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Boeing 777

Posted on June 09 2021

Boeing 777 user+1@localho… Wed, 06/09/2021 - 21:17

The Boeing 777 is a series of widebody airliners that are currently produced by the Chicago-based manufacturer. Launched on Oct. 29, 1990, with an order for 34 airframes from United Airlines—which also included an equal number of options—the 777 was, at the time, “the first entirely new” airplane designed by Boeing in over a decade, while also being “the first jetliner to be 100% digitally designed using three-dimensional computer graphics.” Subsequent to its launch, the first flight of the 777 took place on June 12, 1994—performed by an airframe designated WA001 and registered as N7771—from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, the location of Boeing’s widebody assembly facilities. Following a flight-test program that included six airframes and completed over 3,000 hr. of flight testing, the 777-200 received approval from the FAA on April 19, 1995. The first 777, a -222 variant designating United’s customer code, was delivered to the launch customer on May 17, 1995. Following that delivery, United placed in the type into service between London Heathrow and Washington Dulles as flight 921 on June 7, 1995.

While the first United 777 was powered by a variant of Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000-series engines, the -200 is also certified by to be powered by General Electric’s (GE) GE90 series and Rolls-Royce’s Trent 800 series. Beyond the initial version of the 777-200, Boeing also developed higher-gross-weight options of the -200 variant that have been marketed as the -200IGW (increased gross weight) and -200ER (extended range), with the latter marketed as having a range of 7,065 nm. The first flight of a -200IGW took place on Oct. 4, 1996, a flight that was performed by an airframe registered as N5022E. Less than two years after the first 777 entered service, the first upgraded -200IGW—powered by GE90-85B engines—was delivered to British Airways of Feb. 7, 1997, and subsequently entered service between London Heathrow and Boston on Feb. 9, 1997.

During the same month that the 777 entered service, Boeing launched the second 777 variant, the -300, with orders from Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), Cathay Pacific Airways, Korean Air and Thai Airways International. That version of the 777 airframe was authorized by Boeing’s board of directors on June 26, 1995, rolled out of Boeing’s production facilities on Sept. 8, 1997, and made its first flight on Oct. 16, 1997—also from Paine Field—a flight that was powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 892 engines, on an airplane registered as N5014K and which lasted 4 hr., 6 min. When the airplane was certified by the FAA and European Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) in May 1998, it also received 180-min. extended operations (ETOPS) approval from the former aviation authority. The first 777-300—registered as B-HNH—was delivered on May 21, 1998, to Cathay Pacific Airways, with the airplane entering service between Hong Kong and Osaka, Japan on June 1, 1998.

In addition to the 777-300, Boeing also developed an extended-range version of that airframe that increased the range by 1,400 nm, while retaining the same maximum passenger capacity. Launched by Boeing and GE Aircraft Engines in February 2000 alongside the 777-200LR, the first flight of the 777-300ER took place on Feb. 24, 2003, from Paine Field—performed by an airframe registered N5017V—beginning a flight-test program that included “nearly” 1,500 flight hours. Subsequent to the completion of that test program, the -300ER was certified by both the FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)—received an amended type certificate (ATC)—in March 2004, with the first delivery to International Lease Finance Corp. customer Air France taking place in April 2004.

Following its February 2000 launch, the longest-range variant of the 777, the -200LR (longer range), was unveiled in February 2005, with the first flight—performed by an airframe registered as N60659—taking place from Paine Field on March 8, 2005. Less than 11 months after that first flight, the -200LR received joint certification from the FAA and EASA in early February 2006. The first -200LR was delivered to Pakistan International Airlines in February 2006, with that airframe departing Paine Field for Manchester, England on Feb. 25, 2006, and subsequently entering service between Manchester and Islamabad, Pakistan.

A freighter version of the 777-200LR, marketed and designated as the 777F, made its first flight on July 14, 2008, a flight that was performed by a 777-F28 registered as N5020K. Described by Boeing as being “the sixth member of the 777 airplane family,” the 777F also represented the last of the variant of the first-generation 777s to be certified. After this variant of the series received FAA and EASA certification, the first airframe was delivered to Air France in February 2009. Regardless of any differences between the variants of the 777 series, the common type certificate for all five variants of the 777 type is held by The Boeing Co. of Renton, Washington.

The second generation of the 777, marketed as the 777X, was launched by the company at the 2013 Dubai Airshow. With orders from Emirates (150 airplanes), Etihad Airways (25), Lufthansa (34) and Qatar Airways (50), Boeing touted the launch of the 777X program as representing “the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by value.” Among the improvements incorporated into the second-generation 777 airframes are GE Aviation’s GE9X engines, as well as the ability of the airplane’s wingtip to fold for ground operations in order to ensure compatibility with existing gate spaces.

