to go to test. … We are off and running,” he said.
For this first flight, the jet was limited to traveling at a speed of no more than 250 knots, and rising no higher than 25,000 feet. “We just let it cruise,” Wilson said.
The latest incarnation of the long-lived 737 line will undergo months of testing and certification, leading up to the first deliveries to customers in 2017. Southwest Airlines, which is due to receive the first planes, tweeted its congratulations during the nearly three-hour maiden flight.