First look at folding wings on Boeing's 777X jetliner

So you want a plane with huge lift capability and the wingspan to match, but you also need it to fit through...

Posted: Oct 7, 2018 10:43 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2018 10:43 PM

So you want a plane with huge lift capability and the wingspan to match, but you also need it to fit through regular airport gates.

What do you do? If you're Boeing and the craft is the new 777X, you switch up the game by adding folding wings.

Aircraft

Aviation and aerospace industry

Boeing Co

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Companies

The world got its first glance at this unique innovation on October 3, during a live webcast from Boeing's factory floor in Everett, Washington, where the first flight-test 777X is being built.

The aircraft is the 777-9X variant, the first of its next-generation 777s, and when it takes to the air it will be the world's biggest twin-engine jetliner.

It's a wing thing

Once completed, the 777-9X is to have the widest wingspan of any aircraft in the company's 102-year history: 235 feet, five inches.

Its hinged wingtips alone measure 12 feet, with locking pins to prevent them from folding during flight.

The wings give the jetliner extra lift, similar to that of a giant sailplane glider, helping the plane to save an overall 12% more fuel than the Airbus A350, according to Boeing.

Now, you might have seen something similar on military aircraft -- such as the F/A-18 fighters which need to squeeze onto US aircraft carriers -- but when it comes to commercial planes this wing thing is the first of its kind.

In fact, the US Federal Aviation Administration had to draft new regulations just for the 777-9X and its sister craft, the 777-8X.

While its wingspan is pretty epic, it's not the biggest out there.

It's a little smaller than an Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger airliner, which has a span of 261 feet, five inches.

And it's a good bit less than the 385-foot span of the upcoming Stratolaunch, which will be used to launch rockets and space planes into orbit. When that flies, it will be the world's largest airplane.

Static test plane

October's wing reveal follows on the heels of the "fully assembled" static 777-9X test plane being rolled out at the Everett facility in September.

While it will never take to the skies, the static aircraft is to undergo almost a year of testing on the ground to verify the structural strength and accuracy of the design.

Although the airframe is largely complete, it's missing some components, such as engines and an avionics system.

Structure and load-bearing

"Static test is our opportunity to verify the design of the structure and load-bearing components of the airplane, ensuring the final product is safe for our customers and the flying public," says Doreen Bingo, Boeing Test and Evaluation 777X Test Program manager.

"Using a full-scale airplane, we'll run various load conditions on the wings, gears, the struts and the fuselage."

The wings have been tested at one-and-a-half-times the designated load during previous static tests, resulting in a wing flexing more than 26 feet.

Engineering revolution

The jet's fuselage is made of aluminum, like most airliners, but the wings are made of super-strong, light weight carbon fiber, which helps it to save fuel. (That's why the wings are so flexible.) A special process is required to make the wings, including a huge, custom pressurized oven to bake the carbon fiber material.

Seating 350 to 425 passengers, the airliner is due to debut in 2020, with test flights beginning next year.

Boeing says its operating costs will work out 10% lower than that of the A350-1000.

The plane's range is expected to reach more than 14,000 kilometers (8,699 miles) -- about the distance between Dubai and Panama City.

Several airlines have already placed orders, including Emirates, All Nippon Airways and Lufthansa.

Boeing's new X family comes as part of an engineering revolution allowing jetliners with only two engines to take on many of the same global routes as larger, fuel-guzzling four-engine airliners such as the 747 and Airbus's A340 and A380 Super Jumbo.

Initial versions of the 777 have been flying for two decades. The X family will come with its own newly designed engine: General Electric's GE9X, which is currently in testing.

The 777-8X, which will have a longer range but a smaller capacity, is also in the works.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1390015

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1541781574
Cuyahoga1361632341
Hamilton989691326
Montgomery681371161
Summit569981051
Lucas51769869
Butler48139663
Stark42350983
Lorain32165539
Warren30497338
Mahoning27564643
Clermont26081297
Lake24873422
Delaware22600147
Licking20818246
Fairfield20789223
Greene20667275
Trumbull20378516
Medina20178290
Clark18235332
Richland16749236
Portage16442231
Wood15973209
Allen14405261
Miami14063261
Muskingum12976155
Wayne12234244
Columbiana12046242
Tuscarawas11248271
Marion10935150
Pickaway10642129
Scioto10585127
Erie9888171
Ross9648177
Lawrence8967125
Hancock8637143
Ashtabula8509187
Geauga8272156
Belmont8262188
Jefferson7736175
Huron7566131
Union743951
Washington7396126
Athens712065
Sandusky6984135
Darke6884137
Knox6839122
Seneca6533137
Ashland6078115
Auglaize596888
Shelby5845104
Brown578272
Mercer565890
Crawford5591117
Defiance5579101
Madison552171
Highland550982
Fulton543583
Clinton535781
Logan520587
Preble5123111
Putnam4909107
Guernsey487664
Williams469982
Perry464454
Champaign454964
Ottawa443584
Jackson436663
Pike400745
Morrow398251
Coshocton393669
Fayette385053
Adams371575
Hardin367570
Gallia356658
Holmes3326111
Henry331869
Van Wert321471
Hocking312370
Wyandot286058
Carroll267052
Paulding247443
Meigs223042
Monroe193149
Noble174442
Morgan170329
Harrison161741
Vinton141919
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Monday is another nice and breezy day with warmer temperatures.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events