If you know me at all, you’re fully aware of the fact that I am a total perfectionist when it comes to my side view aircraft templates. However, I needed some illustrations of the Boeing 797 for another project I was working on, so I rolled up my sleeves and did what I could.

Disclaimer: The side view templates in this article is NOT the actual aircraft! The 797 isn’t even official yet, so there was no reference material to go off of. I simply had to take some guesses in terms of its overall size and shape. Only time will how accurate these illustrations end up being….

What exactly is the Boeing 797?

Up until about six months ago, nobody really knew. Not even Boeing. Yeah, there were some illustrations floating around the Internet depicting what it might look like, but all of that has been thrown out the window in recent months.

The original plan for the 797 was for it to be a midsize aircraft to compete directly with the Airbus a 321. This would essentially place the 797 between the 737 and 787 in Boeing’s commercial aircraft aircraft lineup. It seemed like the logical, but as we all know, things can change. And they have.

My proposal for what the 797 should be

Instead of the 797 being a midsized aircraft, I am proposing a single-aisle 737 replacement. But that’s not all! It’s not like I have a degree in aerospace engineering or anything, but I have to ask: wouldn’t it make more sense to have the 797 fill the role of a variety of different aircraft types?

For example, smaller variants of the 797 could be the successor to the 737 platform. However, with additional fuselage and wing modifications, it could be an aircraft larger in size to compete directly with the Airbus a 321.

That has essentially been the Airbus strategy all along with the A320 series. There are a wide variety of aircraft types based on that single platform (A318, A319, A320, A321), and there’s no reason why Boeing couldn’t go down that same path.

white Boeing 797 side view
No, it’s not a 787! As much as I hate to admit it, this is probably what a mid-size variant to the 797 could look like.
boeing 797 blueprints
Who would have thought that I’d have 797 blueprints before Boeing? I’d totally be honored if they stole my design though…
buy the Boeing 797 template source files

Here are some key features of my Boeing 797 concept:

  • The fuselage would be based on the 787 design. The only major difference (other than scale) would be a smaller tail cone. This is the result of the APU not needing to be so large.
  • The vertical stabilizer would be shorter and have a slightly less aggressive leading edge
  • Carbon composite wings sound like a fantastic (and logical) idea, right? I’m guessing that they will be very similar to what is found on the 787. Although I expect the blended winglets to remain, I suspect that the overall rake of the wing will be less severe.
  • The main landing gear will feature a single bogey (which could be doubled on larger variants). Expect it to be taller than is what is found on the current 737.
787 vs 797
Before anyone accuses me of just scaling down a 787 and calling it a 797, here is a side by side comparison (787 on top, 797 on the bottom). See? The changes are more significant than you thought!

Potential problems for the 797

Boeing is in an incredibly difficult position at the moment. At the time of this writing, they are up to their eyeballs trying to get the 737 MAX recertified. Not only that, the 777X program is facing delays up to several years. To make matters even worse, the commercial airline industry has been absolutely decimated due to COVID-19, and very few airlines are ordering new aircraft right now. But it doesn’t stop there:

  • The truth of the matter is that Boeing likely doesn’t even know how to proceed with the 797. The industry is changing so fast, and what might seem logical today may not be appropriate 10 years from now.
  • Not only is demand for new aircraft at an all time low right now, there’s no telling how long the lull is going to last. Many airlines are feeling pinched by a weak global economy (and historically low demand for air travel), and will need to find ways to lengthen the average age of their existing fleet of aircraft.

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Reasons why the Boeing 797 program is so important for Boeing

Even though I’m just lowly illustrator and designer with no formal business training, I’m going to say it anyway: Boeing is spending far too much time working on the 737 program. Of course I’m not privy to all the insider information, but I just don’t see how it’s logical to be spending so much time and energy on a platform that has so little time left.

The 797 will be the opportunity for Boeing to turn a new leaf. The 737 has reached the end of his life, which is perfectly OK. They got 60 successful and profitable years out of that design, and it was largely responsible for the growth and overall success of Boeing as we know it today. Nothing lasts forever though, so it’s time for a change. The 797 will:

  • Keep Boeing competitive in an increasingly difficult commercial aviation market
  • Help to drive innovation. This is important for their commercial aviation business (of course), but it’s even more important for the national security of the United States as well. Remember: Boeing is a crucial supplier to the US military.
  • Help drive change. With an all-new aircraft type such as the 797 (using the latest technology), Boeing has the opportunity to make the airline industry more efficient and less damaging to the environment.

When will be the first flight of the Boeing 797?

Considering that the 797 design program has been halted and they’re not even working on it right now, your guess is as good as mine. However, based on the current market and where things are going, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the final design announced sometime by 2024. As far as a first flight goes, it could be as early as 2026 with the first entry into service by 2028 or so. That’s my guess.

A few final words about the design of this 797 concept

Because I like to keep things interesting, I’m not going to update this particular post once the final design of the 797 is revealed. I personally find it amusing to go back and look at old design concepts of different objects, only to laugh and giggle about how silly and ambitious they may have seemed at the time.

I’ll create an entirely different post for the final version of the 797 templates, whenever that comes. It’s probably going to be a while, so don’t expect anything soon…

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  1. Hello Scott…
    A big fan of your Airliner Templates. First of all thanks for sharing your concept of Boeing 797 and your own idea behind it.
    Apart from that, i have a very important request to you regarding Airbus A320LR. You last time designed A320LR with CFM LEAP engines as A320LR were under production at that time with LEAP engines and had also mentioned that you will design A320LR with Pratt & Whitney PW1000G in future. Since then, lots of A320LRs are in service with P&W engines.
    So its my humble request to you to design the Airliner Template of Airbus A320LR with Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines.
    Thanks in advance. And lastly, please keep on designing as much airliner templates of any airliner as possible for we Avgeeks.

  2. Hey there Scott, glad to see you’re back designing airliner templates after a hiatus in the side view template department! I was wondering if maybe the next aircraft you could do a template of would be a Concorde? It is definitely an interesting aircraft, with a very much unique design in the commercial passenger aviation field. It would be lovely if the Concorde was the next airliner side template, but no rush! I understand you may be busy with other requests or other projects, so take as much time as you need. Kindest regards!

    1. Actually I’m working on a King Air 200 at the moment, but maybe I’ll get to the Concorde after. I’ve always wanted to do it, so maybe now is the time!

  3. Wait, wha!! I thought it was the twin brother of the 787, but always, great work.
    I think the 797 can be the size of the 777 so that it looks great and also the landing gear can be like the one 777 has. But remember it’s just a suggestion from my side.

    1. Thanks Nathan! Yeah, I’m actually feeling tempted to take another crack at this to make it not so 787-like, but…I’m still partially convinced that the 797 will be using a lot of 787 design cues. A triple-bogey main gear like the 777 seems logical too (at least on the larger variants). Only time will tell I guess!

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