The 777 has already proven to be one of the most popular Boeing airliners of all time. The engines that power the Boeing 777 have over twice the thrust of those used on the C-17. The Boeing Company invested nearly $10 billion in developing the new 777. Instead of allowing a possible schedule slip and late delivery to its United customer, Boeing decided to apply more resources, spend the extra money, overcome its problems, and deliver its 777 on schedule. While Boeing did not state how much it spent, in April 1992 analysts identified $3 billion set aside for research and development (R&D) for the 777. In April 1994 it was estimated that final R&D costs for the 777 approached $5.5 billion. Based on the analysts evaluations one could conclude that actual R&D costs were approximately $2 billion over planned costs.
The airplane is larger than all other twinjet or trijet airplanes and smaller than the 747. It brings the twin-engine economic advantage to medium- and long-range markets. In the 1990s Boeing included in its 777 (a) fly-by-wire, (b) advanced liquid-crystal flat-panel displays, (c) the company's own patented two-way digital data bus (ARINC 629), (d) a new wing the company advertised as the most aerodynamically efficient airfoil developed for subsonic commercial aviation, (e) the largest and most powerful engines ever used on a commercial airliner, (f) nine percent composite materials in the airframe, and (g) an advanced composite empennage. Boeing also invested in new facilities to test the 777 avionics, and to manufacture the composite empennage.
Airbus and McDonnell Douglas included fly-by-wire on the A340 and the C-17, respectively, during the 1980s, and both experienced problems. Boeing was able to learn from the mistakes of Airbus and McDonnell Douglas, and it had the advantage of using new high-powered ultrafast computer chips that increased throughput. In fact Honeywell, the company that McDonnell Douglas dismissed because it couldn't produce the fly-by-wire fast enough for the C-17, was the company that successfully installed it on the 777 -- but not without problems.
Boeing could not assemble and integrate the fly-by-wire system until it solved problems with the ARINC 693 databus, the AIMS-driven Flight Management System, and the software coding. Solving these problems took more than a year longer than Boeing anticipated. In order to maintain its schedule, Boeing did as much as it could without the complete system, then it used red-label1 systems during flight tests. Finally, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the last link, the primary flight computer, in March, 1995. In April, 1995 the FAA certified the 777 as safe.
The aircraft was designed for two engines that are billed as the largest and most powerful ever built, with the girth of a 737's fuselage and a thrust, or propulsive power, of between 71,000 and 85,000 pounds compared with about 57,000 pounds of the latest 747 engine. Key factors in this performance are new, larger-diameter fans with wide-chord fan blade designs and by-pass ratios ranging from 6-to-1 to as high as 9-to-1. The typical by-pass ratio for today's wide-body jet engines is 5-to-1. Pratt & Whitney is furnishing the PW4000 series of engines, General Electric is offering the GE90 series and Rolls-Royce is offering the Trent 800 series of engines. Engines are so reliable today an airplane could travel on only one engine. Flying with two engines allows redundancy that a pilot wants in order to ensure safety of flight. Flying with more than two engines only increases fuel cost and operating costs unnecessarily.
The 777 currently is available in five models: 777-200, 777-200ER (extended range), 777-200LR (longer-range), 777-300 and the 777-300ER. The 777 program was launched in October 1990 with an order from United Airlines. In June 1995, United flew its first 777 in revenue service. The Boeing board of directors authorized production of the 777-300 on June 26, 1995. The first 777-300 was delivered to Cathay Pacific Airways in June 1998. Launched in February 2000, the new longer-range 777-200 and 777-300 airplanes bring the comfort and economic advantages of the Boeing 777 to non-stop routes that have never before been possible. More. The first 777-300ER rolled out of the Everett, Wash., factory on Nov. 14, 2002.
The 777 wing uses the most aerodynamically efficient airfoil ever developed for subsonic commercial aviation. This advanced wing enhances the airplane's ability to climb quickly and cruise at higher altitudes than competing airplanes while achieving higher cruise speeds. It also allows the airplane to carry full passenger payloads out of many high-elevation, high-temperature airfields.
Market demand sized, shaped and launched the newest member of the Boeing twin-aisle family -- the 777. The airplane design offers features, innovations and approaches to airplane development that set the standard for delivering value to airlines. The Boeing 777 is the first jetliner to be 100 percent digitally designed using three-dimensional computer graphics. Throughout the design process, the airplane was "pre-assembled" on the computer, eliminating the need for a costly, full-scale mock-up.
Boeing is offering its 777 customers new innovations that take advantage of the space in the overhead area of the airplane - the area located between the top of the stow bins and the crown of the airplane. These innovations will allow operators to use the overhead space for crew rest stations and storage. Thanks to a new wing, more efficient engine, and a lighter structure, the 777 makes efficient use of fuel. And this, in turn, means lower emissions per passenger seat. For every pound of fuel conserved, three fewer pounds of carbon dioxide are generated.
It is uncertain when aircraft-hardening techniques will be implemented. Depending on the technique chosen, protective measures could be retrofitted onto existing aircraft or designed for the next generation of aircraft. According to some industry officials, blast-resistance techniques will most likely be incorporated into the next, rather than the existing, generation of aircraft. Even if developed soon, these techniques were available too late to be incorporated into such aircraft as the Boeing 777.
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