Boeing tweaks 777X wingspan, preserves folded length

Washington DC
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Boeing has slightly increased the in-flight wingspan and the length of the wing-fold on the 777X.

The span of the aircraft’s new composite wings increases by 0.61m (2ft) to 71.8m, a Boeing spokesman says.

Boeing, however, preserved the folded wingspan of the 777X on the ground at 64.8m, he says.

The hinge line of the fold mechanism is moved inboard by about 0.3m on each wing, he says.

Preserving the folded wingspan means the 777X can still gain access to the same number of airport gates despite the increase in the in-flight wingspan.

The hinge mechanism itself is left unchanged despite moving further inboard, he says.

It remains a simple device that is positioned outboard of the all the control surfaces, so no hydraulics or major electrical systems must continue through the hinge to the wingtip.

Boeing’s goal is to keep the wingfold hinge as simple as possible, with only the wiring for the light at the end of the raked wingtip passing through the hinged portion.

Boeing adjusted the wingspan after completing the first phase of wind tunnel testing on the 777X, the spokesman says.

The decision also comes before the 777X begins the preliminary loads phase of wind tunnel tests, he adds.

The 777X wing was already the largest in the company’s history before the change. Though more than 8m narrower from wingtip to wingtip of the Airbus A380, the 777X is now 3m wider than the 747-8.