Last week an improved Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 successfully completed its first test flight. Aerodynamic and engine changes included in the package will reduce fuel consumption by 2 percent. Boeing is phasing the changes into production mid-2011 through early 2012.
One percent of the savings comes from reducing resistance as air flows around the airplane. The upper and lower anti-collision lights change from round to a more aerodynamic teardrop shape. Wheel-well fairings are re-contoured to smooth the air flow near the main landing gear. A redesign of the environmental control system, exhaust vent and streamlined wing slat and spoiler trailing edges round out the aerodynamic changes.