777 Variant

FAA Certification Date

777-200

April 19, 1995

777-200LR

Feb. 2, 2006

777-300

May 4, 1998

777-300ER

March 16, 2004

777F

Feb. 3, 2009

Cabin Configurations and Outfitting

Beyond the maximum certified passenger capacities noted below, Boeing promotes the 777-200LR as having a two-class capacity of 317. While the company’s “Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning” document does not provide information on the layouts required to accommodate that capacity, it does provide information on the possible configurations of the 777’s cabin. The three-class configurations depicted in those documents for the 777-200 accommodate 305 and 328 passengers, with the former including 24 first class seats with a 60-in. pitch, 54 business-class seats with a 38-in. pitch and 227 economy-class seats that feature a 32-in. pitch. However, Boeing notes that 79 economy-class seats in this configuration are limited to a 31-in. pitch. In the lower-density 305-passenger capacity, 24 first-class, 61 business-class and 243 economy-class seats are available—60 economy-class seats have a 31-in. pitch—with the seat pitches remaining the same. In a two-class configuration—including a first class with seats with a 38-in. pitch and an economy class that has seats with a 31-in. or  32-in. pitch—a 375-seat configuration that accommodates 30 first-class passengers and 345 economy-class passengers is possible, as well as a 400-seat configuration that retains the same first-class capacity and increases economy-class seating to 370. In those configurations, 152 and 118 seats, respectively, have a slightly reduced seat pitch of 31 in. The single-class configurations, which have seats with a 31-in. or 32-in. pitch, accommodate either 418 or 440 passengers.

In addition to the -200LR’s advertised two-class capacity, Boeing’s airport planning document for the variant states that the airframe’s cabin can accommodate 268 and 279-seat arrangements, with that lower capacity featuring 40 “premium business class” seats that have an 82-in. pitch and 228 economy-class seats with a 32-in. pitch. The 279-seat configuration includes 42 first-class seats with a 60-in. pitch and 237 economy-class seats that have a 34-in. pitch. Although the three-class configurations depicted in Boeing’s documentation adds another class of seats, the noted capacities increase to 296 and 301, with the former configuration including six first-class seats that have a 87-in. pitch, 42 business-class seats with a 50-in. pitch and 248 economy-class that feature a 32-in. pitch. The denser configuration includes 16 first-class seats, 58 business-class seats and 227 economy-class seats, with the respective seat pitches of those classes being 61 in., 39 in. and 32 in.

The larger 777-300 and -300ER variants increase the maximum-certified capacity by 110 passengers in comparison to the -200 and -200LR, with Boeing promoting the -300ER as able to accommodate 396 passengers in a two-class configuration. Despite that promoted two-class capacity, in the company’s airport planning document the -300 is noted as able to be configured in 451-seat (40 first class and 411 economy class) and 479-seat (44 first class and 435 economy class) configurations, with 139 and 98 economy-class seats in those configurations reduced to a 31-in. pitch. Three-class configurations including 394-seat (30 first class, 80 business class and 284 economy class) and 368-seat (30 first class, 84 business class and 254 economy class) layouts are also possible, with the seat pitches in the first and business classes being 60 in. and 38 in. With respect to the economy-class seating, however, there are slight differences in seat pitch. Specifically, 82 of the economy-class seats in the 368-seat configuration have a slightly reduced 31-in. pitch, while the other 172 seats in that configuration and all 284 economy-class seats in the 394-seat configuration have a 32-in. pitch. The most-dense, single-class configurations of the -300 are able to accommodate 500 or 550 seats that have a 30 in., 31-in. or 32-in. pitch.

As is the case when comparing the -200 and -200LR, the configurations of the -300ER that are published by Boeing differ slightly from the -300, with the typical two-cabin layouts able to accommodate 339 and 378 passengers, the former of which includes 56 first-class seats that have a pitch of 60 in. and 283 economy-class seats that decrease that pitch to 32 in. The 378-seat two-class arrangement incorporates 28 first-class seats that increase the pitch to 62 in. and 350 economy-class seats that reduce the pitch to 31 in. The typical three-class capacities found in Boeing’s airport planning materials include 368 and 370 seats, with the former sacrificing economy-class seats—it includes 276 such seats that have a 32-in. pitch—in favor of additional first (22) and business-class (70) seats that have pitches of 61 in. and 39 in., respectively. The 370-seat configuration reduces the number of respective first and economy-class seats to 12 and 42; however, those seats have increased pitches of 87 in. and 50 in. The 378-seat configuration also includes 316 economy-class seats that have a 32-in. pitch.

