Boeing starts low-speed 777X windtunnel tests

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Boeing has started low-speed windtunnel testing for its new 777X twinjet, using a 5% scale model, at an aerodynamics facility in the UK.

The testing, which will last about five months, is being conducted at the Qinetiq centre at Farnborough.

Boeing is using scale model of the 777X measuring 4.22m (166in) in length with a wingspan of 3.92m. The low-speed tests, simulating take-off and approach, will enable the airframer to examine the performance of various high-lift configurations.

The model is fitted with multiple sensors to measure in-flight loads.

"Wind tunnel testing will validate our performance models and generate a vast amount of data that our engineering teams will use to design the airplane in this phase of development," says 777X chief engineer Terry Beezhold.

The testing will be followed by high-speed performance analysis at a Boeing windtunnel in Seattle, as Boeing aims to achieve firm design configuration in 2015.

Boeing is developing two variants of the aircraft - the 777-8X and -9X - which will be powered by General Electric GE9X engines.