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Boeing Wichita Rolls Out First 737-700 Fuselage

WICHITA, Kan., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The question of the day at Boeing Commercial Airplane Group's Wichita Division is: When does one and one make one?

The answer was revealed here on Saturday, at the ceremonial rollout of the first complete one-piece fuselage for the Next-Generation 737-700 airplane.

The assembly and transportation of a one-piece fuselage marks a historic departure from the process used for the past 30 years of shipping by rail two separate 737 fuselage sections -- forward and aft -- to Wichita's sister division in Renton, Wash. There, the sections are joined, and final assembly and delivery takes place. The new approach simplifies the airplane's assembly process and will reduce the airplane's manufacturing cycle time.

The outdoor rollout was attended by thousands of program employees and their families, representatives of launch customer Southwest Airlines, and labor and community leaders. The fuselage, loaded on a railcar, made a grand entrance onto the ceremony site as it was pulled into view by a train engine. The rollout also featured static displays of the airplane's new engine strut and thrust reverser assemblies.

"This is history in the making, and you made it happen," Boeing Wichita Vice President-General Manager Jeff Turner told the gathering. "It took a lot of hard work and tender, loving care to build this airplane, which builds on the success of the world's best-selling airplane in commercial aviation history." The ceremony also featured remarks by Boeing Commercial Airplane Group President Ron Woodard.

Turner acknowledged Southwest Airlines and the 15 other worldwide customers for their role in helping to develop the newest series of 737s.

"We've come a long way together," he said, a dual reference to the "working together" tradition that Boeing has used to develop new and derivative airplanes, and to salute Southwest, now celebrating its 25th anniversary. Southwest, which launched the 737-700 in November 1993 with an order for 63 airplanes, flies an all-737 fleet.

Following the ceremony, the one-piece fuselage will be transported by rail to Renton for final assembly. The fuselage is due to arrive Sept. 3, with rollout of the first completed airplane scheduled for Dec. 8, first flight planned for February 1997 and first delivery slated for October 1997.

Like today's family of 737s, the Next-Generation 737 offers customers one airplane in three sizes: the 737-600 will carry 108 to 132 passengers; the 737-700 will seat 128 to 149 passengers; and the 737-800 will carry between 162 and 189 passengers, all in two classes.

The Next-Generation 737 family incorporates new performance features to deliver greater value to airlines, including increased:

* Range of 3,454 miles -- about 1,000 miles more than current 737s.

* Maximum altitude of 41,000 feet from today's 37,000-feet limit.

* Cruise speed of .79 Mach (530 miles per hour) from the existing .745 Mach, and a sprint capability of .82 Mach.

* Thrust capability of 10 percent more than current 737s.

The Next-Generation 737s also will have new interiors that deliver flexibility and low cost for the operator and more comfort for passengers, and a flight deck that allows airlines to configure their displays similar to existing 737s or more recent 747 and 777 layouts.

Since launch, 16 airlines worldwide have ordered a total of 370 new 737-600/-700/-800 models, setting a new aviation sales record.

SOURCE Boeing Commercial Airplane Group
 -0- 08/26/96

/CONTACT: Fred Solis of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, 316-526-3153, or

/Boeing Commercial Airline Group press releases available through Company News On-Call by fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 109119, or at


CO: Boeing Commercial Airplane Group ST: Kansas IN: ARO SU: PDT

TC -- SFM014 -- 1017 08/26/96 12:00 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 26, 1996
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