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flyingturtle
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Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:37 am

Hiya folks,


just seeing a size comparison between the GE90 engine and the 737 on Facebook, I wanted to ask you this question: Why wasn't the 737 designed with bigger engines and longer landing gears from the beginning? Everybody™ knows the 737 is in a dead end compared to the 320 (which soon will replace the 757 and transport fish over the big pond), so it was a lack of foresight by Boeing?

Wookiepedia: "Preliminary design work began on May 11, 1964, and Boeing's intense market research yielded plans for a 50- to 60-passenger airliner for routes 50 to 1,000 mi (80 to 1,609 km) long."

If it was known to Boeing that engrossed, engaged engine engineers would come up with the CFM56 just a few years later, would they have built a plane with longer landing gears to begin with?


David
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:45 am

Have a look at pictures of the 737-100 and -200. The JT8 engine that the airframe was designed for was massively smaller than the later larger-fan engines of the classics and beyond. Every version from the -300 onward has had design compromises in order to fit the oversized engines, so it's safe to assume that had Boeing known larger diameter engines were in the offing they would have designed the airframe to better accommodate them.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:03 am

skyhawkmatthew wrote:
so it's safe to assume that had Boeing known larger diameter engines were in the offing they would have designed the airframe to better accommodate them.


Thanks for your reply!

Would the 737-100 have suffered from too much drag if they built it to the size of a 320 with the original 737-100 engines, but while installing the same number of seats?


David
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:03 am

The 737 Jurassic was designed for the airport environment of the 1960s and early 1970s. It was the regional jet of its era, tailored to operate in large part out of smaller airports without much equipment. Airbridges were not common yet. Like many smaller airliners of the era it was designed to have relatively short gear legs to make servicing easier, and to avoid the need for tall airstairs. The DC-9/MD-80 shares this short stance, but was somewhat fortuitously at least somewhat future proofed by its engine placement.

Initial design on the CFM56 didn't start until half a decade later than the launch of the 737. The development of increasingly large fans was predicted given the 747 and the C-5. What was almost certainly not predicted was the 737 model continuing to be sold decades later. Further, if Boeing had built a "taller" 737 from the get-go, it would have suffered in sales at the time. Operators needed an aircraft that would work at the time it was sold, not an airplane that was (maybe) future proofed against the unimaginably futuristic world of the late early nineties.

flyingturtle wrote:
skyhawkmatthew wrote:
so it's safe to assume that had Boeing known larger diameter engines were in the offing they would have designed the airframe to better accommodate them.


Thanks for your reply!

Would the 737-100 have suffered from too much drag if they built it to the size of a 320 with the original 737-100 engines, but while installing the same number of seats?


David


The gear retracts so no biggie there. Mostly an issue of lots more weight for the landing gear and support structure I think.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:01 pm

Remember, the 737 wasn't a sales success until the -300 version. The -9 was queen for short haul in the late '60s into the '70s
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:52 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Remember, the 737 wasn't a sales success until the -300 version. The -9 was queen for short haul in the late '60s into the '70s


Almost 1,600 737-200s were built, versus 976 DC-9s (pre-MD-80 etc.) Of course the DC-9 preceded the 737 into production by a few years, so several US carriers had already committed to the DC-9 before the 737 arrived.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 02, 2017 6:03 pm

The 727 and 737 evolved from the 707 fuselage.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:58 am

The JT-8D was the second generation turbojet/turbofan engine following the J-57, J75, and J79 turbojets that prevailed in the late 1950's and early '60's. Along with development of the B707, DC-8 and Convair 880/990, short haul designs using two engines on underslung pylons of similar design were considered and discarded for a number of reasons. Large diameter high bypass turbofans came many years later after the earlier engines grew from 10,000 to around 20,000 lbs of thrust.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:19 am

The -200 production us more like 1100-ish, Irish. I wouldn't guessed it was that many; Boeing considered shutting down 737 production in '71

GF
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:17 am

iRISH251 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Remember, the 737 wasn't a sales success until the -300 version. The -9 was queen for short haul in the late '60s into the '70s


Almost 1,600 737-200s were built, versus 976 DC-9s (pre-MD-80 etc.) Of course the DC-9 preceded the 737 into production by a few years, so several US carriers had already committed to the DC-9 before the 737 arrived.


