Late last week, FlightBlogger’s Jon Ostrower reported that images shown in a presentation by NASA’s Dr. Charles Harris at the Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference in Denver may reveal some of Boeing’s preliminary ideas behind the anticipated replacement 737 which is expected to be announced sometime this year.
The image, provided by Boeing, was on a slide titled “Future materials Requirements (Boeing Perspective)” and depicted a plane that is not currently in service, leading many to speculate that the image represents Boeing’s plans for it’s replacement 737. Ostrower pointed out that the plane’s dimensions suggested an entirely new concept which Boeing has been rumored to be looking into for its future narrow, er, wide-body planes to replace the 737.
The windows, whose number is equivalent to the 110 and 126-seat 737-600 and -700, would not be spaced this far apart for an aircraft of similar capacity along with exits as large as they appear in the rendering. One conclusion to draw is this is the New Light Twin (NLT) concept with seven-abreast seating covering 30+ rows and a capacity of about 230 seats in a single-class configuration.Undoubtedly, this design is a conservative look at what Boeing envisions for a 230-seat composite jetliner fitting into a spot just above the 757. It’s important to remember that the original 7E7 design looked like a scaled down 777 when it was first unveiled, containing barely any of the iconic design elements of the 7E7’s shark fin and the final 787 design.If nothing else, it provides a first visual glimpse into what Boeing engineers are thinking as far as the configuration of its new jetliner that may see service around 2019 or 2020.
Boeing has not officially announced a replacement for the 737 but the company has strongly hinted over the last few months that such a plane will be announced shortly as customers continue to clamor for more fuel-efficient offerings in the narrow-body market. This image may simply be a hypothetical mock-up which will look nothing like the final product, but it does provide some insight on the direction of construction and materials used for future planes and the direction Boeing may be heading with its yet-to-be-announced replacement 737.