Believe it or not, but one of the world’s largest commercial jets just got a bit bigger. Originally at a wingspan of about 213 feet, Boeing’s 777X is getting an upgrade to a whopping 235 feet. The longer wingspan is meant to increase takeoff ability, reduce thrust, and increase cruise altitudes, making the plane more efficient. But, the major downside to this extra-long wingspan, is that the aircraft will not be able to fit through the existing Boeing 777 gates. Because asking airports to build 777 gates with more clearance is impossible, Boeing made the last 12 feet of the wing tips foldable in order to fit through the gates. Additional locking pins and precautions will be used to ensure the wings don’t fold up during flight or unfold in the hangers.
The body of the 777X is also the longest that Boeing has manufactured, measuring up to 252 feet long. It has a twin-engine which uses more fuel than a single engine. However, having a twin engine is beneficial in that if one engine gives out, it’s still possible to continue flying the plane until it is safe to land.
Greenpoint Technologies, Jet Aviation, and Unique Aircraft Design have each designed an interior for the 777X. The options are essentially endless as there is a lot of space available in the cabin. The 777X is designed to seat 350 to 425 passengers.
Compared to their competitor, the Airbus A350-1000, the 777X has a larger cabin. It is about four inches wider because the thickness of the cabin wall has been reduced by two inches on either side. It also has larger windows--about 162 squared inches. It is also about 12% more fuel-efficient and costs about 10% less to operate. The first flight for the 777X is scheduled for later in 2019, so there’s quite a bit of buzz as new details are released.
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