Largest 737 of all time, the MAX 10 is about to take its maiden flight. Boeing revealed that the aircraft is expected to take off for the first time in the next few days, according to Aviation Week.
The only prototype of the jetliner had runway tests on the Renton unit last year, but the program ended up being slowed down during the grounding of the MAX series.
On May 20, however, the aircraft resumed high-speed taxiing tests, indicating that the date of the first flight is close.
The 737 MAX 10 is a late response to the Airbus A321, a jet that has accumulated many orders in recent years thanks to the range and the capacity to carry up to 240 passengers.
The MAX 10, however, has been extended to offer up to 230 seats, but it does not have such a significant range – 3,300 nm (6,100 km), much less than the 4,000 nm of the Airbus jet.
To allow for such a long fuselage, Boeing had to introduce a mechanism that raises the height of the landing gear during landing and takeoff, another clear sign of the age of the project.
Despite this, the 737 MAX 10 has obtained a good number of orders – 550 orders from 20 customers, among them United Airlines, the aircraft’s launch customer.
The first MAX 10 is expected to be delivered to the U.S. carrier only in 2023.
Boeing 737 MAX 10 photo credit: Dan Nevill/CC