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The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes . It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from depending on model. Its distinguishing features include the largest diameter turbofan engines of any aircraft, six wheels on each main landing gear, a circular fuselage cross-section, and blade-shaped tail cone. Developed in consultation with eight major airlines, the 777 was designed to replace older wide-body airliners and bridge the capacity difference between the 767 and 747 . As Boeing's first fly-by-wire airliner, it has computer mediated controls; it is also the first entirely computer-designed commercial aircraft.

The 777 is produced in two fuselage lengths. The original 777-200 model first entered service in 1995, followed by the extended range 777-200ER in 1997; the stretched 777-300, which is longer, began service in 1998. The longer-range 777-300ER and 777-200LR variants entered service in 2004 and 2006, respectively, while a freighter version, the 777F, debuted in 2008. Both longer-range versions and the freighter feature General Electric GE90 engines, as well as extended and raked wingtips . Other models are equipped with either the GE90, Pratt & Whitney PW4000 , or Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. The 777-200LR ranks as the world's longest-range airliner and holds the record for longest distance flown by an unrefueled commercial aircraft, with the demonstrated capability to fly more than halfway around the world.

United Airlines first placed the 777 into commercial airline service in 1995. As of September 2010, 59 customers have placed orders for 1,157 aircraft of all variants, with 892 delivered. The most common variant used worldwide is the 777-200ER, with 415 aircraft delivered, and Emirates operates the largest 777 fleet, with 86 aircraft., the airliner has had one hull-loss accident , with no passenger fatalities, attributed to a Trent 800 engine fuel component.

Through the 2000s, the 777 has emerged as one of its manufacturer's best-selling models. Because of rising fuel costs, airlines have acquired the type as a comparatively fuel-efficient alternative to other wide-body jets and have increasingly used the aircraft on long-haul, transoceanic routes. Direct market competitors include the Airbus A330-300 and the A340 , with the upcoming A350 XWB and Boeing 787 programs currently in development.

Development

Background

In the early 1970s, the Boeing 747 , McDonnell Douglas DC-10 , and the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar became the first generation of wide-body passenger airliners to enter service. In 1978, Boeing unveiled three new models: the twin-engine 757 to replace the venerable 727 , the twin-engine 767 to challenge the Airbus A300 , and a trijet 777 concept to compete with the DC-10 and L-1011. The mid-size 757 and 767 launched to market success, due in part to 1980s Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS ) regulations governing transoceanic twinjet operations. These regulations allowed twin-engined airliners to make ocean crossings at up to three hours' distance from emergency diversionary airport s. Under ETOPS rules, airlines began operating the 767 on long-distance overseas routes which did not require the capacity of larger airliners. The trijet 777 was later dropped, following marketing studies that favored the 757 and 767 variants. Boeing was left with a size and range gap in its product line between the 767-300ER and the 747-400 .

By the late 1980s, DC-10 and L-1011 models were approaching retirement, prompting manufacturers to develop replacement designs. McDonnell Douglas was working on the MD-11 , a stretched and upgraded version of the DC-10, while Airbus was developing the A330 and A340. In 1986, Boeing unveiled proposals for an enlarged 767, tentatively named 767-X, to target the replacement market for first generation wide-bodies like the DC-10, and to complement existing 767 and 747 models in the company lineup. The initial proposal featured a longer fuselage and larger wings than the existing 767, along with winglet s. Later plans expanded the fuselage cross-section but retained the existing 767 flight deck , nose, and other elements.

Airline customers were unimpressed with the 767-X proposals, and instead wanted an even wider fuselage cross-section, fully flexible interior configurations, short to intercontinental-range capability, and an operating cost lower than any 767 stretch. Airline planners' requirements for larger aircraft had become increasingly specific, adding to the heightened competition among aircraft manufacturers. By 1988, Boeing realized that the only answer was a new design, which would become the 777 twinjet. The company opted for the twin-engine configuration given past design successes, projected engine developments, and reduced cost benefits. On December 8, 1989, Boeing began issuing offers to airlines for the 777.

Design effort

Boeing delivered the first 777 to United Airlines on May 15, 1995. The FAA awarded 180-minute ETOPS clearance ("ETOPS-180 ") for the Pratt & Whitney PW4084-engined aircraft on May 30, 1995, making it the first airliner to carry an ETOPS-180 rating at its entry into service. Longer ETOPS clearance of 207 minutes was approved the following October. The first commercial flight took place on June 7, 1995 from London Heathrow Airport to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C.

