Sample Aviation Term Paper on The History of Boeing 737

The history of Boeing 737

The Boeing 737 idea

The period 1958 saw Boeing announce a design for a twin-engine feeder airliner in order to complete the Boeing passengers’ family jets. The first order was placed in the year 1965 and the task of building Boeing 737 proceeded.  In fact, the 737 has since been the best selling commercial airliner within the aviation industry (Shaw, 1999). This aircraft revolutionized the design of airplanes.

As of January 2017, the Boeing 737 is the best-selling airliner with orders exceeding more than 14000 airliners from about 290 customers across the globe.  More than 9,000 Boeing 737s have been produced and delivered ever since. With about 6,500 airliners in service, the 737s represents a quarter of the globe’s fleet of large commercial jets. In the year 2006, the 5000th 737 Boeing was delivered to the Southwest Airlines. The Boeing 737 remains the most ordered and produced large commercial airliners in the history of aviation.  In fact, approximately 31 percent of all the commercial flights are being operated by the 737s. Most of the airlines in about 112 nations are Boeing 737, and on average, more than 2000 Boeing 737 are in the air at any particular point.

737s have transported more than 16.8 billion people across the continent. This is equivalent to each person, flying at least twice. These aircrafts have flown more than 115 billion miles and have had more than 180 million flights. In terms of hours, 737s have flown more than 257.5 million hours, meaning that each airplane has flown more than 29,415 years without stop.

The Boeing 737 Design

The Boeing wanted to design a true short-haul airplane to complete the Caravelle, or the BAC One-Eleven and the DC-9, but it was by far behind them. In essence, the DC-9 was already about to make its flight, while the One-Eleven was preparing its first test flight program. The Caravelle, on the other hand, had already been in service for about five years (Hill, 2002). This meant that Boeing had a long journey to catch up with them. It is this realization that set designers Jack Steiner as well as Joseph Sutter on motion and began working on the Boeing 737 in 1964.

The first and original specification in 1964 was meant to transport a capacity of about 60-85 passengers, with an economical operating range of 100 – 1000 miles. It was also supposed to break-even at a 35 percent load factor. From the original design, customers placed a number of orders and capacity later increased to 100 passengers; though, the range as well as load factor still remained the same.

The Boeing 737 First Flight

                  Boeing 737’s maiden flight took place on 9 April the year 1967, two years after the project was started.  Overseeing the operations was the assistant director Wygle Brien and Lew Wallick the first chief pilot to fly the airplane. Flight tests then continued and a number of changes were made to the airplane with time, including landing gear door seals. However, the earliest Boeing 737 had a number of problems such as clamshell door thrust reversers, which failed to work effectively. It also had a shimmy in landing gear. Boeing 737 gained its first FAA type certification in December 1967 (Nicholls, 2003).


Beeck, J. K. (2015). Boeing: Commercial aircraft since 1919.

Hill, M. L. (2002). Boeing 737. Marlborough: Crowood.

Nicholls, M. (2003). The Airliner World book of the Boeing 737. Stamford: Key.

Shaw, R. (1999). Boeing 737-300 to 800. Osceola, WI: MBI Pub. Co.