Boeing has been relatively quiet regarding the release of its fourth version 737 MAX jet. Earlier this month, however, the company went public about a problem facing the massive jetliner: landing gear.
Featuring seats for up to 189 passengers, the 737-10 is set to be the largest jetliner in the 737 MAX family. It features a dual-class cabin, with an expected range of 3,000 to 3,3000 miles. Because of its longer body, however, Boeing needs to adjust the main landing gear so it has enough clearance for takeoff and landing. From an outsider’s perspective, this may sound like a rather simple and straightforward task. Unfortunately, though, adjusting the landing gear on such as complex jetliner is anything but an easy task.
The 737-10 is expected to be 66 inches longer than the third version jetliner in the 737 MAX family, the 737-9. 66 inches isn’t a huge amount considering the overall size of these planes. But it’s still more than enough to cause problems for takeoff and landing, which is why Boeing needs to redesign the landing gear.
When speaking to Aviation Week, Boeing’s general manager for the 737 MAX program Keith Lverkuhn explained that “the upper portion of the gear as it integrates with the actuator. [Our new design will include] clever folding using a link mechanism at the top. [The lower part of the gear leg will include] an additional shock strut that fits inside the same forging. This moves the contact point aft a little bit. That’s fundamentally what we are doing and yes, it will look like a trailing link gear.”
He further said that Boeing wants to make the landing gear maintainable and reliable.
Boeing is hoping the 737-10 will compete with the Airbus 321neo. Reports indicate that the Max 9 has been outsold at a ratio of 5-1, indicating success for the larger jetliner. The MAX 10 features a larger engine, stronger wings, and telescoping landing gear. For the latter, however, Boeing needs to redesign the landing gear to accommodate the plane’s longer body — something that engineers are currently working around the clock to achieve.
So, when can you expect to see the new Boeing 737-10 ready for flight? Aviation industry current predict Boeing will launch the new jetliner later this summer, focusing on a delivery date of around 2020. Other analysts are a bit more optimistic, believing the 737-10 will be delivered as early as 2019.