6 months ago, if anyone told the American manufacturer Boeing’s executives that in the upcoming months the whole world would be speaking about their company; they would all enjoy this news and think that this would be about their new wide -bodied aircraft, the 777X. As it turned out it was not the way they imagined it. Today, the whole world is talking about Boeing but the reason behind the attention is not the 777X! In fact, the crisis caused by the 737 MAX is so deep that it even has casted a shadow over the enthusiasm created by the latest aircraft of the company which is going through the worst turbulence in its history!
Boeing announced that it will be manufacturing a new aircraft model at the Dubai Airshow held in 2013. The new generation twin-engine wide-bodied aircraft to be manufactured was planned to replace the 777 aircrafts bearing the load of the company in the wide - bodied aircraft market with Boeing’s legendary aircraft model 747.
Unveiled after a long design and development process, the 777X would be holding the title of world’s biggest twin-engine aircraft. The new generation 777X aircraft family of the American manufacturer will offer a fuel savings more than 12 percent compared with the Airbus A350-1000, and 20 percent compared with the Boeing 777-300ER.
777X’s wings will fold!
At the same time the 777X undoubtedly draws attraction with its foldable wing structure that was released to the market for the first time in the commercial aviation industry. The Boeing 777X aircraft were designed in a way to feature a spectacular wingspan of 235 feet in other words nearly 72.75 meters. However, this implied a wider distance than the passenger boarding bridges that it would approach at airports across the world when the aircraft are launched to service and also the door of the hangars planned for the production of the 777X aircraft.
Instead of trimming the wings of the aircraft or asking for bigger hangar doors to be built, Boeing engineers installed hinges to the aircraft’s wings and enabled the tips of the wings to be folded up and down. In this way, when the aircraft is on the ground, the wingspan could be reduced to 212 feet in other words to 64.82 meters.
The folding capability of the wings will be active only when the aircraft is on the ground and fuel will not be stored in the foldable parts of the wings. The tips of the wings cannot be folded during the flight or when the wings of the aircraft were not available due to a mechanical problem. Every aspect was considered in detail during the design process. Each of the latches of the mechanism were designed redundantly.
Until today, foldable wing models were utilized on military aircraft as they covered less space. The efforts to integrate this design to commercial aircraft date back many years. Without doubt, the issues such as the design of the aforementioned system, its launch to production and its impacts over flight performance involved substantial effort for Boeing.
These long and lightweight wings with a special design made of carbon fiber are subject to less friction in the air and they remove the vortex at the tips of the wings. In this way, a significant amount of fuel is saved. This indicates that the aircraft will make a considerable economic contribution to the airlines that operate the aircraft. 777X aircraft will offer a 10% advantage to the airline in terms of total operational expenses.
777X group has two members
The Boeing 777X group has two different models composed of the 777-8 with a 350 -375 passenger capacity and the 777-9 with a passenger capacity of 400-425. The price tag of the 777-8 is US$410.2 million and the 777-9 goes for US$442.2 million. When the range of the aircraft are examined the 777-8 provides a range of 8.690 nmi (16.090 km) and for the 777-9 the range is 7.525 nmi (13.940 km).
The Boeing 777-9 with a length of 251 feet, 9 in (76.72 m) will win the title of the world’s longest passenger aircraft as well. Previously, the Boeing 747 with the nickname queen of the skies used to hold this title with its length of 76.3 meters. The length of the 777-8 model will be 229 feet (69.79 m).
Aircraft engines setting new records
777X aircraft will be powered by two GE9X turbo fan jet engines. Moreover, the GE9X engine that will power the 777X will be win the title of the world’s biggest commercial aircraft engine. The diameter of the GE9X engine manufactured by GE Aviation is nearly the same as the diameter of the body of Boeing 737 aircraft.
The GE9X engine also bears the feature of being the model manufactured so far offering the greatest fuel savings.
The brand new GE9X is a winner in several disciplines. Its front fan spans a full 11 feet in diameter (3.35 meters), a world record. The engine also has 3D printed fuel nozzles and the most extensive use of parts made from lightweight and ultra-heat-resistant materials called ceramic matrix composites (CMCs).
As well as being more powerful, it’s bypass and pressure ratios are better than its predecessor, and it stays within Stage 5 noise limits, meaning a quieter ride for passengers. It features the largest fan ever produced by GE, with just 16 fan blades, the lowest number of any wide body engine in service.
Silently rolled out from the factory
On March 13, 2019, the roll - out ceremony was held for the first prototype of 777X aircraft. Boeing officials had planned a grand launch and expected distinguished guests from across the world, but rather, on that day they silently removed the aircraft from the factory and launched the 777X at the facilities in Seattle with the participation of a few employees due to the huge crisis caused by the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX aircraft in Addis Ababa only 3 days prior to the planned ceremony. The 777-9 was painted in classic Boeing blue and was introduced to the aviation authorities with a small ceremony.
Design Differences with the cabin
With their wide and spacious cabins, the 777X aircraft will offer a more comfortable and relaxed travel experience. These aircraft are designed to increase the enjoyment of air travel with attention to temperature, sound quality and a new lighting system in the cabins. The business class cabin has a unique design which has a very appealing seating configuration and also many other fine details as well.
The 777X will provide an additional space of 4 inches per passenger in the cabin. This design will even allow placing 7 seats in the same line while fully reclined, meeting the wide personal space expectations of business class passengers.
The windows are 16% larger than the ones in the Boeing 777 and are positioned higher on the body of the aircraft allowing for better natural lighting in the cabin while offering a perfect viewpoint for passengers. The overhead bins and individual storage spaces were broadened as well.
In the 777X aircraft there are optional packages will be offered for ceilings, lighting and chambers dividing the cabins, the market will see aircraft with 4 different cabins composed of first class, business class, premium economy and economy classes with different ceiling and lighting applications.
In the images Boeing provided, giving an idea about the cabin of the aircraft, a seating plan of 3-4-3 was displayed in the economy cabin; however, the cabin looks available to accommodate many more seats with a different seating configuration.
The passengers will not feel turbulence!
The Boeing 777X was equipped with the new generation Smoother Ride Technology. This technology was first launched within the 787 Dreamliner aircraft with the balance control system. On account of this technology, when the aircraft goes through turbulence, hundreds of sensors perceive the changes, interpret and transmit the data acquired to the flight control computers. The momentum and the maneuvers of the aircraft are regulated automatically as well. In this way, the effect of turbulence on passengers is decreased significantly.
First delivery to the Emirates!
Boeing already received a total of 344 777X aircraft, which were ordered by Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and by a customer whose name has not yet been disclosed. In the beginning, regarding the 777X aircraft, it was announced that the first delivery would be made to Lufthansa which was the first company to place the first order. However, in a later statement, Boeing announced that the first delivery of the 777X aircraft was planned to be made to the Emirates around mid-2020. Putting in an order of 150 aircraft, Dubai-based Emirates is currently the greatest customer of the 777X aircraft.
Despite the sector’s great enthusiasm about the new Boeing 777X, there is quite little information on the progress of the manufacturing activities. Furthermore, recently the rumor has it that the maiden flight will be delayed due to certain problems emerging at the engine of the aircraft, the GE9X. The date set for the 777-9 to embrace the skies is a key concern. It is obvious that the date specified for the first delivery would not be achieved if the delays in manufacturing and test programs continued.
Boeing is trying to eliminate doubts that are circulating especially with the 737 MAX, and it seems that more time is needed to fully enjoy the excitement of 777X