The emergence of Boeing’s 777X airliner is exciting news for a company suffering a marked lack of it lately.
The under-development airliner, which Boeing expects to be ready to fly by next year, features a wingtip, though its really more of a wing “section” or wing “panel,” that folds up to decrease span so the plane can use regular-size airline gates and navigate on standard-issue taxiways while getting all the advantages of a longer, narrow-chord wing design, known in the trade as a “high-aspect ratio” wing. Those advantages, notably, include better fuel efficiency, which is always a great selling point when your market is the airlines.
For small planes like ours, reconfigurable wings—and, really, all of our wings are reconfigurable with flaps and other devices—could, in theory, allow for higher cruise speeds while enjoying good or even improved slow speed handling and lower stall speeds. Win-win. Somebody’s just got to build it now.
Here’s Boeing’s explanation of how it all works with a cool video of the system in action.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) May 21, 2018
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