As Southwest expanded into longer-haul flights from San Antonio and Houston to San Diego, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, the 737-200 proved to be inadequate regarding range and passenger/cargo capacities. Six of the much larger 727-200s are leased as stop-gap measures. Seeking a long-term solution, Southwest and US Air, with similar equipment needs approached the Boeing Company about a larger, longer-ranged 737. The new 737-300 was the result, and this aircraft was the first; entering service on December 17, 1984.
The 737-300 is powered by two GE/SNECMA CFM-56 high bypass turbofan engines. This engine is similar to those powering larger aircraft like the Boeing 757 and 767. It is quieter, more powerful, and produces fewer pollutants than earlier engines. N300SW is the first of 1,113 Boeing 737-300 aircraft built and the first in service with Southwest Airlines. Other variants of what we now call the “Classic” series are the larger 737-400 and the smaller 737-500, of which Southwest was also a launch customer. In November 1993, Southwest went back to Boeing for an improved 737 and became the launch customer for the “Next Generation” of the 737: the 737-700. The -700 looks similar to the -300, but it has more advanced CFM-56 engines with even less pollutants, a longer range, and advanced cockpits. The 737-700 is the most numerous 737 in Southwest service today, but the carrier will receive its first larger 737-800s in 2012.
N300SW, msn 22940, first flew on August 15, 1984, and was delivered to Southwest on November 30, 1984. Its first revenue service came on December 17, 1984, between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. The final revenue flight was on January 18, 2011, into Phoenix. The final flight was on April 18, 2011, from Everett—where it received a new coat of paint—to Dallas. N300SW logged 83,132 hours of flight over 77,301 cycles.
This aircraft was donated by Southwest Airlines and transformed into a premier historical exhibit by the hard work of many. The Spirit of Kitty Hawk nose section was installed and dedicated June 18, 2011, the 40th Anniversary of Southwest Airline’s first revenue flight from Love Field (or anywhere).