Boeing has started static testing of its new 777x. The first aircraft of the type, which is being used for the static tests and may never fly, will be used to test design strength over the next year.
The second Boeing 777x will be revealed in January 2019 and will fly for the first time in March 2019.
“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,” said Doreen Bingo, Boeing’s Director of Engineering and the 777x test program manager. “The static test really represents the home stretch of our test program because we build the full-scale articles for lab and flight test.”
A total of six test aircraft will be built as part of the 777x program.
Boeing is planning to make two variants of the 777x. The 777-8 will have a longer range than its counterpart, the 777-9, but will have capacity for fewer people.
The 777-8 will have capacity for up to 350 passengers (depending on configuration) and a range of over 9,300 nautical miles (17,220 kilometers). Meanwhile, the 777-9 can have seating for over 400 passengers. It will have a range of 8200 nautical miles (about 15,185 kilometers) and will have the lowest per seat operating cost of any commercial aircraft.
Production of the 777x was sparked in part by Emirates Airline. The Dubai-based carrier has an order for 150 777x aircraft, the largest order for the aircraft at the time of writing. The first aircraft should be delivered to Emirates in 2020.
Qantas has also shown interest in the 777x. The 777x, along with the Airbus A350, meets requirements for operation between Sydney and both New York and London, both part of “Project Sunrise”. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce challenged both Boeing and Airbus to create an aircraft that could fly between the two points while carrying at least 300 passengers.
While based on the current Boeing 777, the 777x will have a longer fuselage, updated engines, and a composite wing design similar to that of the 787 Dreamliner.
All images by Boeing