Strutted Airliner Might Replace 737


Boeing says its collaboration with NASA on a highly efficient single-aisle airliner could lead to a replacement for the 737. In an earnings call on Wednesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun confirmed that the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator meets the “standard needed to launch a commercial airplane” with its major increases in fuel efficiency. “The program that we’ve embarked on here is how do you commercialize it?” Calhoun told the call. “So, there’s real intent there to be able to do it.”  

NASA is kicking in $425 million of the $1.2 billion cost of building a prototype of the new airliner with its long “transonic truss-braced” wings. The glider-like wings will cut drag and improve efficiency by up to 30 percent over the 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo. NASA said it wants to see the design become commercially viable, and Calhoun said that’s where the project is headed. “It will definitely have a role to play someday in the narrowbody world,” Calhoun said.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. The strutted wing can probably save weight and enable a longer wingspan which are both good things but what ever happened to interference drag?

  2. Something revolutionary was necessary to fix the 737’s legacy-design stubby main landing gear. This takes care of that with aplomb. The MAX 10 gear is nifty but fixes a problem the 757 never had. Nifty does not equal reliable.

    • This is cooperative research with NASA, not loans that didn’t have to be paid back if Airbus didn’t make enough money off the project.

  3. The drawing looks as though there is enough space for the huge fans on the the new RR motor, even though they say it is for larger aircraft.
    Just a co-incidence I am sure that the hydrogen powered ideas out of Airbus also have huge fans.