MAX is on the map

Flying to the letter: Test teams use 737 MAX to put their stamp on the sky

February 16, 2017 in Our Commitment

Boeing Test & Evaluation teams got a little creative during a 737 MAX flight test over the weekend, taking a route that drew "MAX" in the skies over Washington, Idaho and Montana. The letters are viewable using a flight-tracking website such as FlightAware.


Boeing Test & Evaluation (BT&E) teams spent more than nine hours in the air last weekend, flying a 737 MAX more than 3,900 nautical miles (4,488 miles, 7,223 kilometers) from Seattle's Boeing Field through Washington, Idaho, Montana and back again. The 737 MAX is being assembled exclusively in Renton, Wash.

But it wasn’t a typical flight plan. The airplane, known as 1A004, left its mark in the sky, spelling out the word "MAX" along its path.

The effort was part of a flight test to check the range and efficiency of the 737 MAX, and the letters are viewable using a flight-tracking website. Flight Test engineer Andreas Weisweaver said it took coordination among the test team, flight dispatch, test pilots and air traffic control to plot the 37 waypoints — longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates — that would allow the team to spell "MAX" in the sky.

“Demonstrating the airplane’s extended endurance capabilities requires a long flight, so we thought we’d make it interesting,” Weisweaver said.

With Keith Otsuka, BT&E's chief pilot for Commercial Airplanes, at the controls, the team followed the word "MAX" to the letter, while accomplishing its test mission on the maximum duration flight.

“The airplane performed beautifully from takeoff to landing,” Otsuka said. “We’re excited about delivering the 737 MAX to our customers.”

By Shaniqua Manning Muhammad