The features of the 777’s cabin that are promoted by Boeing include the size of the overheard bins—which are noted for their ability to expedite boarding and deplaning—and the available light-emitting diode (LED) lighting system that can be used to “create a unique ambiance during various phases of flight.” Additionally, the cabin is noted for its connectivity and in-flight entertainment features, including live TV available in the seatback in-flight entertainment system (IFE), Wi-Fi and “wireless streaming to personal device[s].” With regard to the configuration of the cabin, Boeing states that first-class cabins can be configured to include four or six-abreast seating (1 X 2 X 1 and 2 X 2 X 2, respectively). Business-class seating can be in seven (2 X 3 X 2) or eight-abreast arrangements (2 X 4 X 2), with either eight or nine-abreast premium-economy seating is also possible, the latter of which is in a 3 X 3 X 3 layout. The economy cabin can also be configured in a 3 X 3 X 3 layout, as well as a 10-abreast configuration (3 X 4 X 3).

Specific to the two 777 variants with the longest range—the -200LR and -300ER—the placement of the crew rest areas in the “crown above the main deck” is promoted as increasing the space available for both revenue cargo and passengers, an arrangement that is also an option on the -200ER. On both the -200ER and -200LR, Boeing states that the overhead placement of the crew rest areas creates room for four additional business-class seats on the main deck, as well as four LD-3 containers in the lower-deck cargo hold. On the -300ER, this placement of the crew rest areas allows operators to add four business-class and three economy-class seats, as well as six LD-3 containers.

According to Boeing, the cabins of the 777X variants will include a number of improvements, including cleaner air, lowered cabin altitude and noise, improved humidity and temperature control and a width that is increased by 4 in.—2 in. on either side—by reducing the cabin wall thickness. Additional cabin improvements found on the 777-8 and -9 involve the use of “advanced LED lighting,” as well as overhead bins and windows that are of increased size. Despite the fact that the 777X variants will retain an aluminum fuselage structure—in comparison to the 787’s composite structure—they will have a reduced cabin altitude of 6,000 ft. That altitude, which is lower than the 8,000 ft. standard for “conventional aircraft,” is also lower than what the first-generation 777 airframes are capable of because the airframe is “designed to operate at a higher internal pressure than the current model.”

As is the case with the first-generation 777 variants, the 777-9’s cabin can be configured in a variety of different configurations, with Boeing’s airport planning document for that variant specifying standard configurations for two and three-class cabins. The standard two-class configuration accommodates a total of 414 passengers and includes 42 business-class seats with an 85-in. pitch, as well as 372 economy-class seats that have a 32-in. pitch. The less-densely configured three-class layout accommodates a total of 349 passengers, with that capacity made up of eight first class “individual cabins,” 49 business-class seats and 292 economy-class seats, with the business and economy-class seats having the same seat pitches as the two-class configuration.

Cargo Capacity

The space in the 777’s cabin is supplemented by lower-deck cargo space, with the -200 and -200LR having a lower-deck cargo volume of 5,656 ft.3 On those variants of the type, that space is able to accommodate a number of LD3 container configurations, including 18 158-ft.3 LD3 containers in forward cargo compartment, 14 similarly sized containers in the aft cargo compartment and 600 ft.3 in bulk cargo. The 777-300 and -300ER also share a common lower-deck cargo volume of 7,552 ft.3, with the bulk cargo volume remaining the same and the number of 158-ft.3 LD3 containers able to be carried in the forward and aft compartments of the -300 increased to 24 and 20, respectively.

According to Boeing’s airport planning documents for the 777-9, the volume of lower-deck cargo capacity is either 7,815 ft.3 or 8,131 ft.3, with the latter possible with the installation of an “optional aft large cargo door.” Regardless of whether that optional cargo door is installed, the bulk cargo capacity (547 ft.3) and number of 158-ft.3 LD3 containers able to be carried in the forward cargo compartment (26) is the same, while the number of LD3 containers is increased from 20 to 22 when the optional cargo door is installed.

Avionics

Pilots operate the first-generation 777s using avionics that include features such as customizable electronic checklists, a Class 3 electronic flight bag (EFB)—which is able to display documents that include aircraft and pilot logbooks, charts and flight manuals—and “large flat-panel displays [that] present flight information in readily accessible form.” Those flat-panel displays are 8 X 8 in. liquid crystal displays (LCD), with two located in front of each pilot—one each for the display of primary flight information and navigation—as well as two other displays, located in the center of the panel and on the center pedestal, that serve as multifunction displays (MFD).

