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Boeing 737


The ATP Practical Exam Part 1 will continue after a successful English proficiency conversation assessment. The next portion will consist of theoretical knowledge of your aircraft. You can either choose a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320, any series. If able, it is advisable to purchase a payware version of these aircraft. 

General Aircraft Dimensions

Basic Weights


MTOW: Maximum takeoff weight; the maximum weight at which the pilot of the aircraft is allowed to attempt a takeoff. MTOW is the heaviest weight at which the aircraft has been shown to meet all the airworthiness requirements.

MLW: Maximum landing weight; the maximum weight at which a pilot of the aircraft is allowed to attempt a landing. Sometimes on short flights, fuel dumps might be needed to ensure meeting the MLW to safely land.

ZFW: Zero fuel weight; the total weight of the airplane and all its contents minus the total weight of fuel on board. There is also a maximum zero fuel weight for airworthiness limitations.

MTW: Maximum taxi weight, or also known as MRW, maximum ramp weight, is the maximum weight allowed for taxiing and towing. It is anticipated, since the MTW is higher than the MTOW, that the amount of fuel burned from the taxi will be in compliance with the MTOW.

MEW: Manufacturer's empty weight; the weight of the aircraft "as built", including the structure, power plant, furnishings, installations but not the operator items (see OEW)

OEW: Operating empty weight; basic weight of an aircraft including crew, fluids, engine oil, water, unusable fuel, and all operator items and equipment required for flight except for usable fuel and payload. OEW = MEW + SI (standard items) + Operator Items (OI)

Payload: Consists of passengers, cargo, baggage, animals, etc.

Fuel on board: Fuel should consist of taxi fuel, trip fuel, alternate airport fuel, and reserves (45 minutes)

Unusable fuel: the amount of fuel the fuel pumps can't reach. Fuel Capacity - Usable Fuel = Unusable fuel (usually very small number)

Takeoff Weight Calculations: OEW + Payload + Fuel on board = Take Off Weight (which should be below MTOW)

Landing Weight Calculations: Take off Weight - Trip fuel - Taxi fuel = Landing Weight (which should be below MLW)

Boeing 737-800 Weights

MTW/MRW: 174,700 lbs (79,243 kg)
MTOW: 174,200 lbs (79,086 kg)
MLW: 146,300 lbs (66,361 kg)
MZFW: 138,300 lbs (62,732 kg)
OEW: 91,300 lbs (41,413 kg)

Max. Structural Payload: 47,000 lbs
Usable Fuel / Max Capacity: 46,052 lbs, 6,875 gal (20,894 kg, 26,022 l)

Payload and Range Charts


Brake release gross weight: is equal to the takeoff weight at the time of releasing the brakes

How to use the above chart (Boeing 737-800): Take your OEW + Payload/Cargo x 1,000 lbs and select the number on the chart. (120,000 lbs would be 120). Calculate your takeoff weight, this will be your brake release gross weight. Go right on the payload line until you intercept the brake release gross weight and that will give you your range.

Takeoff Parameters

Climb Performance Data

Climb rate: 4,000 ft/min

Flap retractions should begin no less than 1,000 ft after takeoff (or 1,000 feet above airport elevation). 

Takeoff Flaps

At speed (display)

Select Flaps


V2 + 15








15 or 10

V2 + 15







V2 + 15







Typical Takeoff Clearance:



Liftoff Attitude in degrees

Minimum Tail Clearance in inches

Tail Strike Pitch Attitude in degrees


















Max crosswind component 36 kts on a dry runway. 18 on slushy/ice.

Reduced Thrust Climb (Derate)

CLB1 - approx. 10% of derate climb thrust
CLB2 - approx. 20% of derate climb thrust

These can be set in the FMC on the derate page and will reduce engine life and efficiency.

Cruise and Fuel Consumption

ETOPS - extended range operation with two engine airplanes; flights with waypoints more than 1 hour from each other

Fuel consumption - a rough number to use for a Boeing 737-800 is 6,000 lbs/hr 

Max. Altitude for Flaps Extension: 20,000 feet

Max. Speed for Use of Speedbrakes: 300 KIAS

Normal Cruise Speed: Mach 0.78, 444 kts
Maximum Speed: Mach 0.82, 472 kts
Ceiling: 41,000 ft
Engines: 2 CFM International CFM56-7 series

Approach Operations

VLE - Maximum landing gear extension speed = 320 kts
VLO - Maximum speed to select gear up/down = 270 kts
Gear should be extended no sooner than 7 miles from touchdown and between 160-190 kts.

