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The Boeing 747, McDonnell Douglas DC-10, and Lockheed L-1011 TriStar were the first wide-body passenger aircraft to enter service in the early 1970s. Due in part to extended-range twin-engine operational performance standards (ETOPS) rules governing transoceanic twinjet operations in the 1980s, the mid-size 757 and 767 launched to commercial success. Airlines began using the 767 on long-distance international routes that did not require the capacity of larger aircraft under ETOPS restrictions. Boeing presented plans for a larger 767, dubbed the 767-X, in 1986 to complement the current 767 and 747 planes. Customers of Boeing Airlines were disinterested in the 767-X plans, preferring a bigger fuselage cross-section and intercontinental range capabilities instead. The only solution, Boeing determined, was a fresh design from the ground up, which became the 777 twin-jet. Given previous design accomplishments, future engine improvements, and cost savings, the business chose the twin-engine arrangement.
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The initial 777 Classics used General Electric GE90, Pratt & Whitney PW4000, or Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. Boeing announced the development of the 777X in November 2013, with the -8 and -9 variants sporting composite wings with foldable wingtips and General Electric GE9X engines.
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Significant foreign material was integrated in the production process, which was later surpassed by the 787 Dreamliner. To accommodate manufacture of its new aeroplane, Boeing increased the capacity of its Everett facility at a cost of approximately US$1.5 billion. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (fuselage panels), Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. (central wing section), Hawker de Havilland (elevators), and Aerospace Technologies of Australia (elevators) were among the international contributors (rudder). The first 777, WA001, was unveiled on April 9, 1994, in a series of 15 ceremonies performed throughout the day to accommodate the 100,000 visitors who had been invited. At locations ranging from the desert airstrip at Edwards Air Force Base in California to Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska, nine aircraft equipped with General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce engines were flight tested. Boeing's total investment in the programme is projected to be over $4 billion, with another $2 billion coming from suppliers. United Airlines received the first 777 on May 15, 1995. The Pratt & Whitney PW4084 engined aircraft received 180-minute ETOPS authorization from the FAA. In 1997, British Airways temporarily ceased transatlantic flights with its 777 aircraft. The 777 fleet had logged over 900,000 flight hours by 1998. British Airways received the first variant with General Electric GE90-77B engines on November 12, 1995, and it went into service five days later. On March 31, 1996, Thai Airways International received the first Trent 877-powered aircraft, completing the debut of the three powerplants originally planned for the airliner.
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The 777 model designator plus the -200 or -300 variation designator are combined into "772" or "773" in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) code. Domestic and regional operations are covered by the A-market, whereas routes from Europe to the US West Coast are covered by the B-market, and the longest transpacific routes are covered by the C-market. The ICAO assigns the designation "B77W" to the 777-300ER, and Boeing assigns the designation "B773" to the 777-300ER. The A-market would encompass local and regional operations, the B-market would cover lines from Europe to the West Coast of the United States, and the C-market would cover the longest transpacific routes.
On June 12, 1994, the first Boeing 777-200 took to the skies for the first time. It has a range of 5,240 nautical miles (9,700 km) with 305 passengers in a three-class layout with a 545,000 lb (247 t) MTOW and 77,000lb (340 kN) engines. As of 2019, Boeing no longer sells the -200, as evidenced by its absence from the company's 777 variant price lists. United Airlines switched all 19 of its -200s to domestic U.S. routes in 2016, including flights to and from Hawaii, and added extra economy class seats by switching to a ten-abreast arrangement (which matched American Airlines' reconfiguration of the type). The -200 was designed primarily for domestic airlines in the United States, although it has also been used by numerous Asian carriers and British Airways. The A330-300 was the Airbus aircraft that competed.
The B-market 777-200ER ("ER" for Extended Range), formerly known as the 777-200IGW (increased gross weight), has more fuel capacity and a higher MTOW, allowing it to fly across oceans. It has a 658,000 lb (298 t) MTOW and 93,700 lbf (417 kN) engines, as well as a range of 7,065 nautical miles (13,084 kilometres). A new -200ER was worth US$130 million in 2007, up from US$110 million when it first entered service. For shorter journeys, the engine can be shipped de-rated with less thrust.
The 777-200LR is one of the world's longest-range commercial aircraft, having entered service in 2006. Although it is still subject to ETOPS constraints, Boeing dubbed it the Worldliner since it can link practically any two airports in the globe. The A340-500HGW, which is no longer in production, and the current A350-900ULR are the closest competitors from Airbus. As of July 2018, 50 -200LR variants were in service. Extended raked wingtips, updated main landing gear, and extra structural reinforcement are among the other new characteristics. The -200LR, which was developed alongside the -300ER, has a higher MTOW and three optional auxiliary fuel tanks in the cargo hold.