Although the second-generation 777X variants feature touchscreen displays—which represent the first such application in commercial aviation—Boeing states that the avionics are operationally common with the first-generation variants of airframe. The components of the 777X’s flight deck include five 15.1-in. landscape-format LCDs that are provided by Collins Aerospace, which are “the same basic displays used in the 787 [and] the 737 MAX.” In contrast to the display configuration on the first-generation 777 variants, four of those displays are located “across the instrument panel,” with a fifth display centrally located. Another technology available on the variants of the 777X is a Class 2 EFB, with those devices having “greater connectivity and the ability to run multiple applications.” Unlike the 787, however, where dual head-up displays (HUD) are standard equipment, they are offered as an option on the 777-8 and -9.

Mission and Performance

With the ranges noted below—as well as maximum certified capacities of 440 and 550—the variants of the 777 series are able to serve long-range routes with substantial capacity. The primary competitor for the passenger-configured first-generation 777 variants is Airbus’ out-of-production A340-500 and -600, with the specific comparisons in passenger capacity, range, maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and dimensions noted below. Similarly, the direct competitors for the 777-8 and -9 are the two variants of the A350 airframe, the -900 and -1000.

Comparison: 777-200/-300 Series and A340-500/-600 Specifications

 

777-200ER

777-200LR

777-300ER

A340-500

A340-600

Maximum Certified Passenger Capacity

440

550

375

440

Maximum Range (nm)

7,065

8,555

7,370

9,000

7,800

Engine

GE90

General Electric GE90

Rolls-Royce Trent 500

PW4000

Trent 800

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

656,000

766,000

775,000

837,756

Wingspan

199 ft. 11 in.

212 ft. 7 in.

208 ft. 2 in.

Length

209 ft. 1 in.

242 ft. 4 in.

222 ft. 11 in.

247 ft. 3 in.

Height

60 ft. 9 in.

61 ft. 1 in.

60 ft. 8 in.

56 ft. 8 in.

58 ft. 10 in.

 

Comparison: 777-8/-9 and A350-900/-1000

 

777-8

777-9

A350-900

A350-1000

Passenger Capacity

384

426

440

Maximum Range (nm)

8,730

7,285

8,100

8,700

Engine (2X)

General Electric (GE) GE9X

Rolls-Royce Trent XWB

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

775,000

617,295

696,661

Wingspan

235 ft. 5 in.

212 ft. 5 in.

Length

229 ft.

251 ft. 9 in.

219 ft. 2 in.

242 ft. 1 in.

Height

63 ft. 11 in.

64 ft. 1 in.

55 ft. 11 in.

56 ft.

In addition to the differing ranges of the 777 variants, the maximum operating limit speed (MMO) also varies, with the -200 variant limited to an MMO of 0.87 Mach. Aside from the -200, all other currently certified 777 variants are limited to an MMO of 0.89 Mach. In contrast to the different performance figures and limitations, all 777 variants are limited to a maximum operating altitude of 43,100 ft.

Variants

 777-200/-300 Specifications

 

777-200

777-200ER

777-200LR

777F

777-300

777-300ER

Maximum Certified Passenger Capacity

440

11*

550

Maximum Range (nm)

5,150

7,065

8,555

4,970

5,960

7,370

Engine

General Electric GE90

General Electric GE90

General Electric GE90

Pratt & Whitney PW4000

General Electric GE90

Pratt & Whitney PW4000

Rolls-Royce Trent 800

Rolls-Royce Trent 800

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

535,000

656,000

766,000

766,800

660,000

775,000

Wingspan

199 ft. 11 in.

212 ft. 7 in.

199 ft. 11 in.

212 ft. 7 in.

Length

209 ft. 1 in.

242 ft. 4 in.

Height

60 ft. 9 in.

61 ft. 1 in.

 

60 ft. 8 in.

*Total persons capacity

777-8 and -9 Specifications

 

777-8

777-9

Two-Class Passenger Capacity

384

426

Maximum Range (nm)

8,730

7,285

Engine (2X)

General Electric (GE) GE9X

Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW)(lb.)

775,000

Maximum Landing Weight (lb.)

 

587,000

Wingspan

235 ft. 5 in.

Length

229 ft.

251 ft. 9 in.

Height

63 ft. 11 in.

64 ft. 1 in.

