Boeing’s 777X jet — basically the blockbuster of the aviation world at the moment — is getting closer to making its grand debut.
The first 777X-9 aircraft made an appearance at the Boeing facility in Everett, Washington, earlier this month. Although there’s a lot of hype surrounding this particular aircraft, it will never take to the skies.
The plane will undergo one year of testing on the ground to make sure that it’s fit for the skies, according to CNN. Although the airframe is almost complete, the plane doesn’t have an avionics system or engine installed.
“We’ve been in tests for several years for different components of this aircraft, starting with wind tunnels, into smaller component structure and the systems integration laboratory,” Doreen Bingo, Boeing’s director of engineering and the 777x test program manager, told Aeronautics Online. “The static test really represents the home stretch of our test program because we build the full-scale articles for lab and flight test.”
The testing is particularly rigorous because on this aircraft, Boeing is doing something it has never done before: wings that fold up. The 235-foot wingspan is the widest that Boeing has ever created in its history. The foldable wingtips alone measure 12 feet.
Boeing developed the folding wingtip so that, despite its impressive size, the 777X will be able to taxi to normal gates at the airport. (One problem that has plagued the gigantic A380, from rival Airbus, is that it’s too big for many airports.) The wingspan will also make it 12 percent more fuel efficient than the rival A350, according to Boeing. The plane will also feature the world’s largest engine.
Several airlines, including Emirates, ANA, and Lufthansa, have already placed orders for the aircraft.