737-200 production ended in 1988 with just shy of 1,100 units built. You've got to remember that the 200 didn't see great sales in the US originally after United's original order until US, WN and PI ordered them in the late 70's/early 80's as the DC-9 variants did the trick, especially the -30.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:02 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
Why wasn't the 737 designed with bigger engines and longer landing gears from the beginning? Everybody™ knows the 737 is in a dead end compared to the 320 (which soon will replace the 757 and transport fish over the big pond), so it was a lack of foresight by Boeing?


The original 737 with it's max capacity of around 120 passengers has been subsequently stretched to a maximum capacity of around 220 passengers. Perhaps asking if a design that contained the ability to almost double in size lacked foresight in design may be a bit harsh.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:03 pm

Boeing, nor anyone else, had any idea that the 737 would define the largest commercial jet niche ever. It was designed for short and small (both the plane and the engine). Airbus wisely identified the importance of that niche, and optimized it. Ironically the two planes have practically evolved into a 707 replacement, keeping their weight under control and adding seats and range.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:00 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
skyhawkmatthew wrote:
so it's safe to assume that had Boeing known larger diameter engines were in the offing they would have designed the airframe to better accommodate them.


Thanks for your reply!

Would the 737-100 have suffered from too much drag if they built it to the size of a 320 with the original 737-100 engines, but while installing the same number of seats?


David


To add to the other replies, it is hard to argue that an airplane designed in the mid-60's should be made to accommodate an engine that wouldn't be available until the mid-70's at the earliest.

The Mercure, an airplane with a 1974 EIS, still used the same base engine as the original 737, the JT8D.

Although the CFM-56 first ran in 1974, it didn't enter service until 1982 as a replacement engine for KC-135's and DC-8's.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:00 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
If it was known to Boeing that engrossed, engaged engine engineers would come up with the CFM56 just a few years later, would they have built a plane with longer landing gears to begin with?


I'd imagine they would have, yes. Boeing would have been daft not to take advantage of new engine technology.

But as it is, the 737 is a product of it's time. The fact it has doubled in size and seen significant range increases and efficiency gains since the first 100 rolled out of the factory is a testament to Boeing's ingenuity.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:17 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Boeing, nor anyone else, had any idea that the 737 would define the largest commercial jet niche ever. It was designed for short and small (both the plane and the engine). Airbus wisely identified the importance of that niche, and optimized it. Ironically the two planes have practically evolved into a 707 replacement, keeping their weight under control and adding seats and range.


This begs the question if there is any aircraft model that was future-proofed from inception... :scratchchin:


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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:54 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
This begs the question if there is any aircraft model that was future-proofed from inception... :scratchchin:


Well, the 737 was developed 50 years ago and has a backlog approaching 3,500 orders on backlog. I'd say that comes pretty close.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:17 pm

flyingturtle wrote:

This begs the question if there is any aircraft model that was future-proofed from inception... :scratchchin:


David

A330/340 family?
But then the A380 wing - Airbus thought they had learned how to future proof. Only the future was not as they had imagined it.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:03 pm

flyingturtle wrote:
Hiya folks,


just seeing a size comparison between the GE90 engine and the 737 on Facebook, I wanted to ask you this question: Why wasn't the 737 designed with bigger engines and longer landing gears from the beginning? Everybody™ knows the 737 is in a dead end compared to the 320 (which soon will replace the 757 and transport fish over the big pond), so it was a lack of foresight by Boeing?

Wookiepedia: "Preliminary design work began on May 11, 1964, and Boeing's intense market research yielded plans for a 50- to 60-passenger airliner for routes 50 to 1,000 mi (80 to 1,609 km) long."

If it was known to Boeing that engrossed, engaged engine engineers would come up with the CFM56 just a few years later, would they have built a plane with longer landing gears to begin with?


David



Uhhh No -- Not everyone knows this. Actually, the 737 MAX will compete very nicely against the 320NEO. Sure, the 321 appears to have a slight leg up on the 737-9MAX, mostly due to the poor performance resulting from the shorter gear, but it's still a very very good airplane. Then, if we talk about the 737-8 MAX, it will likely perform every bit as good as the 320NEO.

It's actually quite remarkable that a plane designed in the 60's can still compete with a design from the late 80's and shows what a great airplane the 737 is.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:06 pm

Everybody always forgets B purposely did not allow the 737 to step on existing sales of the larger 727...followed by the 757, until these aircraft were no longer sold. WN and LCC's saved the 737, but not the other B narrow-bodies. Thus the shorter gear and smaller engines make sense -- and in fact could be argued that the short, squat 737 was an advantage due to weight -- until the current NEO era where larger fans are the efficiency driver.