 

777 Variant

Certified Engine Variants

General Electric GE90

Pratt & Whitney PW4000

Rolls-Royce Trent 800

777-200

GE90-76B½GE90-85B

GE90-90B½GE90-94B

PW4074½PW4074D

PW4077½PW4077D

PW4090½PW4084D

PW4090-3

RB211-Trent 875-17

RB211-Trent 877-17

RB211-Trent 884-17

RB211-Trent 892-17

RB211-Trent 892B-17

RB211-Trent 895-17

777-200LR

GE90-110B1

GE90-115B

 

 

777-300

 

PW4090½PW4098

RB211-Trent 884-17

RB211-Trent 884B-17

RB211-Trent 892-17

777-300ER

GE90-115B

 

 

777F

GE90-110B1

GE90-115B

 

 

GE Aviation GE90 Engines

Certified to power all 777 variants except the -300, the first flight of a GE90-powered 777—a -200, the sixth 777 built—took place on Feb. 2, 1995, with the first delivery subsequently taking place to British Airways on Nov. 11, 1995. Among the technologies that are incorporated into the GE90 are carbon-fiber fan blades—which represent the first use of fan blades made of that material in commercial aviation—the benefits of which include increased strength and decreased weight when compared to titanium. The takeoff static thrust limits of the GE90 variants noted above vary—assuming sea-level altitude—between 81,070 lb. for the -76B that powers the -200 variant and 115,540 lb. for the -115B that is an available option for both the -200LR and 777F.

Pratt & Whitney PW4000 Engines

Beyond being the launch engine for the 777 type and the first to enter service, the PW4000 series is also available as an engine option on the -200ER and -300. Pratt & Whitney states that the PW4000-series engines that power those 777 variants have a 112-in. diameter fan, with the static thrust ratings at takeoff—also based on sea-level altitude—ranging from 77,400 lb. for the PW4074 to 99,040 lb. on the PW4098. Representing the company’s largest commercial engine, the PW4000 series also features hollow titanium fan blades that are further described as being shroudless. Prior to entering service in 1995 with United, the PW4000 program was launched in October 1990 and made its first flight in November 1993.

Rolls-Royce Trent 8000

The third engine variant to enter service on the 777 was Rolls-Royce’s Trent 800 series, with the variants of that engine promoted as being substantially lighter the GE and Pratt & Whitney engine options, an aspect that is marketed as enabling equipped airframes to carry a greater payload. The variants of the series certified to power the -200, -200ER and -300 have takeoff static thrust ratings that vary between 76,580 lb. (Trent 875-17) and 92,940 lb. (Trent 895-17).

777-200/-200IGW/-200ER

Prior to being marketed as the 777-200IGW, that higher-gross-weight version of the airframe was “referred to as the ‘B’ model aircraft,” with the initial 777-200 “previously called the ‘A’ model.” Although they share the same dimensions and engine options as the -200, the -200IGW and -200ER increased both the MTOW and fuel capacity, with the latter initially increased to 632,500 lb. In comparison to the -200, an additional 14,220 gal. of fuel is able to be carried in the center wing section, with that additional fuel capacity increasing the total usable fuel capacity from 31,000 gal. (207,700 lb.) on the baseline 777-200 to 45,220 gal. (302,270 lb.) on the -200IGW/-200ER. According to a Boeing press release shortly after the -200IGW entered service, the additional fuel allowed for a 2,300 nm increase in the airframe’s range to 8,225 nm. In order to enable the increased maximum weights of the -200IGW/-200ER, a number of changes were made to the -200 airframe, including the strengthening of the elevator and horizontal stabilizer; nacelle, thrust reverser and strut; rudder and vertical fin and structure and systems. The strengthening of the structure and systems was done in order to accommodate this version’s “higher loads,” while the increased strength of the elevator and horizontal stabilizer; nacelle, thrust reverser and strut; and rudder and vertical fin were done to “accommodate increased engine thrust up to 90,000 lb.”

Additionally, the maximum “spec operating empty weight[s]” for the baseline and higher-gross-weight versions (IGW/ER)—for the airframe’s baseline configuration of 375 passengers—varies based on the equipped engine. The spec operating empty weights for GE90, PW4000 and Trent 800-equipped baseline 777s are 298,900 lb. or 299,550 lb., 296,600 lb. or 297,250 lb. and 293,400 lb. or 294,050 lb., respectively. On the higher-gross-weight airframe, those weights are increased to 304,500 lb., 302,200 lb. and 299,000 lb. The maximum structural payloads for the baseline and higher-gross-weight options of the -200 also vary based on engine type, with Boeing noting that GE90-equipped airframes have respective limitations of 120,450 lb./121,100 lb. and 125,550 lb. The limitations for baseline and higher-gross-weight airframes equipped with PW4000 engines are 122,750 lb./123,400 lb. and 127,800 lb., weights that are increased on Trent 800-powered airframes to 125,950 lb./126,600 lb. and 131,000 lb. In contrast to later variants of the 777, the -200 has the distinction of being the only variant of the series that is certified to be powered by variants of the GE90, PW4000 and Trent 800.

