November 2010 Boeing updates
Well here is some news that I thought was worth sharing.
737NG Improvement package
Boeing is using a Continental (or should I say United) 737-800 as test bed for their new 737NG performance improvement package. The airplane, N76528 (cn 31663/3464), a 737-824, will also be Continentals first 737 with Boeing's Sky Interior when delivered. During the course of flight testing, the airplane will test out new CFM56-7BE engines. Previously, Boeing used a 737-900ER in the Summer of 2009 to test out a the new CFM engine nacelle on Continentals N37434. If all goes according to plan, the new engine and additional performance upgrades will be used on all 737NG deliveries from mid-2011 onward. Hat tip to David and RSK for the heads up.
Air Australs first 737-800
Rolled out on 12 November and due out of the Renton paint hangar at the end of the week, F-ONGA (cn 40910/3484), will be the airlines first 737-800 and will be delivered to the airline in early December 2010. Air Austral made the order for two 737-800's in late 2009 to compliment their current fleet of 737 Classics. The second 737-800 is due to be rolled out in about two weeks.
Delivery of the airlines first 777 will be this week, but it will make a stop at Boeing Field on Wednesday and park at the Museum of Flight Thursday for a private delivery ceremony. Delivery ceremonies at the Museum of Flight are not uncommon, particularly because the museum is located in the City of Tukwila, where the sales tax rates are less than in Everett or Seattle. The airplane is due to make a one way commercial flight from Seattle-Tacoma International airport on Friday, 19 November, to IAD and then on to ADD. Hat tip to Tim for the info.
The 3500th 737NG
The fuselage section of 737NG No. 3500 was rolled off a rail car and into the Boeing Renton factory last week. The airplane, a 737-8V3, will be going to Copa Airlines as HP-1716CMP (cn 40361/3500). The 3000th 737NG went to Jet Airways in September 2009, but wore no special markings. I wouldn't expect any special markings for this one either. The current production rate of the 737NG is roughly 31 planes per month, with the intention of increasing to 38 a month by 2012.
Boeing 717 at Boeing Field
More interestingly, on the Boeing Seattle ramp. The Ex-Midwest 717, reg'd N912ME, arrived late Friday afternoon from Victorville and is still parked on the Boeing ramp as of today.
N794BA gone for good
The Ex-Korean Air Cargo 747-400 BCF that was assisting the 747-8F programme in wake turbulence testing was flown down to Pinal Airpark in Marana, AZ in early November to get ready to be leased out to a cargo operator. The airplane was only with flight test programme for three months.
P-8A T-4 flown
The fourth airworthy P-8A Poseidon took it's first flight from RNT on 18 October 2010. The airplane was subsequently rolled into the 14-01 building, a former 737 assembly plant across the street from BFI, two days after it's first flight. In order to fit inside the hangar and make it across East Marginal Way, the raked winglets were removed. The plane will have it's electronic equipment installed at BFI and then flown to Naval Air Station Patuxent River to join T-1, T-2, and T-3 with their flight testing by the US Navy. The fifth P-8A is on the assembly line at RNT and is due to roll out in December. The next P-8 off the line should be the first Indian Navy P-8I due for preliminary delivery in early 2011.