Boeing's Newest 737 Jet Completes First Flight

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Boeing's 737 MAX completed its first flight Friday, beginning the next test phase for the latest version of the flagship jet. Boeing says the flight went well and the aircraft is on schedule for deliveries to start in 2017. The airliner departed from Renton, Washington, Friday morning and, during a circuitous route over the state, reached 25,000 feet before landing at nearby Boeing Field in Seattle. The test pilots told media afterward that the jet "flew beautifully," USA Today reported.

The MAX is the fourth generation of the long-running 737 series, which first flew in the late 1960s. It features larger, more fuel-efficient CFM International engines and aerodynamic improvements, which required Boeing to revamp its manufacturing facilities. Boeing is offering three main versions -- MAX 7, 8, and 9, which can seat up to 220, along with a one-class configuration called the MAX 200. The company hopes the new model will prove competitive against the Airbus A320neo in the single-aisle airliner market and has more than 3,000 on order. Airbus began deliveries of the 320neo earlier this month, starting with German airliner Lufthansa.