Pushing the 733 to its limits


I just noticed that tonight’s Continental Flt. 609 from KCLE-KSFO is a 737-300. I know the 733 is a short-medium range airliner, so I checked the specs for it, and its range is listed around 1900 nm. This route measures out to 2157 nm AGAINST the jet stream. They also flew a 733 on July 9, although the “norm” is a 73G or 738, which are certainly better suited for such a route. I realize that modifications can be made, but that seems like an awful long haul for this type. If someone had told United that the 733 could fly that kind of distance, maybe they wouldn’t have bought all those A320s!!

Anyhow, know of any other routes that “push the envelope” of a 733, or any other short-range airliner? Another example I can think of is Continental’s non-stops from KCLE to Gatwick using 752s (The return flight is the REAL stretch).


This is what I dug up from Airliners.net’s specs for the 733.

Max cruising speed 908km/h (491kt), long range cruising speed 794km/h (429kt). Range with 128 passengers and standard fuel 3362km (1815nm), range with 128 pax and max fuel 4973km (2685nm). High gross weight version max range 6300km (3400nm) with 140 passengers.


Basically saying that it all depends on how much fuel and weight are involved.


According to both Boeings (the company and the FlightAware member), it does depend on the fuel load.

Boeing says the aircraft can do, on a zero-wind day, up to just over 3500 nm. Take a look at the chart to see the range at different weights and fuel.


I had the same problem when I did my report for school on the Boeing 747. There was a lot of conflicting data for just one version of the 747.


I know that there are lots of variables, and I could imagine that CO may have “pimped” this plane out w/ some extra fuel reserves, but a scheduled airline flight seems to be a little unpredictable as far as weights go (w/ late ticket sales, standby pax, extra luggage, etc.). Throw in the always unpredictable weather, and it just seemed a little much for a 733. I’m sure they have their reasons, and it apparently works. I was really more or less just wondering how far some of these airlines try to stretch the ranges of their a/c, the short to medium ranges in particular.

[With regards to the actual figures, I used “about 1900nm” because w/ 1500 or so sites that may carry that info., you’ll get about 1500 different numbers, and that’s BEFORE the weights, mods, winds, etc. even come into play.]


I get 1872 nm from KCLE to KSFO (source is airnav.com).

Regardless of that, CO used to operate the 733 between IAD and SFO (2095 nm) and between IAD and LAX (1982 nm). IIRC, this was the 1989-1990 timeframe.


I’m going off the numbers of a little website called “flightaware.com,” which I think denotes mileage in nautical miles…? :confused:
You may be right, but I’m pretty sure that the “nautical vs. statute” discussion was thrown out in another forum before, and other tracking websites were belittled for using statute miles, so I would guess that FA does not. Daniel? Mark?

I believe you about the IAD-SFO route in the early '90s. At the time, there were no 73Gs, 738s, or 739s, so other than “wasting” a 752, there would be no smaller a/c that CO flies to make the trip. Now, however, I just thought the 733s were utilized for short hops of ~1500nm or less.