In the summer of 1988, the production of Boeing 737 Series 200 airliners was discontinued, 1144 aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines were delivered to customers. However, he was replaced by a new airliner, Series 300, which the company relied on in the 1980-1990s and was produced in various versions.
By the end of the 1970s, Boeing management concluded that fuel economy and noise levels would become two main problems of commercial aviation in the medium term, and they could be dealt with only through the introduction of new turbofan engines with a high bypass ratio. Similar engines were already used on wide-body airliners, but the smallest of them had a thrust of more than 178 kN, which was too much for 737 family aircraft. The CFM International CFM56 engine, the first representative of a new family of small turbofan engines in the traction class of the order of 89 kN. Moreover, CFM International was a joint venture in which the interests of the American giant General Electric and the French company SNECMA coincided. It was created in 1974 for the development and serial production of small turbofan engines for civilian purposes, for which the F101 engine was chosen, which was created in due time for the B-1 strategic bomber.
Testing of the first CFM56 engine was started at General Electric in Avendale on June 20, 1974, and the first flight with it was made by an experienced McDonnell Douglas YC-15 transport aircraft. However, most of the design work was carried out in France, a modified Caravelle aircraft was used for testing. The new engine showed good performance and even better fuel economy and low noise levels than planned.
Modification 737-300 retained about 70% commonality with the previous Series 200 aircraft, almost the same wing was used – the difference was only in the increased wingtips. The most significant external difference was an extended 2.64 m fuselage – due to two inserts in the front and closed, which allowed increasing passenger capacity and capacity of the luggage compartments. To maintain longitudinal stability, designers added an increased fork.
Expecting the successful test results of the new engine and predicting a high level of demand for new airliners, Boeing management in March 1981 announced the start of production of new aircraft. Testing of the CFM56-3 engine began in March 1982, and in February of the following year, flight tests were started aboard the Boeing 707. The first Boeing engines delivered were immediately installed on the 737-300 prototype, but certain problems were identified during this process. The fact was that when the Boeing 737 was just starting to be designed, it was created for smaller JT8D engines, which were mounted directly under the wing, without pylons, which made it possible to make the struts of the main landing gear quite short. With the “thicker” CFM56 engine, the distance between its lower part and the ground became quite small, which did not meet the safety requirements. Therefore, designers placed the auxiliary equipment and assemblies on the side of the engine, due to which the engine nacelles of the 737-300 airliner acquired the characteristic shape of an oval elongated to the sides, but a more serious alteration of the wing and landing gear designs was avoided.
On February 24, 1984, the first 737-300 aircraft equipped with CFM56-3 engines took off for the first time, the second aircraft joined the flight test program on March 2, and the certification program was completed on November 14. Two weeks later, the first delivery was carried out – the first recipient of the new modification of the liner was the Texas company Southwest Airlines. On December 7 of the same year, the new machine completed its first commercial flight.
The Boeing company had to make a lot of efforts to try to support both the sale of the 200th model and the new modification. As of March 31, 1990, 948 new airliners were sold, of which 602 were already delivered.
The competitor, the Douglas company, could offer at the same time only a few modified versions of the MD-80 airliner equipped with JT8D engines – the newly-received MD-90 engines entered the market with a rather considerable delay. The Boeing 737-300 has truly gained worldwide recognition.
The new aircraft was designed for a crew of two people, at the disposal of which was a fairly spacious cockpit equipped with modern avionics, including an onboard digital flight control computer, which connected the autopilot, navigation, and other subsystems. There were an inertial navigation system and equipment of the Omega navigation system, as well as an electronic flight indicator. Another useful new feature was the Boeing wind shear detection system. A mandatory thrust was installed on the aircraft.
Boeing 737-300 – the first and basic representative of the 737 Classic family, is a relatively new and much longer model (up to 33.18 meters) compared to the 737-200 model. It features an elongated 2.64 m fuselage and a slightly larger wingspan. Improvements were made to the design, the share of the use of composite materials was increased. Flight and navigation equipment received significant development; the cockpit is equipped with the EFIS digital avionics system. Avionics 737-300 is a mixture of “alarms” and digital displays, although mostly these are cockpits fully equipped with digital displays. It is possible to install a GPS satellite navigation system. Flight and navigation equipment allow for automatic landing in the conditions of a weather minimum in the category of ICAO. A similar avionics system is used on all subsequent advanced modifications of the 737 aircraft. The aircraft was also re-equipped with new CFM engines with a high bypass ratio.
The aircraft became the basic model for creating a whole family of short- and long-range aircraft (737-400, 500, 600, 700, 800), which are very popular in the world market. In total, about 3,000 aircraft of this family were sold. This is a record figure for commercial airliners. It has been produced since 1984, by the beginning of 1997, 1,102 aircraft of this modification were sold, 967 were delivered.
- Modification: Boeing 737-300
- Wingspan, m: 28.88
- Length, m: 33.40
- Height, m: 11.13
- Wing Area, m2: 105.40
- Weight kg: empty loaded aircraft 32460; maximum take-off 62820
- Engine type: 2 turbofan engines CFM International CFM56-ZS1
- Thrust, kg/f: 2 x 9970
- Maximum speed, km / h: 945
- Cruising speed, km / h: 910
- Practical range, km: 4670
- Practical ceiling, m: 10200
- Crew: 2
- Payload: 130 passengers in the cabin of two classes or the tourist class of 149 people or 16370 kg of cargo.