Alas, the end is coming...all these proposals for -9 MAX stretches, -10 and landing gear mods look a lot like how the MD-80/90/95 ended its life trying to fill market niches when it was clearly past its time.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:24 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
The -200 production us more like 1100-ish, Irish. I wouldn't guessed it was that many; Boeing considered shutting down 737 production in '71


OldAeroGuy wrote:
Although the CFM-56 first ran in 1974, it didn't enter service until 1982 as a replacement engine for KC-135's and DC-8's.


And from what I read CFM was two weeks away from shutting down when it won the KC-135 contract. Amazing to think how close the product came to being abandoned.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:24 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Boeing, nor anyone else, had any idea that the 737 would define the largest commercial jet niche ever. It was designed for short and small (both the plane and the engine). Airbus wisely identified the importance of that niche, and optimized it. Ironically the two planes have practically evolved into a 707 replacement, keeping their weight under control and adding seats and range.

Comparing the specs, a 738 is basically a 1:1 707-100 replacement that burns half the fuel. Even then, none of the 737/321neos can do 5000 nm with 150 pax like a 320B could.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:22 am

flyingturtle wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
Boeing, nor anyone else, had any idea that the 737 would define the largest commercial jet niche ever. It was designed for short and small (both the plane and the engine). Airbus wisely identified the importance of that niche, and optimized it. Ironically the two planes have practically evolved into a 707 replacement, keeping their weight under control and adding seats and range.


This begs the question if there is any aircraft model that was future-proofed from inception... :scratchchin:


David



B747 fits that description pretty well, from the 747-100 through steady updating and improvement in efficiency and performance all the way to the -8


From 700,000 to 987,000 pounds MGTOW with the same basic airframe, it's potential was simply amazing.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:28 am

phllax wrote:
iRISH251 wrote:

737-200 production ended in 1988 with just shy of 1,100 units built. You've got to remember that the 200 didn't see great sales in the US originally after United's original order until US, WN and PI ordered them in the late 70's/early 80's as the DC-9 variants did the trick, especially the -30.


It didn't help sales that the 737 required a 3 man crew initially (until the late 70's), where the DC-9's only required a 2 man crew.

QuarkFly wrote:
Everybody always forgets B purposely did not allow the 737 to step on existing sales of the larger 727...followed by the 757, until these aircraft were no longer sold


For good reason, it's another a.net myth. 727 orders peaked in 1977 with the coming of the 757, not the 733. And the 734 (a more comparable model to the 727) was not announced until after the last 727 was delivered. Similarly with the 757.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:40 am

flyingturtle wrote:
Hiya folks,


just seeing a size comparison between the GE90 engine and the 737 on Facebook, I wanted to ask you this question: Why wasn't the 737 designed with bigger engines and longer landing gears from the beginning? Everybody™ knows the 737 is in a dead end compared to the 320 (which soon will replace the 757 and transport fish over the big pond), so it was a lack of foresight by Boeing?

Wookiepedia: "Preliminary design work began on May 11, 1964, and Boeing's intense market research yielded plans for a 50- to 60-passenger airliner for routes 50 to 1,000 mi (80 to 1,609 km) long."

If it was known to Boeing that engrossed, engaged engine engineers would come up with the CFM56 just a few years later, would they have built a plane with longer landing gears to begin with?
because it evolved from the B737-200 that came with a JT8 that had at best a 42 inch intake so the gear could be short. They needed to get new gear when the -300 came out but they made the nose cowl an Odd shape so as to Not have to put new gear underneath. though they did use larger wheels on the Nose gear..
with new longer gear they could install a larger nose cowl for a larger intake to let the airplane have the thrust the airplane deserves. Though it might cut into the level where the B757 replacement will go.

David
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:19 pm

NameOmitted wrote:
flyingturtle wrote:
Why wasn't the 737 designed with bigger engines and longer landing gears from the beginning? Everybody™ knows the 737 is in a dead end compared to the 320 (which soon will replace the 757 and transport fish over the big pond), so it was a lack of foresight by Boeing?


The original 737 with it's max capacity of around 120 passengers has been subsequently stretched to a maximum capacity of around 220 passengers. Perhaps asking if a design that contained the ability to almost double in size lacked foresight in design may be a bit harsh.

Exactly. We're talking about a design going through its 3rd re-engine! (Early CFM-56 are not today's CFM56-7). Yes, the LEAP-1B is shoehorned onto the airframe.

