Half a century ago this month, Boeing’s 737 made its first flight and the twinjet has gone on to become the industry’s short-haul workhorse.
Between the first 737-100 completing its maiden flight on 9 April 1967, and the take-off today of the latest variant, the 737 Max 9, Boeing has built and delivered some 9,450 examples of the twinjet. These historical pictures from the Boeing images archive highlight the key milestones and derivatives over the 737’s first 50 years.
The first flight of the original Pratt & Whitney JT8D-powered 737-100 from Boeing Field in Seattle would mark the start of something special in the airliner sector, and lead to an epic production run.
The slightly larger 737-200 series formed the bedrock of the twinjet’s early success, securing 1,114 orders.
Boeing first re-invented the 737 in the 1980s with new-generation CFM56 engines. Its -400 was the largest of the three early variants.
The next-Generation family, which arrived in 1997, has so far proved the most popular 737 iteration.
Corporate derivatives are offered under the Boeing Business Jet brand.
The -900 arrived in 2000, taking the 737’s size far beyond anything first envisaged.
The Wedgetail derivative of the 737-700 is one of several military variants developed.
The Max, which is the latest and greatest 737, broke cover in December 2015 in its initial guise – the Max 8.
The second iteration of 737 Max, the Max 9, completed a 2h 42min maiden flight on 13 April 2017.