787-9 Test Lessons To Aid 787-10 And 777X

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Apr 27, 2003
LT Gold
Flight-test discoveries in 787-9 program will help Boeing prepare for follow-on twin developments
Oct 6, 2014

Guy Norris
| Aviation Week & Space Technology

‘The Way Forward’


Mark Wagner/Aviation-Images.com

Boeing has spent more than 50 years perfecting the art of the stretched derivative and honing a strategy that along the way produced the 777-300ER, one of the most successful long-haul designs in commercial airliner history.

However, as it looks to the development of the next-generation derivatives, the 777X and double-stretch 787-10, the company can ill afford a repeat of the missteps made in the building and testing of the original 787. The manufacturer faces aggressive competition from Airbus with the A350-1000, as well as pressure from an expectant market that has already placed firm orders for a combined tally of 425 777X/787-10s. There is little room for error in two such vital programs, which call for deliveries starting in 2018 for the 787-10 and 2020 for the first 777X variant, the 777-9X.

Both the 787-10 and 777-9X will be extremely long, stretched versions of the original models. Measuring 224 ft. overall, the 787-10 will be 38 ft. longer than the baseline 787-8, while the 777-9X will be the longest twinjet yet made, with a length of just under 251 ft., or around 42 ft. greater than the first 777-200s. Stretching the fuselage can directly change the longitudinal and lateral stability characteristics of an aircraft, resulting in follow-on effects on the flight control system and handling qualities. To help it avoid potentially costly redesigns and delays, Boeing is therefore banking on using valuable and, in some cases, unexpected lessons learned during the test and development of the latest stretch model, the 787-9.

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