Maximum speed for extending flaps:
Flaps 1 - 250 kts
Flaps 2 - 250 kts
Flaps 5 - 250 kts
Flaps 10 - 215 kts
Flaps 15 - 205 kts
Flaps 25 - 190 kts
Flaps 30 - 185 kts
Flaps 40 - 162 kts

Approach Configurations and Speeds

The approach category of the Boeing 737-800 is category C. 


Aircraft category VAT Range of speeds for initial approach (and reversal and racetrack procedures) Range of
final approach speeds
Maximum speeds for circling Maximum speeds for intermediate missed approach Maximum speeds for final missed approach Typical Aircraft in this Category
A <91 90 - 150 (110*) 70 - 110 100 100 110 small single engine
B 91 - 120 120 - 180 (140*) 85 - 130 135 130 150 small multi engine
C 121 - 140 160 - 240 115 - 160 180 160 240 airline jet
D 141 - 165 185 - 250 130 - 185 205 185 265 large jet/military jet
E 166 - 210 185 - 250 155 - 230 240 230 275 special military


Below 3,000 ft - 210 kts, maximum IAS
Instrument Apporach Base Leg - 190 kts minimum, maximum IAS must satisfy the "Below 3,000ft criteria"
ILS Apporach at 6 miles - 160kts minimum
Stable Apporach - 1,000ft Rad Alt
Nose Attitude - +1/+3 degrees; from the stable call at 1,000ft the nose attitude of the aircraft should be in the stated range
Non Precision Approach - fully configured by the FAF (gears down, landing flaps, and VREF)

VREF will be calculated depending on landing weight and flaps settings, however, an average VREF with 30-40 degrees of flaps is 130-150 KIAS, add 10 KIAS for a 15 degree flap landing.

VREF = VSO (stall speed with flaps and gear fully extended) x 1.3 (keep that formula in mind)

ROD (Rate of Decent)

Formula is "ground speed x 5 = ROD fpm"

Low Visibility Operations

To perform low visibility operations, such as ILS category approaches, certifications must be given to the airfield, aircrew, and aircraft.

There are 3 categories, CAT I, CAT II, and CAT III (A, B, C). CAT's I and II can be done with a manual landing but CAT III approaches require an autoland function with dual autopilots engaged. The PMDG 737-800 is CAT III B certified.

CAT I - DH not lower than 200 ft, visibility not less than 2400 ft or RVR not less than 1,800 ft on a runway with touchdown zone and runway centerline lighting

CAT II - DH between 100 ft - 200 ft, RVR not less than 1,150 ft

CAT III A - DH 50 ft - 100 ft, RVR not less than 660 ft

CAT III B - DH lower than 50 ft, RVR 160-660 ft

CAT III C - no visibility and no DH limitations. currently not in use anywhere in the world or even included in the EU-OPS

ACN/PCN Calculations (Aircraft Classification Number/Pavement Classification Number)

Pavement Strength Rating System/Runway Weight Ratings are used to calculate the strength and type of aircraft that can safely land on the given runway. A general rule, the ACN should be equal to or less than the PCN calculations in order to safely land at a given runway.

PCN's are found on the FAA aerodrome chart for every airport.

Pavement class Maximum tire pressure
X 1.5 MPa (217 psi)
Y 1.0 MPa (145 psi)
Z 0.5 MPa (72 psi)

The first part of a PCN indicates the load carrying capacity of the pavement expressed in a numerical number. The second letter can either be or R for the runway type, F for flexible - usually asphalt, and R for rigid - usually concrete. The third letter is the subgrade ranging from A, B, C, or D with A being the strongest and D being the weakest - like uncompacted soil. The fourth letter goes by the table above describing maximum tire pressure. The fifth letter indicates how the PCN was calculated, either T for a technical evaluation or U for a usage evaluation. 

So a full example would be PCN 80/R/B/W/T, can you figure out what that would mean?

Boeing 737-800 has an ACN of:

Gear Type D, (Double)
Body type NB (narrow body)
D 1.00 (double)
DT 0.57 (double tandem)
DDT 0.25 (double-double tandem)

Other common abbreviations for PCN you will find are:

S or SW - Single Wheel, ex. DC-3
D or DW - Dual Wheel, ex 727-200
DT or DTW - Dual Tandem Wheel, ex. DC8
DDT or DDTW - Double Dual Tandem, ex. 747

Although the US uses a different system, it is good to be familiar with the ICAO PCN/ACN systems. Please review the Boeing Description of the system.


Landing Runway Length Chart:

Operational Landing Weight or OLW is calculated by subtracting the trip and taxi fuel weight (minus holding fuel if you entered any holding patterns) from the takeoff weight. This can also be estimated and calculated prior to departure during pre-flight planning.

Boeing 737 Family Specifications


09.11.2022 - Discord

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