The Boeing 737 Classic is the name given to the -300/-400/-500 series of the Boeing 737 following the introduction of the -600/-700/-800/-900 series. They are short- to medium- range, narrow-body jet airliners produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The Classic series was introduced as the 'new generation' of the 737. Produced from 1984 to 2000, 1,988 aircraft were delivered.
Following the success of the Boeing 737-200 Advanced, Boeing wanted to increase capacity and range, incorporating improvements to upgrade the plane to modern specifications, while also retaining commonality with previous 737 variants. Development began in 1979, and in 1980 preliminary aircraft specifications were released at the Farnborough Airshow. In March 1981 USAir and Southwest Airlines each ordered 10 aircraft, with an option for 20 more.
The new series featured CFM56 turbofan engines, which yielded significant gains in fuel economy and a reduction in noise, but also posed an engineering challenge given the low ground clearance of the 737. Boeing and engine supplier CFMI solved the problem by placing the engine ahead of (rather than below) the wing, and by moving engine accessories to the sides (rather than the bottom) of the engine pod, giving the 737 a distinctive non-circular air intake.
The wing incorporated a number of changes for improved aerodynamics. The wing tip was extended 9 inches (23 cm). The leading-edge slots and trailing-edge flaps were adjusted. The flight deck was improved with the optional EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrumentation System), and the passenger cabin incorporated improvements similar to those on the Boeing 757.
The Boeing 737 family is the most successful airliner lineage in the world. Orders for the first-generation Boeing 737-100 and 737-200 were placed in 1965 and since then, over 6,000 aircraft were produced.
The family consists of three generations of aircraft. The earliest was the Boeing 737 Original (which included the Boeing 737-100, -200 and -200 Advanced), followed by the Boeing 737 Classic series (including the Boeing 737-300, -400 and -500) and the Boeing 737 Next Generation, or Boeing 737 NG (including the Boeing 737-600, -700, -800 and -900).
Boeing 737 Original series which include the highly popular Boeing 737-200, as well as its somewhat less successful brother, the -100, and its updated version, the Boeing 737-200 Advanced, were designed for short- to medium-range flights. These early models of the 737 were manufactured from 1967 to 1985, totaling 1,831 aircraft.
Near the beginning of the 80s, the 737 was updated with newer CFM56 engines and digital avionics, which gave rise to the Boeing 737 Classic series. The success of the first plane in the new series, the 737-300, in turn led to the development of two other versions: the 737-400, with a longer fuselage and more carrying capacity, and the 737-500, a shorter variant with a greater range. Between 1984 and 2000 almost 1,990 planes of the Boeing 737 Classic series were produced.
1997 saw the introduction of the new and improved Boeing 737 NG (Next Generation) series, outfitted with more efficient engines, an updated wing design, featuring a larger area and the ability to mount winglets, and better-equipped passenger sections. These newer planes are capable of achieving faster flight speeds, longer travel distances and more efficient fuel consumption than their predecessors. The Boeing 737 NG series are currently still being manufactured and, alongside the Airbus A320 family, are the most common medium-range airliners in the world.
Presently, the Boeing Corporation is developing a new generation of airliners based on the Boeing 737, under the name of Boeing 737 MAX. Meant to replace the Boeing 737 NG, the new series of jets will include 3 base models: 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9. The aircraft will receive minor modifications to the fuselage and wings, and will also be outfitted with new, more efficient engines. The first planes of the 737 MAX series are expected to enter service in 2017.
Cruise speed: 917 km/h
Total range: 3 440 km
Engines: 2 x CFM International 56-3B-1
Wingspan: 28.88 m
Length: 33.4 m
Height: 11.13 m
Height: 11.13 m
Width: 2.20 m
Passengers: up to 99