The Boeing 737 is the workhorse of the aviation industry
737 set to move into the 21st century as one of the world's most popular aircraft
January 21, 1998
Web posted at: 2:17 p.m. EDT (1417 GMT)
(CNN) -- The Boeing 737 -- under inspections ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration -- is one of the most popular planes in the sky. Since its debut in 1967, the short-to-mid-range 737 has become a predominant member of most airline fleets. One of 3,000 active 737s takes off every six seconds somewhere in the world.
"The plane, as they say, is the workhorse of the industry," says Holly Hegeman of PlaneBusiness. "It performs well. It's a very reliable aircraft."
But the 737-300 series is the subject of inspections ordered by the FAA earlier this month -- prompted by the investigation of a crash in Indonesia in December that found loose bolts in the plane's tail section. Boeing says it has received no reports of any other faulty fasteners.
Who's flying 737s among U.S. airlines?
Southwest flies the most -- all of its 261 planes
United: 210 Boeing 737s -- but none of the 300 series
US Airways: 203
Delta Airlines: 67
American and Northwest: None
Most of the U.S. carriers that fly that particular model had already
started inspecting most of their planes before the directive was issued.
Accommodating 128 to 149 passengers, the 300 series is one of the smaller of Boeing's seven 737 models in production. It's just over 109 feet (33 meters) long from nose to tail (the largest -- the upcoming 900 series -- is just over 138 feet (42 m) and seats 177 to 189 passengers). The 300's range is 2,610 miles (4,200 kilometers), while the larger 900 has a maximum range of 3,140 miles (5,050 km).
The 737-300 series was launched in 1981 -- Southwest Airlines took the first of the new jets in 1984. The first 737, the 100 series, was flown by Lufthansa beginning in 1967. The "next generation" 737s, says Boeing, will fly faster, higher and farther than the current crop.
How can you tell if your flight is on a 737? On the outside, some say the 300-series plane looks like a flying cigar -- short and fat with an engine under each wing. Inside -- as with all members of the 737 family -- there are three seats on each side of the aisle in coach.
If you want to know if you'll be on a 737 on your next trip, head to the
Internet -- many travel sites list the plane model with flight information. And travel agents can tell you the type of plane you'll be flying when you book a reservation.
Based on a report from CNN's Business and Travel and Beyond. The segment appears Monday through Friday on Daybreak at 5:30 AM (ET) and on Early Edition at 7 AM (ET). BT&B also airs Sundays on the World Today at 10 PM (ET).
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