Engineer Josh Frommer found childhood aerospace inspiration by designing and building LEGO airplanes. Frommer today is configuration leader on the 737 MAX. (Boeing photo)
Engineer Josh Frommer has been designing and building airplanes since first grade. “My parents gave me a set of space LEGO® blocks when I was six and that was it; I knew what I wanted to do. I’ve been interested in airplanes and aviation ever since,” he says.
Frommer’s love of airplanes led him through graduate school in engineering and to Boeing, where today he is the configuration leader on the 737 MAX program. “I make sure the design and all of the systems and technology integrate seamlessly on the airplane.”
The design and technology on the MAX are coming together to drive substantial improvements in the aircraft’s environmental performance. Frommer said the MAX will increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by 13 percent as well as improve the aircraft’s noise footprint by 40 percent, compared to the Next-Generation 737.
One of the first noticeable changes on the 737 MAX is the Advanced Technology winglet, which combines a curved wingtip with a split “dual-feather” design. “We wanted to see how we could make better winglets on the MAX. The wingtip effectively gives us a longer wing span, which improves the airplane’s aerodynamic performance and, along with advanced design, accounts for 1 percent of the reduced fuel burn and carbon emissions,” Frommer says.
“If you look at a bird or a sail plane, longer, thinner wings are always better for cruising. That’s the effect we’re getting.”
Frommer said Boeing’s experience with developing the 787 Dreamliner is making a difference on the 737 MAX. “What’s great is we are able to apply a lot of what we learned on the 787 and our understanding of aerodynamics to the 737 winglet.
The major contributor to the improved fuel efficiency on the 737 MAX is a new advanced engine - the LEAP 1B - from manufacturer CFM, which is a partnership between GE Aviation and Snecma, of France. “The MAX will benefit from technology GE developed for engines used on the 787 and 747-8,” Frommer says.
A redesigned aft body, which includes the horizontal stabilizer and tail cone, accounts for another 1 percent of the improved performance on the MAX, compared to the Next-Generation 737.
Frommer said one of the best parts of working on a new airplane such as the 737 is seeing everyone come together and agreeing on the best path forward. “When we can agree that what we’re doing is best not just for one group or program, but for The Boeing Company and our customers, and it’s worth all the effort; when we all say ‘yes,’ it feels really good.”