Boeing's advanced widebody 777 twin incorporates more advanced technologies than any other previous Boeing airliner, and has been progressively developed into increasingly longer range developments.
The 777 was originally conceived as a stretched 767, but Boeing instead adopted an all new design. Notable 777 design features include a unique fuselage cross section, Boeing's first application of fly-by-wire, an advanced technology glass flightdeck with five liquid crystal displays, comparatively large scale use of composites (10% by weight), and advanced and extremely powerful engines. The 777 was also offered with optional folding wings where the outer 6m/21ft of each would fold upwards for operations at space restricted airports.
The basic 777-200 as launched in October 1990 was offered in two versions, the basic 777-200 (initially A-Market) and the increased weight longer range 777-200IGW (Increased Gross Weight, initially B-Market). The IGW has since been redesignated 777-200ER.
The 777-200 first flew on June 12 1994, with FAA and JAA certification awarded on April 19 1995. The FAA awarded full 180 minutes ETOPS clearance for PW4074 -200s on May 30 that year. First customer delivery was to United Airlines in May 1995. The first 777-200IGW/ER was delivered to British Airways in February 1997.
The 777-100X was a proposed shortened ultra long range (16,000km/8635nm) model, dropped in favour of the 777-200LR (originally 777-200X) design study. Boeing claims the 777-200LR will be the longest ranging airliner, capable of flying 16,417km (8865nm) - 18 hours flying time. It will achieve this with awesomely powerful 489kN (110,000lb) thrust GE90-110B1 turbofans, a significantly increased max takeoff weight and optional auxiliary fuel tanks in the rear cargo hold. Other changes include 2m (6.5ft) raked wingtips, new main landing gear, structural strengthening and optional overhead crew and flight attendant rest stations above the cabin. The 777-200LR was launched in 2000, but is now delayed until 2006
Boeing's 777-300 is powered by the world's most powerful turbofan engines.
The stretched 777-300 is designed as a replacement for early generation 747s (747-100s and 200s). Compared to the older 747s the stretched 777 has comparable passenger capacity and range, but burns one third less fuel and features 40% lower maintenance costs.
Compared with the baseline 777-200 the 300 features a 10.13m (33ft 3in) stretch, comprising plugs fore and aft of the wings. The longer fuselage allows seating for up to 550 passengers in a single class high density configuration. To cope with the stretch and the up to 13 tonne (28,600lb) increased max takeoff weight the 300 features a strengthened undercarriage, airframe and inboard wing. Other changes compared with the 777-200 include a tailskid and ground manoeuvring cameras mounted on the horizontal tail and underneath the forward fuselage. Otherwise changes have been kept to a minimum to maximise commonality.
Boeing publicly announced it was developing the 777-300 at the Paris Airshow in mid June 1995 where it revealed it had secured 31 firm orders from All Nippon, Cathay Pacific, Korean Airlines and Thai Airways. Later that month Boeing's board authorised production of the new aircraft.
The 777-300 rolled out on September 8 1997, followed by first flight on October 16 that year. The type made history on May 4 1998 when it was awarded type certification simultaneously from the US FAA and European JAA and was granted 180min ETOPS approval. Service entry with Cathay Pacific was later in that month.
Like the 777-200, a 777-300ER long range version has been developed. Changes made to the 777-300ER are more powerful General Electric GE90-115B engines (currently the world's most powerful jet engine), raked wingtips, strengthened body, wings, empennage, nose gear, engine struts and nacelles, new main landing gear, and provision for extra fuel tanks. The range, carrying 365 passengers, is increased up to 13,427km (7,250nm).
Roll-out of the first 777-300ER was made on November 14 2002