On November 12, 1995, Boeing delivered the first model with General Electric GE90-77B engines to British Airways, which placed the aircraft into service five days later. Initial service was affected by gearbox bearing wear issues, which caused the airline to temporarily withdraw its 777 fleet from transatlantic service in 1997. British Airways' aircraft returned to full service later that year, and General Electric subsequently announced engine upgrades.

The first Rolls-Royce Trent 877-powered aircraft was delivered to Thai Airways International on March 31, 1996, completing the introduction of the three powerplants initially developed for the airliner. Each engine-aircraft combination had secured ETOPS-180 certification from the point of entry into service. By June 1997, orders for the 777 numbered 323 from 25 airlines, including satisfied launch customers which had ordered additional aircraft. Operations performance data established the consistent capabilities of the twinjet over long-haul transoceanic routes, leading to additional sales. By 1998, dispatch reliability figures had reached a 99.96 percent rate of takeoff without delay due to technical issues, and the growing number of fleet hours approached 900,000.

Further developments

On February 29, 2000, Boeing launched its next-generation twinjet program, initially called 777-X, and began issuing offers to airlines. Development of the long-range models was slowed by the airline industry downturn, which lasted through the early 2000s. The first model to emerge from the program, the 777-300ER, was launched with an order for ten aircraft from Air France , along with additional commitments. On February 24, 2003, the -300ER made its first flight, and the FAA and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency , successor to the JAA) certified the model on March 16, 2004. The first delivery to Air France took place on April 29, 2004. The -300ER, which combined the -300's added capacity with the -200ER's range, became the top-selling 777 variant in the late 2000s, gaining orders as airlines replaced comparable four-engine models with twinjets because of their lower operating costs.

The second model to originate from the next-generation program, the 777-200LR, rolled out on February 15, 2005, and completed its first flight on March 8, 2005. The -200LR was certified by both the FAA and EASA on February 2, 2006, and the first delivery to Pakistan International Airlines occurred on February 26, 2006. On November 10, 2005, the first -200LR set a record for the longest non-stop flight of a passenger airliner by flying eastward from Hong Kong to London. Lasting 22 hours and 42 minutes, the flight surpassed the -200LR's standard design range and was logged into the Guinness World Records .

Boeing introduced a number of advanced technologies with the 777 design, including fully digital fly-by-wire controls, fully software-configurable avionics , Honeywell LCD glass cockpit flight displays, and the first use of a fiber optic avionics network on a commercial airliner. Boeing made use of work done on the cancelled Boeing 7J7 regional jet, which utilized similar versions of the chosen technologies. In 2003, Boeing began offering the option of cockpit electronic flight bag computer displays.

Fly-by-wire

In designing the 777 as its first fly-by-wire commercial aircraft, Boeing decided to retain conventional control yokes rather than change to sidestick controllers as used in many fly-by-wire fighter aircraft and in many Airbus airliners. Along with traditional yoke and rudder controls, the cockpit features a simplified layout which retains similarities to previous Boeing models. The fly-by-wire system also incorporates flight envelope protection , a system which guides pilot inputs within a computer-calculated framework of operating parameters, acting to prevent stalls and overly stressful maneuvers. This system can be overridden by the pilot in command if deemed necessary.

Airframe and systems

The 777's wings feature a supercritical airfoil design that is swept back at 31.6 degrees and optimized for cruising at Mach 0.83 (revised upward after flight tests to Mach 0.84). The wings are designed with increased thickness and a longer span than previous airliners, resulting in greater payload and range, improved takeoff performance, and a higher cruising altitude .Folding wing tips were offered when the aircraft was launched, to appeal to airlines who might use gates made to accommodate smaller aircraft, but no airline purchased this option.

The 777 interior, also known as the Boeing Signature Interior, features curved panels, larger overhead bins , and indirect lighting. Seating options range from six abreast in first class up to 10 across in economy . At by , the windows were the largest of any current commercial airliner until the 787. The cabin also features "Flexibility Zones", which entails deliberate placement of water, electrical, pneumatic , and other hook-ups throughout the interior space, allowing airlines to move seats, galleys , and lavatories quickly when adjusting cabin arrangements. Several aircraft have also been fitted with VIP interiors for non-airline use.

