Yesterday, after two days of bad weather, the new Boeing 777X was finally allowed to complete its first maiden flight from Boeing Fields in Everett.
After the difficulties with the recertification of the 737MAX, Boeing made a consistent step forward in regaining trust of the customers, showing off its latest plane.
The 2020, therefore, offers it first pleasant event for Boeing which closed the 2019 with only 380 deliveries (the lowest number registered from 2008 and 53% less than 2018) and, earlier this month, stated that, although some consistent progresses have been completed, the 737MAX is not expected to resume service before the month of June.
The 777X is going to be the largest twin engine aircraft by the time it enters in service.
To give an idea of how large and wide it is, Boeing showed that the fuselage can fit the one of an A350.
The most interesting feature of the new version of the 777 is the foldable wingtips.
They were studied, basing on what the fighter jets already do on the aircraft carriers, in order to allow the 777X to use the same gates of its older brother, despite the larger wing span.
This function reduces the wingspan from 71 meters to approximately 65 (the wingspan of the 777-200LR/-300ER).
They cannot be used in flight to improve performances, as this airplane has been developed without winglets as the older version.
This suggest that, as in the past with the 737, Boeing is still trying to renew its offer updating the various models, but without changing drastically their design.
Talking about performances, the new ‘Triple Seven‘ implements the last generation engines GE9X by General Electrics.
The benefit of using those engine is a 10% lower fuel use and emissions over a maximum range of 9300 nautical miles (17200 km) for the 777-9 and of 8200 nautical miles (15200 km) for the smaller 777-8.
The operating costs, according to Boeing, will be reduced by 10% too, making the 777X one of the most suitable aircraft for companies who are renewing their long range fleet.
Indeed many orders have already been placed by ANA, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Emirates (115 aircrafts ordered), Etihad, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.
All these companies already operate the Boeing 777, except Lufthansa which has 7 Boeing 777-200F for freighter flights.
Boeing is clearly trying to standardize, as much as possible, the cockpit design of its airplanes.
Following the Boeing 787 and the 737MAX, also the new 777 features a cockpit arrangement which looks similar to its predecessor, even though it maintains some elements similar to the old version, such as the MCP.
The cockpit color is changing from the brownish typical of the Boeing 777 to the grey tone of the 787/737 MAX.
Earlier in 2019 many pictures showing the explosion of part of the fuselage started to circulate after the cabin pressurization stress tests made by Boeing.
Initially the company said that the issue regarded only the cargo door, but in November The Seattle Times showed that the damage affected a significant part of the fuselage.
Although the issue was indisputably important, the explosion occurred when the Design Ultimate Load (the load up to which no catastrophic failure must occur) was already exceeded.
Therefore this incident didn’t affect the certification path of the aircraft.
A significant delay, nevertheless, has been caused by the development of the GE9X which suffered a compressor issue that lead to the recall of all the engines already built by General Electrics.
Finally, by the way, the aircraft completed its first historic flight, and now the first deliveries are expected in 2021 as the 777X continues the testing phase.
The 777X was studied to compete against the Airbus A350, which is already in service, on long hauls and intercontinental flights.
Will Boeing succeed in gaining the leadership of such a sector? We’ll see… but, in the meantime, the friendly competition between the American company and Airbus is offering some good scenes…
Part of the informations in this post are taken from other sources such as Boeing and Simple Flying.
No copyright violation intended.