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Alpha Floor

The 737 is a pretty "strange" aircraft

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And this will sound surprising of course, given that some 8000 737s have been built, but hear me out:

 

  1. Of its category, it's the only "modern" aircraft that comes with conventional Flight Controls (no FBW). The A320, Comac C919, Sukhoi SJ 100, Embraer E190 and Bombardier CSeries are all FBW.
  2. Systems-wise, it has largely remained unchanged since the 1960's when the first 737 was introduced. Yes there's been lots of improvements in engines, avionics, aerodynamics and so on. But what's concerning systems, very little change: Just have a look at the overhead panels of every 737 generation. It's basically a 1960's aircraft with a glass-retrofit.
  3. CWS, or Control Wheel Steering. It basically turns the 737 into an A320 (roughly speaking) in what handling is concerned. Quite a unique feature, at least there's nothing like it in any other Boeing airliner. BTW: This mode is seldom used, as far as I know, only for severe turbulence penetration.
  4. The only Boeing that can still truly track a VOR radial and has a dedicated mode for that. I bet it's the only modern airliner that can still do this through the MCP as opposed to through the FMC.
  5. The huge and noisy Trim Wheel. (this one is a sub-category of the second one really)
  6. No "Heading Hold" function as opposed to any other Boeing.
  7. The only narrow-body Boeing in production today. In the past there was: 707, 717, 727 and 757.

I guess Boeing doesn't want to "touch it too much" because, hey, if it works, don't fix it. And the 737 does indeed "work" and very well so!

 

This post is intended to be "humorous" in nature, please don't take it too seriously :)

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I never thought of it that way, but looking at the spec sheet you are absolutely right! Even the MAX still uses the NG flight deck, doesn't it?

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I never thought of it that way, but looking at the spec sheet you are absolutely right! Even the MAX still uses the NG flight deck, doesn't it?

 

As far as I know, it's the same glass cockpit just with bigger "screens" xD

 

BOEING_737_MAX_47696183.jpg

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For me it's the greatest since the Tinmouse, the only negative part is the FMC that it's seems to be implemented from another aircraft as we can't rely too much for prediction on descent due to the nature of the slippery aircraft.

I am looking forward to the new MAX and what nice feature will add.

For simulation I am also curious for the new 737-300 IXEG release and what feeling will give us.

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For me, 737 (NGX) is the most natural airliner I could fly right now. The perfect combination of everything you can imagine. A320 is robotic (in a way I like that), but doesn't feel natural, 777 is a mutant between Airbus and Boeing.

What natural means? Natural is that feeling when you have complete control over the metal monster in any given situation. :)

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For me it's the greatest since the Tinmouse, the only negative part is the FMC that it's seems to be implemented from another aircraft as we can't rely too much for prediction on descent due to the nature of the slippery aircraft.

I am looking forward to the new MAX and what nice feature will add.

For simulation I am also curious for the new 737-300 IXEG release and what feeling will give us.

 

Interesting! From your words I deduce you're a 737 pilot?

 

So VNAV not bringing the plane down smoothly is not just a thing of FSX huh? :) Do you hit the DES NOW button some 20NM before T/D, or how do you compensate for that?

 

+1 to the IXEG. I'm really looking forward to that!

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Interesting! From your words I deduce you're a 737 pilot?

 

So VNAV not bringing the plane down smoothly is not just a thing of FSX huh? :) Do you hit the DES NOW button some 20NM before T/D, or how do you compensate for that?

 

+1 to the IXEG. I'm really looking forward to that!

No, I would love to have a life like Golfcharlie232

 

The fact that you have to cheat adjust modify, you can't say it's a spot on system, the 747 and the 777 are more reliable.

But that is my simming experience.

 

"Des now" I do that and maybe more if the weather condition are horrible and also fill wind condition on various stage on forecast page.

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Very well seen Alpha!

 

The things we find when we have something to do :-) ... or... I shouldn't be here, now, reading posts either :-)))))

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I recently came across one of those threads on pprune - one job candidate asking for advice about whether to apply to Southwest or JetBlue, and another telling him, pretty much in so many words, that if you go to Southwest, you'll be flying an aircraft (737) that's two generations behind.  This second poster went on to point to the 737 overhead as a sign of how old and kludgy the airplane was, and noted that the 737 MAX, for all its refinements, will still retain the overhead.

