Boeing has brought along the 777X, their newest wide-body jet to the Dubai Airshow 2021, and we got the first look inside this big jet today. While the Boeing 777X is still an experimental jet and still under development, there was a lot to know about this new jet. Read on…
Boeing started working on the flight test for the Boeing 777X in January 2020 after delays due to the engine, but got caught up with Covid-19 I presume. Since then, the timeline of entry into service of the 777X has slipped over and over, and now, Boeing expects that this jet will enter commercial service in late 2023, as per a reiteration of the timeline from Boeing’s senior vice president Mike Fleming at the Dubai Airshow today.
What is the Boeing 777X?
The Boeing 777X is a new commercial jet, building upon the Boeing 777 platform with the learnings Boeing has from the Boeing 777 as well as the Boeing 787 platform over the decades. Once ready, it will be the world’s largest twin-engine jet. Boeing claims, With new breakthroughs in aerodynamics and engines, Boeing claims that the 777X will deliver 10-percent lower fuel use and emissions and 10-percent lower operating costs than the competition.
How far ahead is Boeing in the process of certifying the 777X?
Any new jet needs certification from the home regulator and other regulators as well, and for now, Boeing is completing an extensive test programme to display to the FAA that the jet is safe to fly. Four prototype jets of the 777X have collectively flown over 1,700 hours in over 600 test flights since January 2020 when the first flight of the jet happened. This was a part of the update from Mike Fleming as well today.
While he did not indicate how many more hours are needed on the book for the certification, he did indicate that the 787 Dreamliner went through 3,509 flight hours to secure their FAA certification. Fleming did not indicate a timeline for the certificiation, but he mentioned that, “As a result of what happened with the MAX, the regulators are being, just like Boeing is, more reflective on how they approach certification. They’re being more reflective on what they do and how they do it.”
Inside the 777X
Boeing has brought the Boeing 777-9 (experimental) to Dubai. The -9 is the larger of the two airframes that will be a part of the 777X lineup, and is 251 feet 9 inches long, which is about 10 more feet added to the 777-300 airframe.
In terms of the wingspan, however, the aircraft is over 235 feet wide. Boeing realised that the 777X would be too large to fit the gates at airports, and to avoid a situation such as the A380/747 where special code F gates had to be put in place, they have installed foldable wingtips on these aircraft. These 12-feet long wingtips stretch out when ready to take off, and once the plane lands, the pilot can fold up the wingtips.
The 777-9 will be able to seat up to 426 passengers in a 2-cabin configuration, and will pick up from the development of the 787 programme as well. That means for a customer on board, there will be a lower cabin altitude and higher humidity. Not just that, Boeing promises larger windows and a quieter airplane.
In the cockpit as well, the 777X is a crossover between the design of the 777 and the 787, with a lot of the components moving to a screen-based and touch-screen design. One of the new knobs, however, for the pilots of this aircraft to deal with, will be the one to fold up or flatten the wingtip.
Heather Ross, deputy chief pilot for the 777X programme, talked us through the other features to look out for on the 777X Flight Deck, things which would make it easy for the pilot to comandeer the machine.
Inside the cabin, which does not have any sort of a customer-design layout right now, given it is still a testbed, the aircraft looks huge. In part the credit goes to the larger windows here, because it allows for more sunlight to stream in.
Boeing has 8 customers for their newest jet right now, which include All Nippon Airways (ANA), British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines. At the press briefing, Boeing told us that they do not know who will get the first aircraft delivered, as this has not been decided yet.
What do you think of the Boeing 777X?
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