LONDON – The Federal Aviation Administration has approved for commercial use the folding composite wingtips that will be installed on the upcoming Boeing 777-X program.
The two variants, the -8 and -9, can now use the wingtips without any form of restrictions commercially.
The wingspan of the aircraft will be 235 feet wide, and when the wingtips are folded, it will reduce the span to 212 feet wide.
When fully extended, the wingtips enables 23 feet (7 meters) more span to maximize fuel efficiency, according to Boeing.
The only condition that the FAA subjected to Boeing was that the aircraft must have multiple automatic warning systems which will let pilots know whether the wingtips are fully extended for takeoff.
The FAA also said that the Boeing must show that, during flight, the wingtips can never be accidentally retracted, and that no subjected force can unlock the mechanisms.
Furthermore, they said that, during testing, the wings must be able to withstand up to a 75mph force on the ground.
These conditions come following the FAA’s concerns over the safety of the wingtips, as they will have to fit in with the operational capacity of airports around the globe.
The folding wingtips will make it so then the aircraft can park at gates with relative ease as well as getting around the airport sufficiently during the taxi process.
This go-ahead from the FAA means that Boeing can continue to get to work on the 777X, with the aims of getting the aircraft in the skies and in the testing phase by early next year.
The new Boeing 777-8 is sold for $360.5 million at list prices. Its bigger variant the 777-9, for $388.7 million.
Boeing has logged 326 orders from eight customers: Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar Airways, ANA, an Unidentified Customer, and Singapore Airlines.
Boeing expects to deliver the first 777-9 to Emirates in mid-2020.