Seattle, Washington - Much has been said and written about the folding wingtips of the new Boeing 777X. But a few saw it in action by now. The manufacturer demonstrated the system during a ground test yesterday.
The folding wings of the 777X are the first of their kind on a commercial airplane. The new function reduces the 777X's huge wingspan from 235 feet (71.5m) down to just under 213 feet (65m).
That allows the aircraft to fit at airport gates. The 261-foot wingspan of the Airbus A380 forced airports to make expensive modifications to their terminals when it entered into service in 2007.
This is something Boeing is trying to avoid with this unique innovation.
This solution is so new to the industry that the Federal Aviation Administration had to make new arrangements in the regulations before approving the design.
To get approval from the FAA, Boeing had to prove that no force or torque in the air can unlock the extended wingtips.
The new wing structure of the 777X has a higher lift-to-drag ratio, an aspect ratio increased from 9:1 to 10:1. This refers to an area increased from 4,702 sqft (436.8 m2) to 5,562 sqft (516.7 m2).
The larger wing design of the 777X, compared to other widebody jets, allows the aircraft to take more fuel while increasing the lift force, which also helps to reduce fuel consumption.