Aircraft

Boeing begins 777x production

Production has kicked off on the Boeing 777X
Production has kicked off on the Boeing 777X
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A robot began drilling the composite spar for the 777X
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A robot began drilling the composite spar for the 777X
The robot making its first hole in the 777X spar
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The robot making its first hole in the 777X spar
The Boeing 777X uses spars made entirely out of composites
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The Boeing 777X uses spars made entirely out of composites
The Boeing 777X is scheduled to fly in 2019
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The Boeing 777X is scheduled to fly in 2019
The Boeing 777X has a folding wingtip design
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The Boeing 777X has a folding wingtip design
The Boeing 777X has orders for over 360 units
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The Boeing 777X has orders for over 360 units
Production has kicked off on the Boeing 777X
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Production has kicked off on the Boeing 777X
The Boeing 777X has a folding wingtip design for access to airport gates
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The Boeing 777X has a folding wingtip design for access to airport gates

Boeing's latest airliner has begun production ... untouched by human hands. Watched by an invited crowd at the Boeing production hangar in Everett, Washington, a one-armed robot on Monday started drilling into a 108-ft (33-m) long composite wing spar as the first step in assembling the long-range, wide-body 777X prototype. Billed as the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world, it's scheduled to fly in 2019.

Launched at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, the 777X is designed to build on the engineering and interior innovations introduced in Boeing's 777 and 787 Dreamliner. With a list price starting at US$350 million, the twin-aisle 777X comes in the 777-8 and 777-9 variants with a range of up to 8,700 nautical miles (10,012 mi, 16,110 km) while seating between 350 and 425 passengers.

A robot began drilling the composite spar for the 777X
A robot began drilling the composite spar for the 777X

But what makes the 777X stand out is its lightweight wing design based on a composite spar made of over 400 miles (644 km) of carbon tape cured in a specially built autoclave. This results in 23 ft (7 m) more wingspan for a total of 235 ft (72 m). This allows the plane to maximize fuel efficiency in combination with its GE9X high-bypass turbofan aircraft engine, which punches around 100,000 lb of thrust and is ten percent more efficient than its predecessor.

It also means that the 777X has a distinct folding wingtip design to allow it to use standard airport gates. In addition, Boeing says that the 777X has larger windows that are easier to look out of, new lighting, and more interior carryon luggage storage.

The Boeing 777X has a folding wingtip design for access to airport gates
The Boeing 777X has a folding wingtip design for access to airport gates

There are 326 orders on the books for the Boeing 777X from Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airways, Singapore Airlines, and others.

The video below shows the first step of the new 777X's assembly.

Source: Boeing

Boeing 777X Officially Starts Production

5 comments
Joshua Tulberg
Damn that thing is sexy. Are those renderings or the real-deal?
eMacPaul
@Joshua, the factory shots are real, the full-airplane are renders.
Derek Howe
Joshua Tulberg - It looks nice and clean...but all in all, it looks pretty blah. Boeing needs to step it up, flying wings and supersonic is the future, they need to stop taking the past and giving it a new polish with minor upgrades.
flyerfly
@Derek, The amount of red tape and cost to make something completely new is astronomical. An aircraft company would also be sued to death if that new design failed. I like new things as well but that takes time these days with such incredibly complex machines. I used to work in aerospace as an engineer and it really is time consuming/costly to make new products. Look at nuclear power plants for example...nothing really "new" since the 70's almost 50 years ago!
Daishi
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Commercial airline design hasn't changed significantly because the current shape is efficient. I just hope they fit these things with GPS beacons that can't be shut off from the cockpit so they can't be taken off course without the ability to track them. The technology to build this into planes is so easy to do that Malaysia Flight 370 not having this after the 9/11 planes also had their beacons switched off from the cockpit is negligent. A brand new design is an opportunity to visit this issue.
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