777-200LR

Described by Boeing as being “a derivative of the 777-200 [that] is equipped with raked wingtips to provide additional cruise altitude and range,” the aspects of the -200 that the 777-200LR retains include the fuselage length and maximum passenger capacity. The characteristics of the airframe that distinguish the -200LR from the variant that it is derived from include the thrust ratings of its GE90 variants—the -110B1 and -115B—the maximum weights and fuel capacity and the wingspan, the latter of which is increased by 12 ft. 8 in. because of the installation of the raked wingtips. In comparison to the MTOW of the -200ER, the -200LR increases that limitation by 110,000 lb. to 766,000 lb., while the usable fuel capacity is increased to 47,890 gal. (320,863 lb.). Other weight information provided by Boeing for the -200LR includes an operating empty weight for a typical three-class configuration of 320,000 lb., as well a maximum structural payload of 141,000 lb. From a performance perspective, when the first airframe was unveiled in February 2005 the company noted that the -200LR increased the range of the 777 series “by more than 1,500 nm.” However, based on the current performance figures promoted by Boeing for the -200LR and -300ER, the difference in range between those variants is 1,185 nm.

777-300

At the time of its certification, the 777-300 was described by Boeing as being “a high-capacity, stretched version” of the 777, with that stretch measuring 33 ft. 3 in. and allowing the -300 to have a maximum passenger capacity that is 110 passengers greater than the -200 variants. Also increased on the -300 are the maximum certified weights, range—in comparison to the -200 not the -200ER—and usable fuel capacity, with the latter increased to 44,700 gal. (299,490 lb.). As is the case with the -200, the spec operating weights—which are based on a baseline configuration with 451 passengers—and maximum structural payloads of the -300 vary based on equipped engine. According to Boeing, those weights are 353,800 lb. and 141,200 lb. for the GE90, 351,700 lb. and 143,300 lb. for the PW4000 and 347,800 lb. and 147,200 lb. for the Trent 800.

777-300ER

While the 777-300ER retains the fuselage length of the -300, it has an increased wingspan due to the installation of the same raked wingtips that are found on the -200LR. Indeed, the -200LR, -300ER and 777F share a common wingspan (212 ft. 7 in.), certified engine series (GE90) and usable fuel capacity (47,890 gal./320,863 lb.). However, unlike the -200LR and 777F—which are certified to be powered by two GE90 variants—the -300ER’s only certified engine is the GE90-115B1. In addition to raked wingtips, at the time of this variant’s first flight in February 2003, Boeing noted that it incorporated “updated avionic, electrical, flight and environmental control systems.” According to another company press release, the capabilities of the -300ER are enhanced by the “raked wingtips, semi-levered landing gear and [a] tail-strike protection system.” In comparison to the spec operating weights and maximum payloads noted above for the -300—with the former also based on a typical three-class configuration—the respective weight and payload figures for the -300ER are 370,000 lb. and 154,000 lb.

777 Freighter

In addition to the passenger variants of the 777, Boeing also produces the 777 Freighter, an airframe that is based on the 777-200LR. Although the 777F—the type designation for the variant which is also used as a commercial designation—is based on the -200LR, it differs in a number of ways, including in terms of maximum weights and range. With regard to the airframe’s maximum weights, nearly all of those that Boeing publishes in the company’s previously mentioned airport planning document—including maximum taxi, takeoff, landing, zero fuel and structural payload—are increased on the 777F in comparison -200LR. However, despite the fact that the freighter retains the same fuel capacity as the -200LR and -300ER, its range is reduced, in comparison to those passenger variants, by 3,585 nm and 2,400 nm, respectively.

Given that it is designed as a dedicated freighter, the 777F has a substantially increased cargo volume of 22,371 ft.3, a volume that combines the space in the forward and aft lower lobes, as well as the main deck. When the volume of bulk cargo is included, that amount of volume available for cargo increases of 23,051 ft.3 The airframe’s main deck can accommodate pallets in a number of different configurations, including 27 96 X 125-in. pallets. Other main-deck configurations options promoted by Boeing accommodate 14 96 X 125-in. pallets in a single row, 17 96 X 196-in. pallets and a single 96 X 125 in. one as well as a combination of 11 96 X 238.5-in. and five 96 X 125-in. pallets. In addition to having the ability to accommodate up to 27 pallets on the main deck, a number of additional configurations are also available for the lower-deck cargo, including one that accommodates a further 10 96 X 125 X 64-in. pallets, as well as 600 ft.3 of bulk cargo.