In 2003, Boeing introduced overhead crew rests as an option on the 777. Located above the main cabin and connected via staircases, the forward flight crew rest contains two seats and two bunks, while the aft cabin crew rest features multiple bunks. The Signature Interior has since been adapted for other Boeing wide-body and narrow-body aircraft, including 737NG , 747-400 , 757-300 , and newer 767 models. The 747-8 and 767-400ER have also adopted the larger, more rounded windows of the 777.

Variants

Boeing uses two characteristics, fuselage length and range , to define their 777 models. Fuselage length affects the number of passengers and amount of cargo that can be carried; the 777-200 and derivatives are the base size, and the aircraft was stretched into the 777-300 in 1998. In terms of range, the aircraft has been categorized into three segments based on design criteria; these were initially defined as the following:

* A-market: up to ,

* B-market: , and

* C-market: .

When referring to different variants, Boeing and airlines often collapse the model number (777) and the variant designator (-200 or -300) into a truncated form (e.g. "772" or "773"). The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aircraft type designator system adds a preceding manufacturer letter (e.g. "B772" or "B773"). Subsequent to the capacity number, designations may or may not append the range identifier (e.g. 777-300ER as "773ER", "773B", "77W", or "B77W"). These notations may be found in aircraft manuals or airline timetables.

777-200

The 777-200 was the initial A-market model. The first -200 was delivered to United Airlines on May 15, 1995. With a maximum range of , the -200 was chiefly aimed at U.S. domestic airline operators. Ten different -200 customers have taken delivery of 88 aircraft, with 62 in airline service as of July 2010. The competing aircraft from Airbus is the A330-300 .

777-200ER

The 777-200ER ("ER" for Extended Range), the B-market version of the -200, was originally known as the 777-200IGW for its increased gross weight . The -200ER features additional fuel capacity and an increased maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) over the -200. Aimed at international airlines operating transatlantic routes, the -200ER's maximum range is . In addition to breaking the eastbound great circle "distance without landing" record, the -200ER also holds the record for the longest ETOPS-related emergency flight diversion (177 minutes under one engine), on a United Airlines flight carrying 255 passengers on March 17, 2003, over the Pacific Ocean .

The first -200ER was delivered to British Airways on February 6, 1997. As of September 2010, -200ER deliveries to 33 different customers numbered 415, ranking the -200ER as the most widely produced variant of the twinjet to date. As of July 2010, 434 of the variant were in airline service. The competing aircraft from Airbus is the A340-300 .

777-300

The stretched 777-300 was designed as an A-market replacement for 747-100 s and 747-200 s. Compared to the older 747s, the stretched variant has comparable passenger capacity and range, and is designed to burn one-third less fuel and have 40 percent lower maintenance costs. The -300 features a fuselage stretch over the baseline -200, allowing seating for up to 550 passengers in a single class high-density configuration, an arrangement adopted for heavily-trafficked Japanese routes. Because of the aircraft's length, the -300 is equipped with a tailskid and ground maneuvering cameras to aid pilots during taxi . The maximum range is , allowing the -300 to operate trunk route s previously flown by older 747s.

The first -300 was delivered to Cathay Pacific on May 21, 1998. Eight different -300 customers have taken delivery of 60 aircraft, and all were in airline service as of July 2010. However, following the introduction of the longer-range -300ER in 2004, all operators have selected the ER version of the -300 model. The -300 has no direct Airbus rival, but the A340-600 is offered in competition.

===777-200LR===

The 777-200LR ("LR" for Longer Range), the C-market model, became the world's longest-range commercial airliner when it entered service in 2006. Boeing named this aircraft the ''Worldliner'', highlighting its ability to connect almost any two airports in the world, although it is still subject to ETOPS restrictions. It holds the world record for the longest nonstop flight by a commercial airliner, and has a maximum range of . The -200LR was intended for ultra-long-haul routes such as Los Angeles to Singapore , or Dallas to Tokyo .

