From the vault – The longest ever Boeing B737 commercial flight

The Boeing 737 family, designed to supplement the B727 on short and thin routes, remains the most commercially sold aircraft to date. The 737 Classic-300/400/500 variants were launched in 1980 and introduced in 1984, while the 737 Next Generation (NG) -600/700/800/900 variants were Introduced in 1997.

Depending on the variant, the average range of the B737 spans anywhere between 5000-7000km. This range allows most commercial flights to stay up in the air for a maximum of seven hours- considering weight and factors as well.

Boeing Business Jet | Avjet Global

The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), specially designed for the corporate jet market, is based upon the 737 series airliners. Introduced in 1998 and made its maiden flight the following year, the Boeing B737 BBJ shattered all records and still holds the title for the longest ever operated B737 flight to date.

Flight plan for the historic journey

The Longest Ever Boeing 737 Commercial Flight | Airways Magazine
Airways Magazine

Lap 1

With BBJ chief pilot Michael Hewett and former United Airlines 747 pilot Clay Lacy behind the controls, the iconic Boeing 737 took off from Martin State Airport at 8:32 a.m. local time Friday and climbed to 37,000 feet, flying north-easterly to Kennebunkport, Maine (East Coast of US).

Lap 2

From Kennebunkport, having made a sharp turn to the west, the jet maintained its track and climbed to 39,000 ft. After about 6 hours and 30 minutes into the flight, it was overflying Seattle (West Coast of USA).

Lap 3

From Seattle, the airplane turned south and climbed to a final cruise altitude of 41,000 feet (12,496 meters), heading straight into the Californian city of San Diego.

Lap 4

From San Diego, it headed on a south-easterly track towards Texas, before finally reaching its waypoint of Miami. This was perhaps, the longest lap of them all.

Lap 5

In the final lap, the Boeing Business Jet headed northeast to Baltimore, where it entered a holding pattern to bring down its fuel to normal reserves, before landing at Sussex County airport near PATS, Inc., in Georgetown, Delaware (back on the East Coast).

Facts and figures of the flight

  • Average speed for the flight- 451 knots (519 miles per hour)
  • Amount of fuel used – 65,580 pounds (29,746.6 kilograms)
  • Amount of fuel still in reserve at landing-  5,520 pounds (2,503 kilograms)
The Boeing BBJ-C (Convertible)- featuring the “quick-change” facility wherein the aircraft can be switched between being used as an executive flight and cargo immediately after the other | Representative | FlightGlobal

The airplane was equipped with a nine-tank fuel system, capable of holding an additional 3,820 U.S. gallons (14,458 litres) of jet fuel, giving the BBJ a total fuel capacity of 10,695 U.S. gallons (40,480 litres).

This is a great airplane. Business jet owners now have the interior space and the range to do business on a global scale. This is a ‘one-stop to anywhere-in-the-world’ business tool

Michael Hewett

His co-pilot-Clay Lacy, is also known for his around-the-world, record-setting 747 “Friendship One” flight, conducted in January 1988.

The only quad-engine Boeing Business Jet | Business Insider

“I’ve flown just about everything. And this is the direction in which big business leaders are going. You have to fly far to do business in the world today. And you can’t fly these distances in traditional business jets without paying a stiff penalty in comfort and productivity.

Clay Lacy

The airplane flew a record 13 hours 51 minutes 42 seconds and travelled 6,252.5 nautical miles (7,200.4 statute miles) (11,580 kilometres), thereby breaking all records and being the longest ever operated B737 until today.

One of the 3 private jets owned by Mukesh Ambani | Representative | The Economic Times

Started in July 1996, Boeing Business Jets is a joint venture between The Boeing Company and General Electric Company.


COVER: All credits to respective owner(s)

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