DALLAS — Boeing showcased the 777-9 from the 777X family for the general public and industry professionals for the second time at the Dubai Airshow (DAS23), held at Jebel Ali Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) between November 13 and 17, 2023.
The Boeing 777X series represents the next generation of the highly successful Boeing 777-200LR and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which various passenger and freighter operators use worldwide. The Airways team was privileged to visit the aircraft and engage with onboard specialists. They also took amazing photos of this aircraft on the ground and in flight.
General Electric’s GE9X Engines
The Boeing 777X is equipped with two powerful General Electric GE9X high-bypass turbofan engines, which currently hold the title of the largest engine on the market. These engines boast a rated thrust of 110,000 lbf, representing a slight decrease of about 4.55% compared to their predecessor, the GE90-115B, which had a rating of 115,000 lbf. However, it is worth noting that the GE9X offers approximately 10 percent lower emissions than the previous variant.
During the event, GE showcased a comparison of fan blades from their engines, highlighting the evolution from the GE CF6 to the flagship GE9X. The CF6, with 38 blades, is utilized on various aircraft such as the Airbus A300, A330, Boeing 747, 767, Lockheed C-5M Galaxy, and McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
The GE90, one size larger and installed on the 777, has 22 fan blades, while the GEnx on the 787 has 18, and the GE9X has further reduced the number to 16. This reduction in fan blades is aimed at reducing fuel consumption while enhancing performance.
The Boeing 777X’s Folding Wingtips
Folding wingtips represent a unique mechanical feature incorporated into the aircraft’s wings. The primary objective of this system is to reduce the wingspan from 71.8 to 64.8 meters. This reduction aims to prevent the Boeing 777-9 from being classified as a Code F aircraft, limiting its operations to only the largest airports capable of accommodating Boeing’s most advanced technology. Most international airports can only handle aircraft up to Code E.
However, with this innovative feature, the flight crew can conveniently fold the wingtips, allowing the aircraft to operate at Code E airports such as Budapest (BUD) and Belgrade (BEG). It is worth noting that the Airbus A380 is currently the only commercial aircraft classified under the Code F category.
Initially, the manufacturer intended to incorporate this technology into the Boeing 777-200. However, Boeing decided against it as the first generation of this aircraft had a wingspan of 60.9 meters, which did not exceed the restrictions imposed by Code E.
Inside the Flight Deck
The flight deck of the Boeing 777X shares similarities with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner series, with the only notable difference being the presence of a wingtip fold switch. During our visit, the aircraft was still undergoing testing, and to ensure proper weight and balance throughout the cabin, Boeing had installed water tank-based devices.
The flight deck has five high-resolution touchscreen monitors, with two dedicated to the captain and first officer for the primary flight display and navigation display. Additionally, there is a monitor specifically for the Flight Management Computer.
Pilots also have the advantage of utilizing the Heads-Up Display (HUD), which allows them to fly instrumentally while maintaining ground visibility, enabling them to avoid potential hazards.
To facilitate smooth flight test operations, the cabin of the Boeing 777X is equipped with economy-class seats and workstations. During our visit, Boeing also showcased the spaciousness of the 777X cabin and the size of its windows, emphasizing their larger dimensions compared to the Airbus A350 XWB (eXtra Wide Body).
Within the cabin are water tanks that adjust the aircraft’s weight and balance during flight testing, which is a crucial aspect of the process. Only water vapor exits the engines, and under certain atmospheric conditions, such as temperature and humidity, these condensation trails may persist for longer periods and resemble lines of clouds.
Flight and Ground Display
Every day during DAS23, the Boeing 777-9 took to the skies in a breathtaking demo flight, leaving spectators in awe. The Airways team was determined to seize the opportunity and capture the most captivating angles of this remarkable next-generation commercial jet in action. Let’s begin with Lorenzo Giacobbo’s collection among the impressive galleries available.
Lorenzo Giacobbo’s gallery offers a visual feast of the Boeing 777-9’s demo flight, showcasing its sheer power, elegant design, and unparalleled performance. Giacobbo’s photographs capture the essence of this cutting-edge aircraft, from its graceful maneuvers to its intense turns in the air.
I aimed to document the aircraft’s taxiing with the wingtip folded up and down in the air.
While Lorenzo and I primarily focused on capturing the impressive flight display, here are some ground-level perspective shots from our social media director, Simone Chellini.
The Boeing 777-9, an impressive addition to the esteemed 777 family, features state-of-the-art technologies and innovative design elements. Equipped with advanced GE9X engines, composite wings with folding wingtips, and an expanded cabin width, this aircraft redefines commercial aviation standards.
Airways has contacted Boeing’s Sales Director to schedule an interview regarding the 777X, so stay tuned for further updates.
Featured image: Boeing 777-9 N779XW. Photo: Dominik Csordás/Airways