Developed alongside the -300ER, the -200LR features an increased MTOW and three optional auxiliary fuel tanks in the rear cargo hold. Other new features include raked wingtips, redesigned main landing gear, and additional structural strengthening. As with the -300ER and 777F, the -200LR is equipped with wingtip extensions of 12.8 ft (3.90 m). The first -200LR was delivered to Pakistan International Airlines on February 26, 2006. As of September 2010, six different -200LR customers have taken delivery of 45 aircraft, with 11 unfilled orders. The closest competing aircraft from Airbus is the A340-500HGW.

===777-300ER===

The 777-300ER ("ER" for Extended Range) is the B-market version of the -300. It features raked and extended wingtips, a new main landing gear, reinforced nose gear, and extra fuel tanks. The -300ER also has a strengthened fuselage, wings, empennage , and engine attachments. The standard GE90-115B turbofans are the world's most powerful jet engines in service, with a maximum thrust of . The maximum range is , made possible due to a higher MTOW along with the increased fuel capacity. The -300ER can fly approximately 34 percent farther than the -300 with a full load of passengers and cargo. Following flight testing, the implementation of engine, wing, and weight modifications produced an added 1.4 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

The first -300ER was delivered to Air France on April 29, 2004. The -300ER ranks as the best-selling 777 variant, having surpassed the -200ER in September 2010, and since its launch the model has been a primary driver of the twinjet's sales past the rival A340. Using only two engines produces a typical operating cost advantage of around 8-9 percent for the -300ER over the A340-600, along with a 20 percent fuel burn advantage over the 747-400. Several airlines have acquired the -300ER as a 747-400 replacement amid rising fuel prices. As of September 2010, -300ER deliveries to 21 different customers totaled 248, with 198 unfilled orders. Operators had 237 aircraft in service as of July 2010. The -300ER's direct Airbus competitor is the A340-600HGW.

777 Freighter

The 777 Freighter (777F) is an all-cargo version of the twinjet. It amalgamates features from the -200LR and the -300ER, using the former's airframe and engines, combined with the latter's fuel capacity. With a maximum payload of , cargo capacity is similar to the of the 747-200F . The freighter has a range of at maximum payload, although greater range is possible if less cargo weight is carried. As the aircraft promises improved operating economics compared to existing freighters, airlines have targeted the 777F as a replacement for older freighters including the 747-200F and MD-11F .

The first 777F was delivered to Air France on February 19, 2009. As of September 2010, 36 freighters had been delivered to seven different customers, with 42 unfilled orders. As of July 2010, 23 Boeing 777Fs were in use by commercial operators.

In the 2000s Boeing has also been studying the conversion of 777-200ER and -200 passenger airliners into freighters, under the name ''777 Boeing Converted Freighter'' or 777 BCF. The company has been in discussion with several airline customers and looks to offer the conversion beginning in 2011. Fedex , UPS Airlines , and GE Commercial Aviation Services are some potential customers.

777 tanker (KC-777)

The KC-777 is a proposed tanker version of the 777. In September 2006, Boeing publicly announced that it would produce the KC-777, if the United States Air Force (USAF) requires a larger tanker than the KC-767 . The 777 tanker would also be able to transport more cargo or personnel. In April 2007, Boeing instead offered its KC-767 Advanced Tanker for USAF's KC-X competition.

Operators

The type's only hull loss occurred on January 17, 2008, when British Airways Flight 38 (BA38), a Rolls-Royce Trent 895 engined 777-200ER flying from Beijing to London, crash-landed approximately short of Heathrow Airport's runway 27L and slid onto the runway's threshold . There were 47 injuries and no fatalities. The impact damaged the landing gear, wing root s, and engines, and the aircraft was written off. Upon investigation, the accident was blamed on ice crystals from the fuel system clogging the fuel-oil heat exchanger (FOHE). Air accident investigators called for this component on the Trent 800 series engine to be redesigned, and manufacturer Rolls-Royce said in March 2009 the new part should be ready within .

Two other minor momentary losses of thrust with Trent 895 engines occurred in 2008. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators concluded that, just as on BA38, the loss of power was caused by ice in the fuel clogging the fuel-oil heat exchanger. Although work arounds for pilots now exist, the NTSB also requested a redesign of the heat exchanger.

Specifications

Sources: Boeing 777 specifications, Boeing 777 airport planning report, Civil Aircraft, Rolls-Royce Trent 800 series data