It was unveiled on June 26, 1995, at the Paris Air Show, and substantial assembly began in March 1997. Its body was joined on July 21, it was rolled out on September 8, and it flew for the first time on October 16. With 368 passengers in three classes, the aircraft has a range of 6,005 nautical miles (11,121 kilometres). It had a fuel capacity of 45,200 US gal (171,200 L) and engines rated at 84,000–98,000 lbf (374–436 kN). It had a 45,200 US gal (171,200 L) fuel capacity and engines rated at 84,000–98,000 lbf (374–436 kN) with an MTOW of 580,000–661,000 lb (263.3–299.6 t). Boeing aimed to deliver 170 -300s by 2006 and build 28 per year by 2002 to replace early Boeing 747s, which would use one-third less fuel and require 40% less maintenance.
The 777-300ER ("ER" stands for Extended Range) is the -300's B-market variant. With a maximum range of 7,370 nautical miles (13,650 kilometres) and 396 people in a two-class seating arrangement, it has a greater MTOW and larger fuel capacity. The -300ER has pushed the twinjet's sales over those of the competing A330/340 series. The Airbus A340-600 and A350-1000 have been its direct competitors. At a weight of 216,370 kg (477,010 lb) and FL350, its projected operating empty weight is 168,560 kg (371,610 lb).
The 777F is a cargo-only variant of the twinjet that shares many of the same characteristics as the -200LR. At its maximum structural payload of 228,700 lb (103,700 kg), it has a maximum range of 9,750 nautical miles (18,057 kilometres). As of April 2021, 25 different clients have ordered 247 freighters, with 45 orders still pending. Several airline customers, including FedEx Express, UPS Airlines, and GE Capital Aviation Services, have expressed interest in providing launch orders for the 777 BCF programme.
New GE9X engines will power the 777X, as well as new composite wings with foldable wingtips. It was first released in November 2013 with two models: the 777-8 and 777-9. The 777-8 seats 384 people and has a range of 8,730 nautical miles (16,170 kilometres), whereas the 777-9 seats 426 passengers and has a range of over 7,285 nautical miles (16,170 kilometres) (13,500 km). The 777-9 took to the skies for the first time on January 25, 2020, with deliveries initially scheduled for 2022 but then pushed back to 2024. Variants such as the 777-10X, 777X Freighter, and 777X BBJ have also been suggested.
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The 777 had been involved in 31 aviation accidents and incidents as of February 2021, including eight hull losses (five in-flight and three on-ground incidents), resulting in 541 fatalities and three hijackings. The first fatality involving the twinjet occurred on September 5, 2001, when a fire broke out while an aircraft was being refuelled at Denver International Airport in the United States, killing a ground worker. The British Airways aircraft was damaged by fire in the lower wing panels and engine housing; it was later repaired and returned to service.
On January 17, 2008, a 777-200ER with Rolls-Royce Trent 895 engines crashed-landed short of Heathrow Airport's runway threshold, resulting in the first hull loss. As British Airways Flight 38, the plane was travelling from Beijing to London. There were 47 people injured, but no one died.
On July 29, 2011, a 777-200ER slated to operate as EgyptAir Flight 667 sustained a cockpit fire while parked at the gate at Cairo International Airport before its departure, resulting in the second hull loss. The aeroplane was written off due to structural, thermal, and smoke damage. On July 29, 2011, EgyptAir Flight 667 had a cockpit fire. The emphasis of the investigation was on a potential short circuit in the cockpit crew oxygen supply.
In 2013, Asiana Airlines Flight 214 was killed when it crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport. During the incident, two passengers who were not wearing seatbelts were thrown from the plane and died. The pilots made 20 to 30 minor to substantial mistakes in their final approach, according to the official crash inquiry. These were the first casualties in a 777 disaster since the plane's introduction in 1995.
The suspected fourth hull loss happened on March 8, 2014, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a 777-200ER carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing en way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was declared missing. Although the reason is unknown, the Malaysian government has considered the incident an accident. The most plausible scenario, according to US authorities, is that someone in the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 reprogrammed the plane's autopilot to fly south across the Indian Ocean.
