The first Boeing 737-800 destined for Southwest Airlines has rolled out of the paintshop at Boeing’s Paine Field. The bird, registered N8301J, will be the first -800 that Southwest flies.
We’re not sure of the significance of the registration number. Southwest planes usually follow the same registration scheme, which is either NXXXSW or NXXXWN. A Blog Southwest post notes that the 4-digit N-number departs from the traditional, but doesn’t give a reason.
Another item of note on the airplane is the ETOPS painted onto the nose gear doors. For those unfamiliar with the ETOPS designation, it stands for Extended Operations, and is given to twin-engine aircraft, allowing them to operate routes that were previously off-limits to said aircraft. While the ETOPS designation doesn’t have any specific correlation to over-land or over-water flights, it is suggested that Southwest will deploy the 737-800s on flights to Hawaii or the Caribbean.
Regardless, she looks like a beautiful bird and probably has that new airplane smell inside.
Photos by The Boeing Company.