Friday, September 11, 2015

Why Boeing 777 9X transform its wings?

You've seen the videos. The new Boeing 777 9X has wings that transform. I'm not exaggerating, but it looks damn cool. Period.

But why did Boeing make something like this? Why does the wing transforms? Why does it fold?

The answer lies in just one word : "Efficiency". 

Let me tell you, wings are marvelous piece of engineering. And we don't see wings like this everyday. 

The world today need designs that are effective and efficient. Effective is doing right things while efficiency is doing things right. As you know, fuel is not a luxury anymore. The effective thing to do is design something that uses less fuel to fly. And do it with a particular design tactic that does its job brilliantly. 

Boeing 777 is designed for long haul flight. They are designed to fly between international cities. From Dubai to London. Or from Paris to New York. 

With long haul flights, cruising in high altitudes for a long time requires wings to work more. If they can produce more lift, the engines can relax a bit. In fact with Boeing 777 9X, the airliners save up to 12% fuel per seat. 

If wings are to provide more lift - one of the thing they should have is high aspect ratios. (I will write an article about aspect ratios tomorrow). 

And who do we look to when you want high aspect ratio designs? 


Gliders have long wings. And they fly high without an engine. 

Long Wings provides less drag and high lift.Boeing took this concept and brilliantly integrated into its wing design. And so, final wing span is so big that it is almost same as that of an A380. 

Still, that explains only the length of the wing. Why does it need to "fold"?

Its for ground handling. 

Wings only are used when flying. But they also have to compatible in ground. 

I once worked with Honeywell's Advanced Virtual Docking Guidance system. This system had all commercial aircraft types specification in its database. It has the specification of Boeing 777 also.The old series have wing span 7 Meters shorter than new one.

Now with introduction of 777 9X, do you think that all these ground specs will change? Do they have to update the wing span length so as to dock the aircraft properly and connect the air bridge? Do they have to update this info in all international airports around the globe?

Of course not. 

The new wing folds the extra 7 meters. They fold it so that the new Boeing 777 9X is welcomed to all airports without having to go through any painful system updates. This is how Boeing want its aircraft to be. Easy, effective and efficient. 

So there you go. The reason behind transforming wings. 

Thank You for reading guys. 

Let me know if you have any doubts.


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