The benefits of the 777F that are promoted by Boeing include its interoperability with 747, with the 777 able “to transfer pallets directly” between those airframes and also use the same “ground handling system infrastructure.” The airframe is also marketed for its fuel efficiency, with the relative fuel per trip and per metric ton—in comparison to the 747-400F—being 34% and 21% less, respectively. Beyond the first-generation 777F, at least one 777 customer has expressed interest in buying a freighter variant based on the second-generation 777X.

777-8 and -9

According to Boeing’s “777X Airport Compatibility Brochure,” the -9 is “a derivative of the -300ER” that features a composite wing that is new, while the -8X will be “a shortened-body derivative of the -9X.” Although several of the features included on the 777-8 and -9 are new—including the fourth-generation carbon-fiber composite wing with the folding wingtips, as well as the GE9X engines—a number of the technologies included on these airframes come from the first-generation 777 and the 787. Technologies derived from the first-generation 777 variants found in the 777X include the systems architecture and use of composite materials in the airframe’s empennage and floor beams, while the 787’s “computing and network architecture,” “flight deck displays and functionality,” flight controls and “laminar flow nacelle” are also incorporated into the airframes. When compared to the previously mentioned usable fuel capacity of the -200LR, -300ER and 777F, the -9’s capacity is increased by 4,410 gal. to 52,300 gal. (350,410 lb.).

Beyond being made of composite materials and representing a “direct adaptation” of the 787’s wing—specifically, the 787-9—the fact that the 777X’s wings have a greater span than the wings of the -200LR, -300ER and 777F results in a more “efficient airfoil” and reduced fuel usage, while the presence of the laminar-flow nacelles further reduces the airframe’s drag. In comparison to the 787 wing on which it is based, the 777X’s wing is “less swept,” while having an increased wingspan and dihedral. Boeing promotes the greater wingspan of the 777-8 and -9 as giving the airframe better lift/drag characteristics than the A350-1000, with the overall aerodynamic difference between those airframes being 5% in the 777X’s favor. In addition to its greater span, other differences between the wings of the 777X and -300ER include the fact that the former’s wing has an initial cruise altitude and lift-to-drag ratio that are higher, a “greater aspect ratio” (10:1 on the 777X and 9.04:1 on the -300ER) and increased wing area (5,562 ft.2 versus 4,702 ft.2) and usable fuel capacity. Although these updated 777 airframes will have an airborne wingspan that is 22 ft. 10 in. greater than that which is found on the -200LR, -300ER and 777F, the 777X will be able to use the same airport infrastructure—Code E airport compatibility—thanks to its folding wingtips, which reduce the on-ground wingspan to 212 ft. 8 in. Boeing’s airport compatibility document for the 777X series also notes that, beyond having a greater wingspan in comparison to the -300ER, the -9 has a horizontal stabilizer that is 9.9 ft. wider and a wheelbase that is 3.6 ft. longer.

The second-generation 777-8 and -9 are incorporate a number of new and updated technologies, with those improvements promoted as giving the airplane fuel efficiency and operating economics that that are 10% lower than -300ER, with that fuel-efficiency improvement based on a comparison to a GE90-115B-equipped airframe. Furthermore, the engine is also marketed as having a specific fuel consumption that is 5% less “than any competing engine in 2020.” From a regulatory perspective, the GE9X’s margins to the stage 4 noise levels and the Committee of Aviation Environmental Protection’s CAEP8 standards are 15 dB and 29%, respectively. The specific improvements incorporated into the GE9X include the size of the airframe’s fan—which is the largest the company has ever produced and reduces the number of blades to 16—as well as the composite fan case. Beyond the improvements in fuel efficiency noted above, the 777-8 and -9 are promoted as having operating economics that are 10% better than Airbus A350-1000. Specific to the particular 777X variant, when they are compared to the A350-1000, the 777-8 is marketed as having relative cash operating costs on a per-seat basis—assuming a two-class configuration on a 6,000-nm trip—that are 4% less, a figure that is promoted as increasing to 11% on the -9.

Environmental Impact

From an environmental perspective, Boeing promotes the reduced impact of both the first and second-generation 777 variants. For the -200ER, -200LR and -300ER—when equipped with GE90-94B, GE90-110B1L and GE90-115BL, respectively—the amount of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOX) and smoke emitted are all noted as being below the CAEP/6 standards. Additionally, those same airframes are promoted for their margin below the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Chapter 3 standards. In comparison to the 747-400F, the 777F’s carbon emissions are reduced by 16%, while its fuel efficiency is similarly increased by 16%.

Program Status/Operators

All variants of the 777 are produced at Boeing’s facilities at Paine Field, with the first 777 airframe rolled out on April 2, 1994. Beyond the six airframes required for the -200’s flight-test program, the -300 test program also included six airframes: three equipped with Rolls-Royce engines and three powered by Pratt & Whitney engines (two by the PW4090 and one by the PW4098). In contrast to the number of flight-test airframes that were used for the -200 and -300 certification programs, the -300ER required three flight-test airframes, while the -200LR and 777F required only two.