All:
But recall by 1980s standards, selling a thousand is an outstanding success! The 732 struggled, but there was a success. Pratt made a huge error canceling the JT10D...

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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:32 pm

Those that keep asking about a twin-engine version of the A380 (I'm not saying it is possible) should contemplate the B737 and, for that matter the B757, and its relationship to the B707. In many aspects they are twin versions of the 707. Yes, loads new avionics, ECP for the materials and construction, but basically that's true with certain compromises.

GF
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:59 am

NameOmitted wrote:
flyingturtle wrote:
This begs the question if there is any aircraft model that was future-proofed from inception... :scratchchin:


Well, the 737 was developed 50 years ago and has a backlog approaching 3,500 orders on backlog. I'd say that comes pretty close.

The Classic to NG revamp was comparable to a new design. ( Just put a 737-100 side by side to a 737-800 :-)
And only in conjunction with the grandfathered "lesser certification requirements" is it really as viable as the competing design.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:47 am

OldAeroGuy wrote:
The Mercure, an airplane with a 1974 EIS, still used the same base engine as the original 737, the JT8D.



Powering the 727, 737, DC-9, MD80 series as well as the Mercure, the JT8D was the CFM56 of its time. It even powered the Viggen in its military version. I would think it was not before the early 2000's that the CFM56 surpassed historical JT8D sales...


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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:19 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Those that keep asking about a twin-engine version of the A380 (I'm not saying it is possible) should contemplate the B737 and, for that matter the B757, and its relationship to the B707. In many aspects they are twin versions of the 707. Yes, loads new avionics, ECP for the materials and construction, but basically that's true with certain compromises.

GF

I'm not sure I'd go that far; it's really only the fuselage that is the same, and even then I believe there are some geometry differences in the lower lobe.

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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:21 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Boeing, nor anyone else, had any idea that the 737 would define the largest commercial jet niche ever.


Indeed, if someone had mooted back in the late 1960s when the Piglet first appeared that it would still be in production almost 50 years later, be the length of a Boeing 720, and remain a very successful aeroplane, we would all have dismissed such a forecast as fantasy.
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:51 pm

WIederling wrote:
The Classic to NG revamp was comparable to a new design. ( Just put a 737-100 side by side to a 737-800 :-)
And only in conjunction with the grandfathered "lesser certification requirements" is it really as viable as the competing design.


That's fair. That being said, if you set the first date of controlled, powered flight in 1903, the Jurassic 737 was in production for just under a quarter of the time we have been flying (27 years of production). I'd call that reasonably future-proofed. ;)
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:06 pm

FriscoHeavy wrote:
Sure, the 321 appears to have a slight leg up on the 737-9MAX, mostly due to the poor performance resulting from the shorter gear, but it's still a very very good airplane.

Slight leg up? Boeing has sold 418 Max 9's, while Airbus has sold 1384 A321Neo's, or more than 3:1.
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:38 pm

Well, back in the day, air travel was pretty damn expensive, remember, when it rolled out (737-100), it would b a year until the 747. It was only the start of the jet age, that's about as expensive and risky (Investment-wise) as a private trip to space
 
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:38 pm

NameOmitted wrote:
WIederling wrote:
The Classic to NG revamp was comparable to a new design. ( Just put a 737-100 side by side to a 737-800 :-)
And only in conjunction with the grandfathered "lesser certification requirements" is it really as viable as the competing design.


That's fair. That being said, if you set the first date of controlled, powered flight in 1903, the Jurassic 737 was in production for just under a quarter of the time we have been flying (27 years of production). I'd call that reasonably future-proofed. ;)

I see your point.
( though the Classic took over from the Jurassic in 1984, ~17years, Classic from there to 2000, then the NG. 2016->: MAX. note the rather regular 16..17 years cycles :-)

Didn't Boeing at one time contemplate selling the line to China or elsewhere :-?
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Re: Why was the 737 designed that way?

Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:01 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Those that keep asking about a twin-engine version of the A380 (I'm not saying it is possible) should contemplate the B737 and, for that matter the B757, and its relationship to the B707. In many aspects they are twin versions of the 707. Yes, loads new avionics, ECP for the materials and construction, but basically that's true with certain compromises.

GF

That is an important point. WIth the MAX, the 737 will indeed fully occupy all the early 707 niches. It will fly TATL on short range (early 707) over-ocean missions.

Will much lower fuel burn.
A tiny fraction of the maintenance.

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