HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Lightweight Construction

Boeing 777x folds up its wing tips

To make the huge new 777x wide-bodied aircraft fit a standard gate, Boeing engineers designed foldable wing tips for this airplane.

07 Jun. 2018
Boeing 777x folds up its wing tips (Photo: Boeing)

The maiden flight of the Boeing 777x is scheduled for early 2019. Depending on type, the jet will provide space for 350 to 425 passengers and, with a range of up to 16,110 kilometers, enable non-stop flights on long-range routes. Emphasis was placed on lightweight construction. Thus, the two wings are not made of aluminum like other airplanes, but of carbon fiber composite materials.

However, the Boeing model has a problem. With a wingspan of 71.80 meters, it does not fit in a regular hangar or on the parking position at the gates of the airports. For the still larger Airbus A380, individual gates and hangars at airports even had to be rebuilt because of its wing span of 79.80 meters. Boeing therefore developed wing tips, which can be put into a vertical position at the airport at a distance of 3.5 meters to the wing edge with hinges. That reduces the overall width by seven meters and makes the Boeing 777x suitable for a standard gate. The mechanism was designed by the German supplier Liebherr-Aerospace .

In mid-May, the American aviation authority FAA gave the system its blessing , but only under strict conditions. A multi-level warning and protection system must prevent the 777x from lifting off with the wing tips raised. During the flight phase, the tips must be secured so that they cannot be unlocked under any circumstances. Finally, the mechanism still has to work in gusts of 120 km/h on the ground.