777 ETOPS certification

From:         ktl@wag.caltech.edu (Kian-Tat Lim)
Organization: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Date:         02 Nov 93 00:38:12 PST
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The Los Angeles Times reports today (November 1, 1993) that Boeing is
seeking 180 minute ETOPS certification for the 777 before it has flown one
revenue passenger-mile, an unprecedented step.  Typical ETOPS certification
by the FAA requires a year or two of demonstrated capability, and the length
of time allowed is increased slowly.

"[Boeing] says it has devised about 70 new tests to prove the 777 engines'
 reliability, and that three test versions of the plane will fly 1,000 hours
 each -- about the same as a year of airline service.

 'With the kind of testing that's going to take place, and the design, we're
  going to get a reliable product, service-ready, from Day 1,' said Joe Ozimek,
  the 777's chief engineer.' "

The president of the Aviation Safety Institute and the Air Line Pilots
Association both are skeptical that Boeing can get away without actual
passenger service testing.

Boeing appears to be pushing for early certification to improve marketability
of the 777, allowing prospective ETOPS customers (including United, the
launch customer) to place orders earlier, rather than waiting for operational
testing.  It is therefore not surprising that Airbus is turning up its nose
at this -- a marketing analysis manager said "we [Airbus] still want to see a
certain amount of service experience" for new planes.

The Times reports that

"The FAA is going to let Boeing take its best shot.  The agency drew up
 conditions the 777 must meet during its tests; if they are met, the plane
 will probably be approved.  But it is unlikely the FAA will decide the matter
 until Boeing is about to deliver the first 777 -- to United Airlines -- in
 May, 1995."

An information box accompanying the article gives the following specifications:

Range: Up to 7,600 miles *
Passengers: Up to 440 *
Price: Up to US$143 million each, depending on features
Development cost: US$5 billion (though the text gives US$4 billion)
Planes on order: 130
Weight: Up to 590,000 pounds *
Parts: 3 million (including rivets and bolts)
Subcontractors: 500 major suppliers; Japanese firms make 20% of airframe
Engineering: Designed entirely on 3-D [CAD] systems
Main wings: Each 90 feet long, weighing 14 tons
Main landing gear: Two 14-foot-high legs, six wheels per leg -- largest ever
	for a Boeing jet
Commands: Boeing's first fly-by-wire plane

*: On later versions; amounts will be lower on initial model

[An accompanying rear-quarter view picture reveals little about the plane
 other than a possible wet (fuel-containing) horizontal stabilizer, a
 surprisingly (to me) high aspect ratio wing, and likely no more than five
 exits per side (though one interruption in the light pattern may be a pair
 of exits and another seems to be in line with the fan blades).  No winglets.]

-- 
Kian-Tat Lim, ktl@wag.caltech.edu [RIPEM available]
Materials & Molecular Simulation Center, Caltech
Henry Spencer left-of-| signature fan