The first 777-9 was unveiled at Boeing’s production facilities at Paine Field on March 13, 2019, the first of four flight-test airframes to be used for the certification of the larger 777X variant. At the time that airframe—designated WH001—was unveiled, it was expected that the first 777-9 would be delivered to launch customer Emirates in May 2020. However, due to delays related to the airframe’s GE9X engines, the first flight was pushed back into 2020, with the first delivery to Emirates and Lufthansa planned for early 2021, a date that has been pushed back even further due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first of the issues that affected the GE9X engines involved the “lever arms which actuate the rows of variable stator vanes (VSV) that modulate flow through the 11-stage high pressure compressor (HPC).” That issue, which was discovered during the testing of the second GE9X engine and did not substantially affect the 777-9’s development schedule, required that changes be made to the lever arms. The second, more significant issue was discovered on a ground-test engine in June 2019 and was a durability issue that involved the “second-stage variable vane in the [HPC].” What also distinguished the second GE9X issue was its impact on the program, with the delay caused by the durability issue pushing the first flight of the 777-9 from July 2019 into early 2020. Subsequent to the discovery of those issues and the incorporation of changes by GE Aviation, the first updated, flight-compliant engines were delivered to Boeing in October 2019, ahead of the 777-9’s first flight.

Another issue that Boeing encountered during the development of the 777-9 occurred during static load tests in September 2019 and involved the airframe’s “aft cargo door and surrounding structure.” During “the final moments of the ultimate load test”—when the forces to which the airframe was subjected “reached 99% of [the] ultimate loads”—the aft cargo door failed, after which the test was halted. However, shortly after the failure occurred, Boeing stated that it would have “no significant impact to [the 777-9’s] design or flight schedule.”

Following the resolution of the GE9X issues, the 777-9 made its first flight from Paine Field on Jan. 25, 2020, a flight that lasted 3 hr. 51 min. and which was performed by an airframe designated WH001 and registered as N779XW. The second 777-9 airframe—designated WH002—made its first flight on April 30, 2020, with Boeing stating that it would be used for the testing of the handling characteristics and airplane performance. WH001 and WH002 were joined by WH003, the third flight-test airframe, which made its first flight on Aug. 3, 2020, a flight that also originated from Paine Field and which lasted 2 hr. 50 min. The fourth 777-9 test airframe—designated WH004 and registered as N779XZ—made its first flight on Sept. 20, 2020, includes a “full passenger interior” and, from a test perspective, will focus on “primarily functionality and reliability (F&R) work.” Within the flight-test program, the primary roles of WH001 include evaluating high and low-speed aerodynamics, as well as control and stability. Flight-envelope expansion testing performed by the first 777-9 airframe has included flutter tests and stalls, with that airplane also performing testing related to the avionics, brakes and flight-control systems. The primary roles of WH002 involve the airframe’s autoland system and testing the airframe in ground effect, while also “augment[ing] the stability and control work being undertaken by WH001.” The third 777-9, designated WH003, will be utilized to test the performance of the auxiliary power unit, avionics and GE9X engines, as well as for the evaluation of flight loads. Beyond F&R testing “with the involvement from customer airlines,” other testing to be performed by WH004 involves the “environmental control system, extended operations [and] noise.”

The development of the 777-9 will followed by the smaller 777X variant, the 777-8. However, in August 2019, Boeing announced that development work for the longer-range -8 variant would be temporarily suspended. While the company did not issue a revised entry-into-service date for the -8 at the time the suspension of development was announced, upon the resumption of development work, it is expected that two flight-test airframes will be used as part of the certification effort for that variant. In addition to the suspension of development of the 777-8, Boeing announced, alongside the company’s financial results for the second quarter of 2020, that the first delivery of a 777-9 would be pushed from 2021 to 2022. The delay was not only the result of the market impacts of COVID-19, but also the “extended certification process” of the -9 that incorporates the “lessons learned from the revised certification of the 737 MAX.” A further delay of the first 777X delivery to “late 2023” was announced in January 2021, alongside Boeing’s 2020 fourth-quarter results. At that time, the company cited “updated assessment[s]” of demand for 777X and certification requirements as being factors that will cause a further delay to the first-delivery date.

References

  • AWIN Article Archives
  • Boeing Airport Planning and Commercial Materials
  • GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce Commercial Materials
  • FAA TCDS (777, PW4000, GE90/GE9X and Trent 800)
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