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Boeing nears 737-900ER design freeze


Boeing has completed 90% of the drawings for its planned 737-900ER aircraft, a milestone that indicates most of the engineering work necessary to build parts and tools have been finalized and released to manufacturing.

“This is a critical milestone for the airplane as we make the transition from the development phase to the production phase,” says 737 chief project engineer Mike Delaney in a statement. “With most of the drawings complete, our suppliers and fabrication plants can begin manufacturing detailed parts.”

Boeing says its design milestone was reached on the target date. It is also on schedule to begin final assembly of the first 737-900ER at its Renton, Washington facility this spring.

The first 737-900ER is scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2007 to Indonesian carrier Lion Air after a five-month flight test program, which will include two flight test aircraft.

This latest derivative of Boeing’s best selling aircraft is being designed to carry up to 215 passengers and fly up to 3,200nm (5,900km). The redesigned airframe incorporates an additional pair of exit doors, a flat rear pressure bulkhead, and aerodynamic and structural design changes to increase low-speed and cruise performance.

DARREN SHANNON / WASHINGTON, DC

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