Re: Boeing naming convention for 777

Date:         22 Jul 99 23:30:31 
Organization: - Share what you know. Learn what you don't.
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JF Mezei <> wrote:
> For other aircraft, it seems that Boeing has no problem giving each
> derivative its own name. hy does this seem so different for the 777
> here the 200 and 300 will have many many derivatives.  Why can't
> Boeing name them the 400, 500 etc? Is it affraid of running out of
> numbers prior to the end of this family ?

It's hard to know when to break out a new number, and when to simply
add a modifier ("extended range"). On the 727 and 737, different series
numbers were given to different fuselage lengths, and then to the New-
Generation models (that had a new wing along with various other
improvements). Within a series, "advanced" was once used to denote
higher gross weight versions. On the 747, the switch from series 100 to
200 was made even though gross weight improvements were the major
change. Then -300 was used belatedly for the extended upper deck
version, which had been known as the -200EUD until just before roll-
out. The -400 added EFIS, an improved wing, and various other
improvements, so a new series number was well-justified. But then the
cargo version became the -400F despite its lack of an extended upper
deck (the precedent from the -300 would have suggested a new series
designation). And of course, there's also the SP in the mix. The 757
and 767 went back to changing series designation according to fuselage
length, and within that using modifiers for extended-range models.

> It is pretty hard to know what a 777-200 and 777-300 are. I thik there
> was the basic model, the IGW model, the ER model, and now an "X" model
> to come. Any more I forgot? Seems strange that this strange naming
> convention applies only to the 777.

The 777 follows the same convention as the 757 and 767, except that for
a while "IGW" (Increased Gross Weight) was used instead of "ER" -- I
now understand that Boeing is using ER again (so that IGW=ER). As for
X, that's just a temporary designation, to be used until a formal
launch decision is made. At that point, these models will presumably
get their own designation, but whether that's some variation on -200/-
300 or something like -400/-500 will depend on certification issues and
marketing decisions.

A more pertinent criticism is whether modifiers like ER and IGW are
terribly useful? Since there are several flavors of ER on both the 767
and 777, the designation itself doesn't tell you much. If you follow
the logic of calling one model the "ER", then the next one ought to be
the "RER" (REALLY extended range) or something similar. Followed maybe
by RRER as your clever engineers keep squeezing more performance out of
the basic model.

Stefano Pagiola
All opinions are my own.
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