Boeing’s New Flagship: The 777X

For all the advancements in man-powered air travel, it’s hard to believe that we only grasped the concept a little over a hundred years ago. Humans went from not being able to get off the ground to setting foot on the moon in under 70 years. That breakneck pace of innovation seems to be as present as ever in the designs of some of the next-gen airliners.

Take the case of Boeing’s flagship (now that the 747 is phased out) long-range passenger transport aircraft, the 777X. The 777 as a model isn’t new, having been around since the mid-’90s. But its latest makeover includes some cutting-edge innovations that will certainly make it a sight to behold when it officially rolls out for its first flight later this year.

Among the most readily noticeable innovations is the wing. Boeing’s fourth-gen composite wing reaches 108 feet on each side of the 777X, making its official wingspan over 235 feet, 36 feet wider than its predecessor’s. All of this contributes to the aircraft’s fuel efficiency and aerodynamics, which sounds great until you think, “How is this thing going to fit into airport terminals and jetways?” Well, Boeing thought of that too.

They designed the wing to have a break point 12 feet from each wingtip. Thus, the outermost 12 feet of each wing will fold upward after landing, allowing the aircraft to be accommodated at existing airport terminals without the airports themselves having to invest in adaptation.

Previously, this wing-folding technology was only deployed on military aircraft on carriers at sea. It’s crazy to think what will come next!

Photo courtesy: Boeing