On July 17, 2014, a 777-200ER, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), broke up in mid-flight and crashed after being struck by an anti-aircraft missile. The Netherlands and Australia accuse Russia of deploying the Buk missile system that was used to shoot down MH17. After being struck by an anti-aircraft missile, the Boeing 777-200ER broke up in mid-flight and crashed. The governments of the Netherlands and Australia hold Russia responsible for the deployment of the Buk missile system used in shooting down the airliner from territory held by pro-Russian separatists, according to official conclusions issued by the Dutch Safety Board and the Joint Investigation Team in May 2018.
The sixth hull loss occurred on August 3, 2016, when a 777-300 crashed while landing and caught fire at Dubai Airport at the end of its flight as Emirates Flight 521. The preliminary investigation indicated that the aircraft was attempting a landing during active wind shear conditions. There were no passenger casualties of the 300 people on board, however, one airport fireman was killed fighting the fire.
The seventh hull loss occurred on November 29, 2017, when a Singapore Airlines 777-200ER experienced a fire while being towed at Singapore Changi Airport. The aircraft sustained heat damage and was written off. Singapore Airlines Shanghai Pudong International Airport occurred on July 22, 2020.
The starboard engine of a 777-200 operating as United Airlines Flight 328 failed on February 20, 2021. The captain declared an emergency and landed at Denver International Airport. Two fan blades had broken off, according to an instant assessment conducted before any official inquiry. All 128 777s equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines should be grounded until they are assessed, according to Boeing. A similar problem occurred on United Airlines Flight 1175 from San Francisco to Hawaii in 2018, involving another 777-200 with the same engine type.
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With the 777 design, Boeing introduced a number of advanced technologies, including fully digital fly-by-wire controls, fully software-configurable avionics, Honeywell LCD glass cockpit flight displays, and the first commercial airliner to use a fibre optic avionics network. Boeing drew on work done on the cancelled Boeing 7J7 regional jet, which used similar versions of the selected technologies. Boeing began offering cockpit electronic flight bag computer displays in 2003. Boeing announced in 2013 that the upgraded 777X models would incorporate 787 airframe, systems, and interior technologies.
Instead of switching to sidestick controllers, which are used in many fly-by-wire combat planes and many Airbus planes, Boeing chose to keep traditional control yokes. The cockpit has a streamlined configuration that is comparable to past Boeing aircraft, as well as traditional yoke and rudder controls. Mechanical backup is used in addition to the fly-by-wire technology.
The 777's wings have a supercritical airfoil design that is 31.6 degrees swept back and suited for cruising at Mach 0.83. (revised after flight tests). The wings are thicker and have a larger span than earlier airliners. The 777-200LR can now fly ultra-long-distance trans-polar routes like Toronto to Hong Kong. When the 777 was initially introduced, large folding wingtips measuring 21 feet (6.40 m) were available to appeal to airlines that would utilise gates designed for smaller aircraft, but no airline bought this option. Unlike smaller planes like the Boeing 737, the contemporary 777 does not feature winglets; instead, the 777's extraordinarily long raked wings serve the same drag-reduction purpose. 777X models will be able to use the same airport gates and taxiways as earlier 777s thanks to smaller foldable wingtips that are 11 feet (3.35 m) in length. The plane also has the world's largest landing gear and tyres ever seen on a commercial aeroplane.
Curved panels and wider overhead bins distinguish the original Boeing 777 cabin, commonly known as the Boeing Signature Interior. The cabin also has "Flexibility Zones," which are areas where water, electrical, pneumatic, and other connection connections are strategically placed throughout the interior space. For non-airline use, a number of aeroplanes have been outfitted with VIP cabins. Air France has the largest 777-300ER subfleet in the world, with 472 seats per plane.
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A total of 1,416 aircraft (all versions) were in airline service as of July 2018. The airlines that have gotten the most 777s are Emirates, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, ILFC, and American Airlines. 777 Classics are nearing the end of their mainline service in 2017; 43 Classic 777s have been decommissioned, accounting for 7.5 percent of the fleet. Operators like Scoot, which has 402 seats in its dual-class -200s, and Cathay Pacific, which altered the 3–3–3 economy layout of 777-300s to 3–4–3 to seat 396 on regional trips, densify their 777s for roughly US$10 million apiece to maintain them cost-effective. As of July 2018, there were 1,416 aircraft in airline service (all variants), with Emirates (163), United Airlines (91), Air France (70), Cathay Pacific (69), American Airlines (67), Qatar Airways (67), British Airways (58), Korean Air (53), All Nippon Airways (50), Singapore Airlines (46), and other operators having fewer.