 

Of course, this was in the midst of a conversation about other factors that airline professionals think about, like seniority and the pace of promotion, basing and the length of your commute, the financial viability of the airline... and naturally, when it came to airplanes, there were partisans in both camps... but I was reminded of it when I read the OP because the old/new nature of the 73 was part of the discussion.

 

Whether you like that old/new quality is another question.  Mileage, amazingly enough, seems to vary...  :cool:

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Interesting! From your words I deduce you're a 737 pilot?

 

So VNAV not bringing the plane down smoothly is not just a thing of FSX huh? :) Do you hit the DES NOW button some 20NM before T/D, or how do you compensate for that?

 

+1 to the IXEG. I'm really looking forward to that!

VNAV on a lot of aircraft is inaccurate, not just the 737. Most are unreliable enough that pilots usually switch to V/S or FLCH to descend. Software glitches on the different versions in conjunction with various altitude and speed constraints with atmospheric conditions being dynamic. Yeah, pilots have to eventually intervene. So it's not at an FSX (sim) thing nor is it a 737 thing. Even the 777 has problems. No plane is immune. It's computer and that's it. Putting accurate winds can help but it's not perfect no matter what.

Truth is, a lot of 737 pilots dislike it. It's noisy, hard to maintain speeds within limits, cramped to sit in, slow FMC, stupid trim wheel, and various aging issues. Then again it's piloting at it's greatest, annoying or not. A320 pilots often feel their skills have been reduced to zero so it's the opposite spectrum sometimes. You'll find that every plane has quirks that pilots really hate but other things they love. It's often a love/hate relationship with almost all aircraft out there.

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On 90% of my jumpseat flights in Airbuses V/S was the chosen descent method, sometimes from intermediate flight levels ...

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VNAV on a lot of aircraft is inaccurate, not just the 737. Most are unreliable enough that pilots usually switch to V/S or FLCH to descend. Software glitches on the different versions in conjunction with various altitude and speed constraints with atmospheric conditions being dynamic. Yeah, pilots have to eventually intervene. So it's not at an FSX (sim) thing nor is it a 737 thing. Even the 777 has problems. No plane is immune. It's computer and that's it. Putting accurate winds can help but it's not perfect no matter what.

Truth is, a lot of 737 pilots dislike it. It's noisy, hard to maintain speeds within limits, cramped to sit in, slow FMC, stupid trim wheel, and various aging issues. Then again it's piloting at it's greatest, annoying or not. A320 pilots often feel their skills have been reduced to zero so it's the opposite spectrum sometimes. You'll find that every plane has quirks that pilots really hate but other things they love. It's often a love/hate relationship with almost all aircraft out there.

 

Thanks Orlaam!

 

Most of the times I use FLCH on initial descent and later on V/S during the step downs on approaches. VNAV I don't like it much really, just use it for the cruise.

 

It's true that it doesn't work perfectly, it just can't unless we give it ALL of the boundary conditions which is just not possible. Descending an airliner from cruize FL is something of an art, haha

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I recently came across one of those threads on pprune - one job candidate asking for advice about whether to apply to Southwest or JetBlue, and another telling him, pretty much in so many words, that if you go to Southwest, you'll be flying an aircraft (737) that's two generations behind.  This second poster went on to point to the 737 overhead as a sign of how old and kludgy the airplane was, and noted that the 737 MAX, for all its refinements, will still retain the overhead.

 

Of course, this was in the midst of a conversation about other factors that airline professionals think about, like seniority and the pace of promotion, basing and the length of your commute, the financial viability of the airline... and naturally, when it came to airplanes, there were partisans in both camps... but I was reminded of it when I read the OP because the old/new nature of the 73 was part of the discussion.

 

Whether you like that old/new quality is another question.  Mileage, amazingly enough, seems to vary...  :cool:

 

Hi Alan,

 

Yes indeed pilots like to argue Boeing vs Airbus, but at the end of the day, it's "just" a job, so they will have MANY other variables to consider that are much more important than the TOOL itself.

 

I don't think any pilot will do a career decision based on the aircraft they will fly. Maybe they'll do that if all other conditions are the same, but that's never the case really.

 

For example: I as a design engineer like and am used to CATIA. But if anyone calls me tomorrow offering a much better job (salary, position, perks, conditions, possible career development, location etc) but using SolidEdge (which I don't like as much as CATIA), I will take that job instantly!

