Boeing 777x: New 777-9 static test plane rolls out at Everett factory

What will be the world's biggest twin-engine jetliner has made its debut appearance.

The Boeing 777-9 static test plane, part of the company's next-generation 777X project, has rolled out of its hangar in Everett, US.

The aircraft itself will never fly but will be used to test structural strength and also the accuracy of the design.

The 777-9 will be able to seat more than 400 passengers when operational and will have a range of about 14,000 kilometres. Windows in the cabin will be 20 per cent larger, and it will be feature improved fuel efficiency.

The new plane is set to become the biggest passenger aircraft manufactured by Boeing, as Qantas and other airlines around the world retire the iconic 747 jumbo jet and orders for the latest version, the 747-8, dry up. 

See also: Not dead yet: The Boeing 747 will survive, but not as you know it

Orders for the new craft have been flying in with the likes of Emirates, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines signing deals.

The wingspan is a massive 235.5 feet or 71.7 metres, which is the widest of any aircraft ever in the Boeing range.

A folding wing-tip will enable seven metres more span to maximise fuel efficiency.

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Doreen Bingo, Boeing Test and Evaluation 777X Test Programme manager told CNN that the static plane would "verify the design of the structure and load bearing components of the airplane, ensuring the final product is safe for our customers and the flying public.

"The first fully-assembled #777X static test airplane rolled out of our facility in Everett overnight.

"This non-flying airplane now heads off to nearly a year of testing to verify design strength.

"Using a full-scale airplane, we'll run various load conditions on the wings, gears, the struts and the fuselage."

A second aircraft is being built which will be used for flight testing early next year.

The 777-9 is set to take to the skies in 2020. In 2022 the next version, the 777-8 is set to take off. 

The -8 will be the longest-range Boeing to ever take to the skies, with an estimated range of 16,110km, surpassing the range of the current 777-200LR, which is designed to fly up to 15,844 km. It will be able to carry 350-375 passengers.

The 777-200LR currently holds the record for the longest non-stop flight by a commercial airliner. In 2005, a 777-200LR flew 21,601 km on an epic, 22-hour 42-minute flight from Hong Kong to London, flying east over the Pacific ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean, rather than the quicker westerly route. The special flight was unladen with passengers and cargo.

The upcoming 777-8 is Boeing's best chance of winning the 'Project Sunrise' challenge from Qantas. The airline wants a plane capable of flying from Australia's eastern capitals to both London and New York non-stop. Rival Airbus believes its longest-range aircraft, the A350-900ULR, could be adapted to make those distances. 

See: Qantas eyes Airbus A350 jet for non-stop Sydney-London flights

The A350-1000ULR is set to enter service next month with Singapore Airlines, which will use the plane to re-start the world's longest commercial flight route, flying non-stop from Singapore to New York. 

with Stuff.co.nz

See also: No economy seats: Singapore launches world's longest flight route

See also: 20 hours non-stop: World's longest range airliner takes off

 

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