Boeing 737 Assembly
The first 271 Boeing 737 aircraft were manufactured next to Boeing Field which is now officially known as King County International Airport. The Renton factory at this time was still in full on
production of the Boeing 707 and Boeing 727 aircraft. Production of the Boeing 737 was moved to Renton in late 1970.
Spirit Aerosystems of Wichita, Kansas, who bought some of Boeings’ Witchita assets, manufacture a significant part of the fuselage today.
The completed fuselages are transported by train to Renton.
At the Renton plant the wings, fuselage and landing gear are married together, as well as avionics and interiors being installed as it moves down the assembly line.
The aircraft is jacked up so that the deployment and retraction of the landing gear can be tested. Also a test called the “high blow” is performed where the interior of the fuselage is pumped full of air to the equivalent pressure differential of 93,000 feet of altitude. This enables the testing for leaks.
In December 2005 a second assembly line was added to increase the production output. This enabled the production of 31 aircraft per month. The current time to assemble an aircraft is eleven days with a future target of just six days. A third production line is being proposed to address the waiting time of three years for a new Boeing 737, a backlog in excess of 1,600 aircraft.
The completed aircraft is then tested fully before undertaking its maiden flight. The culmination of the maiden flight is at Boeing Field where the aircraft is painted in the customer livery, as well as other customised fit-out requirements. Depending on the customer livery, it takes around 200 litres of paint to cover a 737, some 130 Kilograms in weight. Full tests and fine tuning take place before the aircraft is ready for delivery to the customer.
As is the case with many modern aircraft, the manufacturing of the various components, some 367,000 for a 737NG, are outsourced to companies all around the world. Some of the main components are supplied as follows:
Boeing 737 Parts Manufacturers
|Fuselage, engine nacelles and pylon||Spirit AeroSystems, Witchita (previously Boeing)|
|Slats and flaps||Spirit AeroSystems, Tulsa (previously Boeing)|
|Doors||Vought, Stuart, Florida|
|Spoilers||Goodrich, Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Tail Fin||Xi’an Aircraft Industry, China|
|Horizontal Stabiliser||Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea|
|Ailerons||Asian Composites Manufacturing, Malaysia|
|Rudder||Bombardier, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Tail Section||Alcoa / Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing, China|
|Main Landing Gear Doors||Aerospace Industrial Development Corp, Taiwan|
|Inboard Flaps||Mitsubishi, Japan|
|Forward Entry Door||Chengdu Aircraft, China|
|Over-wing Exits||Chengdu Aircraft, China|
|Wing To Body Fairings||BHA Aero Composite Parts Co. Ltd, China|
|Tail Cone||BHA Aero Composite Parts Co. Ltd, China|
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