 

I personally would love to fly the 737 if I were a pilot, if only just to say that I have done so :). It's a "modern classic", pretty much as close to flying in the 60's and first generation of jets as you can get with today's aircraft market.

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Boeing is a plane, Airbus a flying machine.....ha ha.... I am out.

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Boeing is a plane, Airbus a flying machine.....ha ha.... I am out.

 

Boeing is a Ferrari F40, Airbus is Ferrari LaFerrari. And I don't refer to speed, just to a level of driving assists and electronics. :)

You guessed, I prefer F40 by far. :)

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Another way of looking at it was back in the late 1970's when you imagined what the year 2000 or even the year 2016 would be like you thought amazing things however we have now lost the Space Shuttle and are back to Rockets, We have lost the Concorde and the 737 is still the most produced aircraft to fly. Go back to the 1970's and tell people that they will think you are nuts, but it is true.

 

We have moved forward in personal computers and electronics but Apple is still on top as they were in the late 1970's early 80's so no different there either. I think that the future we imagined has been a big let down

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The 737 will have added Fly by Wire controls, though not complete. As of now the Spoiler system will be a FBW system.

 

As for VNAV, so many things can go wrong that can mess up the descent. Everything from not knowing exact weights, to winds, and a host of other variables that are just impossible to predict entirely. It can assist however, but like what was said earlier, its just a computer.

 

I don't blame Boeing for not making huge modifications to the 737 family. It is the most successful airliner in history.  They say at any time in the world a 737 is taking off or landing somewhere. Thats impressive. The ability to keep commonality among the airplanes has been a huge selling point for Boeing. Airlines don't necessarily like new airplanes. It is cheaper for them to have a newish one that doesn't require a ton of training on for crews and maintenance. 

 

And why mess with an almost perfect product? The efficiency and readiness ratings on the 737 are something like a 99.7%. Thats crazy.

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The 737 will have added Fly by Wire controls, though not complete. As of now the Spoiler system will be a FBW system.

 

Thanks! Didn't know that!

 

 

 

And why mess with an almost perfect product?

 

Exactly! The same happens with Airbus and the 320. They won't admit it but these manufacturers basically bring the money in because of their respective best-sellers. That being so, they don't "dare" messing it up :)

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I think that the future we imagined has been a big let down

 

Tell those '70s (but even '90s) peoples about mobile phones, smartphones, the internet (basically no one predicted what is probably the single biggest technological and social advancement in the last, say, 50 years), encyclopedic resources for pretty much every subject available to all for free online, the near coming of virtual reality, the big advancements in medical sciences (something the everyday man is probably not aware, but there have been steady advancements in the last 40 years), the steady decrease in environmental pollution, and many other things. :smile:

 

I don't think the future had been a let down, it's just that the future is always very different from what the humanity imagines it to be, and (notwithstanding the fact that pessimism is the most common trait when predicting the future) turns out to be on the whole quite better than what was imagined. :smile:

 

LA:

 

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Tell those '70s (but even '90s) peoples about mobile phones, smartphones, the internet (basically no one predicted what is probably the single biggest technological and social advancement in the last, say, 50 years)

 

I was born in 1971 so by the late 1970's early 1980's that would have been my age of wonder. I had the Apple 2e then the Apple 2c so the advancements we went through really were no surprise, now my iPhone 6 just sits in my pocket. Even in the early 80's Apple knew they were going to make the technology smaller then a pocketbook, and they have. Internet started in 1969 and large scale networks were always predicted and in the cards, so no surprise there either.

 

But what is really a let down is look at all the future propaganda we had, flying cars, robot's cleaning our houses, daily flights to space by commercial operators etc, New York to London in an hour, non of that is anywhere near happening, if anything we have taken steps back in those areas. Driverless Cars and Electric Cars are slow to develop and way behind on predictions, we have proven too stubborn to take on these new technologies as consumers, me included because I love driving Gasoline Engines with Manual Transmissions so for me electric driver less cars seem boring. 

 

So what has changed? My Apple Computer now fits in my pocket, just like Apple predicted back then.

What hasn't changed? In the 1970's people choose between bigger vehicles and smaller compacts or imports, still do today, and yes we still fly around in the 737.

What have we lost? Space Travel is a step back and traveling at supersonic speeds as a passenger is gone when we thought we would have reached milestones in these areas.

