It is at Auburn in Washington state, that Boeing has just started production of the first parts of their future 737 MAX. There is nothing spectacular about these primary structural elements in themselves, but they do play a crucial role. Called “stringers’’ they act like metallic beams that run the entire length of the fuselage to provide rigidity and strength to the airframe of an aircraft.
Once produced, these structural parts will go to Wichita, Kansas where they will form part of the various fuselage sections of this version of the remotorised Boeing 737. The fuselage will then be transferred by rail to the final assembly line in Renton in the U.S. north west.
The assembly of the first 737 MAX for flight testing is expected to begin next year at the 380,000 sq. m. (almost 4,100,000 sq. ft.) plant where a third assembly line will be built in 2017.
Being 14% more fuel efficient, and capable of flying 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) further than the current 737 NG, the American 200-seater twin-jet continues to garner orders. With the latest contract signed on October 13th by the Indonesian company Garuda for 50 units, the MAX now totals nearly 2,300 firm orders. List price of the first version 737 MAX 8 produced, stands at 107 million dollars each.
Its maiden flight is expected in 2016, with the first delivery scheduled for 2017.