Re: Folding wings 777?

Date:         18 Mar 2001 12:06:11 
From:         "Robert H. Nielsen" <robert.h.nielsen@worldnet.att.net>
Organization: AT&T Worldnet
References:   1
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"J. G. Pastorkyna" wrote:

> Has any carrier taken advantage of Boeing's offer to manufacture the
> 777 with  wings that can be shortened by folding up before reaching
> the gate? It was mentioned in a TV documentary, but I certainly
> haven't seen such a sight anywhere. Are there that many airports
> gates where such a practise would be helpful?

This idea was fielded when the 777 was being designed, apparently at the
specific request of American which thought the wingspan would be a problem at
certain airports. It was never put into the manufacturing process and is
not now offered on 777s (though actual wings were constructed and tested.)

A Boeing engineer I worked with told me, "That was the best thing we
ever did. We went far enough with the design so that the customer
really could see what it would cost in fuel burn, weight increase,
and mechanical complexity, and they realized it wasn't really a good idea."
Apparently airline planners like to dream up technologies, and don't like
to be told by manufacturers that some concepts are impractical. But enough
solid engineering can convince even the skeptics.

A side benefit of this idea is that the folding wingtips were designed
to be dry, and now the space is used for fuel in the longer range versions
of the airplane.

Regards,
Retired Robert