The 777 is one of Boeing’s most successful planes that the company has launched several iterations of the jet ever since the first one came out. The latest iteration of this airplane is the 777X and one of the changes that it brings is the much larger wings that may make it difficult for the airplane to navigate terminals at airports that can already accommodate other 777 variants. Boeing’s way around this problem was to add folding wingtips to the airplane and the FAA has now cleared the addition.
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the folding wingtips that Boeing had put on the 777X. This means that the airplane can now be produced with these wingtips which will help the new airplane stop at airport gates that are capable of servicing a typical 777 model.
The wingtips will rotate until they’re pointing straight upwards when the 777X lands. The FAA required several assurances from Boeing before it approved the design. It wanted the manufacturer to put several systems in place that will ensure that pilots don’t attempt a takeoff until and unless the wingtips are locked in the correct position. The FAA also required assurance that the wingtips could absolutely not be rotated during flight.
Bloomberg points out in the report that the 777X is going to be the only commercial aircraft to have folding wingtips which is a feature that military aircraft have long used due to space constraints on aircraft carriers. However, there are some smaller airplanes that have folding wingtips too, but they’re far from the sheer size of the 777X.