This article was originally written by 1st Lt Jeff Silverstein in August 2019; it originally appeared on https://cawgsq80ae.blogspot.com/ and was copied over to this website with permission from the original author.  2d Lt Kyle Blow added the pictures, courtesy of the creative commons, when transitioning this article over. 

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Why does the 737-200 still fly in Canada?  This aircraft, the second iteration of the well-regarded 737 series, stopped production in 1988, meaning the youngest of these aircraft are over 30 years old.  Of the worldwide fleet of 58 still in commercial service as of July 2018, 17 (about 29%) are flying in Canada.  What makes this plane so popular there? 
 
The biggest advantage is that it can be relatively easily fitted with a gravel kit: a combination of gravel deflectors attached to the nose wheel, vortex dissipators attached to the engine nacelles, and structural enhancements to the lower fuselage.  These devices allow this large plane to conduct operations on unpaved fields that are the norm in northern Canada, allowing the plane to bring in basic necessities and to provide those living in remote settlements a way to travel to and from the region. 
 
Given that much of northern Canada is peppered with these remote and temporary settlements (small towns, mining camps, etc.) that may only be accessible by air and for which permanent paved landing structures will probably never be available, the 737-200 is a vital lifeline to those who live there. 

A closeup view of the vortex dissipaters right below the engine. They use bleed air from the engine to prevent debris, such as gravel, from entering the engine.
Creative Commons Image “737 Gravel Kit” courtesy of “airforcefe” on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/10168114@N04/4082334066/
Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License
Closeup image of the gravel deflectors attached to the front wheels of the aircraft.
Image “Boeing 737-2Q2C/Adv – Air Gabon” courtesy of “Michel Gilliand” at https://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-Gabon/Boeing-737-2Q2C-Adv/1634027/L
Used under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
A closeup of the underside right in front of the two front wheels. Compare the differences between the setup of this gravel kit equipped 737-200 underside versus a standard 737-200.
Creative Commons Image “737 Gravel Kit” courtesy of “Airforcefe” on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/10168114@N04/4081575601/
Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License
The front of a standard Boeing 737-200 turned into a museum attraction. Notice how different, and simpler, the setup of the gear retractor is on this plane versus the gravel kit equipped planes shown in previous photos.
Creative Commons Image “Frontiers of Flight Museum December 2015 123 (Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-200 nose)” courtesy of “Michael Barera” on Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frontiers_of_Flight_Museum_December_2015_123_(Southwest_Airlines_Boeing_737-200_nose).jpg
Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
A Boeing 737-200 jet in service for Canadian North.
Creative Commons Image “Canadian North 737-200” courtesy of “RAF-YYC” on Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/raf_yyc/2850248770/
Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Kyle Blow

2d Lt Kyle Blow is one of the Public Affairs Officers and Historians of San Jose Senior Squadron 80.

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