How Fast Does A 737 Fly?

How fast can a Boeing 737 fly? They’re much quicker than walking, of course! But exactly what speeds can they reach?

How Fast Does A 737 Fly?

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the Boeing 737 family, then this guide will help you to learn all about them!

Types Of Speed

Airspeed is the speed of the plane relative to the air around it. Ground speed is the speed of the airplane relative to the ground.

Ground Speed

Ground speed is the time it takes you to cover a certain distance over the ground.

When cruising at high altitudes, the 737 may have a ground speed of around 300-600 nautical miles per hour (nmph).

Passenger jets all cruise at around the same airspeed, but the wind makes a big difference to the speeds at which the aircraft pass over the ground.

A tailwind speeds up an aircraft. When there is a strong tailwind, the aircraft’s ground speed could reach over 700mph.


Airspeed is measured as the speed of the air above the wings of an aircraft. An aircraft flying without any wind is said to be at rest.

A plane flying into a strong headwind will have a higher than normal airspeed.

An aircraft needs to be faster than the airspeed to get airborne. A slower aircraft won’t be able to overcome the force of gravity.

Airspeed is the most important factor when flying an airplane. Groundspeed is a secondary concern. A pilot should always be concerned with airspeed.

A typical commercial passenger jet flies around 460mph (Mach 0.75) when cruising at 36,000ft.

However, the Boeing 737-800 can reach speeds of up to 587mph!

About The 737

Initial Design

The initial concept featured pod-style engines on the aft fuselage, a T-tail similar in design to that of the 727, and 5-abreast seating.

The engineer moved the engines to the wings, lightening the structure and simplifying the accommodation of 6-abreast seating in the fuselage.

Nacelles were mounted directly to the underside of the wing, without pylons. This allowed the landing gear to be shorter than usual.

This meant that the fuselage could be lowered to improve baggage and passenger accessibility.

The stabilizer is attached to the aft fuselage. This allows the aircraft to fly faster.

The stabilizer is designed to be thin and fill the space between the wing and the nacelle.


The fuselage cross-section and the nose are derived from that Boeing 707.

The early 737 cockpits inherited the “eyebrows’ ‘ positioned above the main glass shield, which were a feature on the original 707 and 737 to allow for better crew visibility (see also “How Is Visibility Measured?“).

These windows were not intended for astronomical navigation (only the military version had a sextant window).

With modern avionics (see also “How Much Do Avionic Technicians Make?“), these windows became redundant, and some pilots actually placed newspapers or objects in them to block sunlight.

They were removed from the 737 cockpit design, but they are still available as an option.

The main landing gear (or wheels) of the Boeing 737 rotate into wheel wells inside the airplane’s belly.

Hubcaps complete the aerodynamic profile. It is forbidden to remove the hubcaps while the plane is in motion.



Engines on the 737 Classic and Next Generation series are placed forward of the wings, and the engine pods are moved to the sides of the plane.

This gives the planes a unique shape. The engines are more streamlined and less likely to get damaged by FOD.

The new engines are more efficient.

Flight Systems

The 737 is a jet airliner that was first introduced in 1967. It is unusual because it still uses a hydraulic flight control system.

Hydraulic systems were more reliable than electric ones, but they were also heavier and less efficient.

The 737 has been produced since then, and it is now the most popular commercial aircraft in the world.

Safety issues are raised due to the impracticality of duplicated mechanical systems. A single point of failure is left if the flight control system is damaged.

Metal fragments from an uncontained explosion penetrate the wings or fuselage causing damage.

Primary flight controls have mechanical backups in case of hydraulic failures.

In the event of double engine failure, the pilot’s muscles alone control the tabs.

Servos are used to control the elevator and aileron tabs. These tabs are then controlled by cables running to a control yoke.

The 737 Next Generation series was the first Boeing commercial jetliner to feature an all-glass cockpit.

This new design allowed pilots to see more information than ever before.


The original version of the 737 had no wing tips. Later versions of the 737 did have wingtips.

These wingtips improved the fuel efficiency of the plane.

Winglets are standard on the 737 NG, and are available for retrofitting on 737 Classic models.

They improve fuel efficiency up to 5%. Split Scimitars are available for the 737-800 and -900ER, and the BBJ2 and BB J3.

Split scimitars were designed by aviation partners, the same company that developed the blended winglet.

These winglets save about 5.5% of fuel per plane. Southwest Airlines flew its first 737 with split scimitars on April 14th, 2014.

The next generation 737, 737 Max, features an advanced technology winglet that looks like a blended winglet and split scimitar winglet.

The enhanced short runway package allows planes to land on shorter runways.


The original 737 cabin was replaced with the new design for the second generation 737.

The classic 737 was then redesigned for the next generation 737. The new design was based on the Boeing 757 and 777 cabins.

The third generation 737 was designed after the Boeing 777. The new interior design included more room and better seats than previous models.

The first 737 equipped with this new interior was delivered to Flyduba in late 2010.


The Boeing 737 family of planes is one of the most well known in the world.

Hopefully this guide has helped you to learn how fast they can go – as well as about the history and design of the Boeing 737 family!

Jacob Stern
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