Thousands of employees along with representatives of suppliers, union leaders, the City of Renton and launch-customer Southwest Airlines today got a look at the first completed 737 MAX 8, Boeing’s newest single-aisle airplane. At an event celebrating completion of the first airplane, speakers thanked the teams who developed and built the airplane and looked forward to the future of the 737 Program and Renton site.
“Today marks another in a long series of milestones that our team has achieved on time, per plan, together,” said Keith Leverkuhn, 737 MAX vice president and general manager. “With the rollout of the new 737 MAX – the first new airplane of Boeing’s second century – our team is upholding an incredible legacy while taking the 737 to the next level of performance.”
Thousands of employees at the event took selfies and posted pictures to their social media accounts making #737MAX the top trending topic in the Puget Sound region Tuesday after the rollout of the 737MAX, Boeing’s newest single-aisle airplane, in Renton, Wash.
Attendees were treated to a laser light show while the doors opened to reveal the first 737 MAX 8, one of four scheduled to begin flight testing in 2016. The airplane is named the 'Spirit of Renton' and sports a special paint scheme that includes decals representing customers that have ordered 737 MAX airplanes. For the first time, a Boeing airplane also has a "tail" decal designed by a 737 employee to embody the team that developed and built the new MAX.
“This event was different and a sign of the times,” said Kevin Allen, who operates the robotic machinery building the wings for the Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX. “After 27 years at Boeing and seeing three generations of 737s rolling out of this factory, this one felt really special.”
Allen added that the fact employees were encouraged to tweet photos of the 737 MAX really made them feel included, “It’s nice to show employees new to 737 what it’s like to feel like a family.”
737 MAX engineers Tim Tolonen and Ricky Bojorquez were beaming with pride as they walked around the airplane after the event.
“This is a great airplane and a really important part of Boeing’s future,” said Bojorquez an engineer on the 737 MAX flight controls.
“There’s still more work to be done, but it’s nice to take a breath and enjoy the moment we’ve all worked so hard to get to,” said Tolonen, engineer on the head-up display for the 737 MAX.
Employees from Puget Sound and around the world who contribute to the 737 MAX attended the rollout.
By Dawsalee Griffin, Eric Olson and Dina Weiss