Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh has announced that the company will fit a 68in CFM Leap-1B engine on its 737 MAX family. In addition, the design will add fly-by-wire “one control surface” and the larger fan will prompt a 6-8in extension of the nose landing gear.
Albaugh also says that the company now holds “north of 600 commitments” for the re-engined narrowbody. UPDATE: This has grown from five to eight customers.
UPDATE: In August when the 737 MAX was officially launched, Albaugh said: “Certainly with the 66 [inches] there’s no modifications, and I think even with the 68 [inches] a very low probability we’ll have to touch the front gear.”
The question of whether or not a nose blister for the larger gear comes into the fray, however, a year ago Boeing said it had essentially cracked the problem by relocating equipment from the forward electronics equipment bay and creating a larger nose landing gear wheel well for the extended strut. Also, company sources point to the spoilers as the recipient of the fly-by-wire upgrade.
UPDATE 1:30 PM ET: Boeing has just put out a release saying the 737 MAX will achieve firm configuration in 2013, with first flight of the type to follow in 2016.
Photo & Slide Credit Boeing