 

But I will admit I do love my iPhone and if I could have showed it to the 12 year old me that would be a highlight of the future

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I seem to recall the clacky trim wheel was a certification requirement to enable the crew to quickly identify a trim runaway -- a requirement that I presume these days would be handled in EICAS etc.

 

 

 


I guess Boeing doesn't want to "touch it too much" because, hey, if it works, don't fix it. And the 737 does indeed "work" and very well so!

 

Well -- as alluded to in some of the responses above, not all pilots would necessarily agree with that, particular in terms of the design of the overhead/pressurisation panel etc.

 

I'm sure Boeing would love to update the 737 flight deck with lots of modern goodies and more ergonomic design, but the problem (as I understand it) is that the airlines (that is, the beancounters) don't want it. The reason is straightforward: if you ripped out the 60s overhead panel and put in FBW controls etc, it would most likely require a new type rating (or at least some serious differences training). And whilst the likes of SWA, RYR et al want a steady stream of nice new aeroplanes, what they don't want is the cost of retraining thousands of pilots to fly them -- so the core 60s flight deck design is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

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I'm sure Boeing would love to update the 737 flight deck with lots of modern goodies and more ergonomic design, but the problem (as I understand it) is that the airlines (that is, the beancounters) don't want it. The reason is straightforward: if you ripped out the 60s overhead panel and put in FBW controls etc, it would most likely require a new type rating (or at least some serious differences training).

 

I hear this as a good point, but I don't know, it doesn't sound too convincing to me. I could be wrong of course :)

 

If you improve the product, its efficiency, its safety over the long run etc, the airlines will go along with it happily, that's my opinion. I feel like they won't care too much about crew training as long as the benefits over-weigh the costs. Because in this forum we like to look at the "piloting side" of things, we tend to justify things from the point of view of the pilots. To the airlines, an aircraft is just a tool and the pilot is just the worker that operates the tool. If the tool changes, either bring in new workers or give them training, this happens all the time in every industry. I don't hear a manufacturing company not changing their equipment because that would require training of their workers, they don't do it for other reasons.

 

Just my two humble cents :)

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If you improve the product, its efficiency, its safety over the long run etc, the airlines will go along with it happily, that's my opinion.

 

Absolutely, which is why things like winglets, the MAX with the new engines etc have gone down well. But whilst redesigning the flight deck would make life easier/more pleasant for pilots and arguably might improve safety, it's unlikely to save a lot of money.

 

On the other hand, taking 5,000-10,000 pilots off the line (where they are making money for the company) and putting them through several months worth of training for the sake of a new overhead panel or an EICAS, is both extremely disruptive and very, very expensive. Whilst I know little of the manufacturing industry, I'd be surprised if such courses take as long to complete as an aircraft type rating, but I may be wrong.

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On the other hand, taking 5,000-10,000 pilots off the line (where they are making money for the company) and putting them through several months worth of training for the sake of a new overhead panel or an EICAS, is both extremely disruptive and very, very expensive

 

True, but airlines typically don't receive 100 new airplanes at once. A fleet renovation is a very gradual and long process, it takes several years.

 

Ultimately, if you start by changing the systems you're changing the entire airplane. I don't think it's the airlines that don't want it. I think it's Boeing that won't design and build a substitute for the 737 from scratch for now because those are multi-million dollar projects that pay-off in the very long run; and as long as the 737 still does so well and the airlines are happy with the "patches" (new engines, winglets and so on), there won't be a will to change.

 

Once the airlines "demand" a truly new 737 substitute, will Boeing start working on it. That's my guess :)

 

See the 757, that came in to replace the 727. At its time the 727 was the absolute best-seller. Boeing was thinking of either a "patched-up" 727 or a new aircraft altogether. The airlines went down the "new aircraft" option.

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Another item to the list, forgot to mention it!

 

MANUAL REVERSION: The 737 can still be controlled upon loss of ALL hydraulic power, all of its flight control surfaces will be operable, meaning ailerons and elevators are available. The rudder has its own standby hydraulic system. Manual reversion is a feature that not many modern jetliners have. The 320 has backup mechanical linkage to the rudder and stabilizer, but not the ailerons or elevators.

 

It must be noted though: In order to fly in manual reversion, the pilot must have taken a heavy breakfast that day :). Control forces will be considerably higher and a lot of anticipation will be required.

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