Taking to the skies on eagle's wings

Yuen Heng-jeung

Boeing's new 777 model is a feat of engineering that's set to dominate long-distance flight routes worldwide

Yuen Heng-jeung |

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Yuen Heng-jeung at the controls of a Boeing passenger plane
The Boeing 777 is the world's largest wide-body twin-jet. Under each of its long wings, the plane boasts the largest turbofans ever used on a plane. It has six wheels under each of its two main landing gears under the centre of the fuselage.

The 777 was designed to replace older models of the Boeing family, such as the 747 and the 767. These iconic models began to lose popularity with airlines because of their older seat designs and high fuel consumption. The 777 has quickly become one of Boeing's best-selling models with its reduced fuel consumption.

The 777 comes with different specifications to suit the various carriers' needs. The new model has both passenger and cargo versions. The length of the fuselage varies on the different models.

The 777-200 offers the basic fuselage length, while the 777-300 is longer.

The 777-200ER and the 777-300ER are designed for longer flight routes than the basic models (ER stands for "extended range"). The 777-200LR (LR stands for "longer range") has three extra optional fuel tanks in the rear cargo hold, different landing gear, and a sturdier structure.

The 777 was produced with the help of eight major airlines: All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Airlines, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and United Airlines. The airlines collaborated with Boeing to work out the ideal specifications for the new model.

With its more spacious seating arrangement in first and business class, the 777 is more convenient than its competitors, the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 and the Airbus A330.

With its 2-3-2 seating arrangement in the 200 version, and 3-3-3 in the 300 version, the 777 is perfect for intercontinental flights. Airlines such as Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, Singapore Airlines and Emirates already have the plane in service for long-haul flights.

The 777 has an astonishing range, from 5,235 to 9,380 nautical miles, depending on the model. On November 10, 2005, a Boeing 777-200LR set a new world record for the longest distance travelled non-stop by a commercial plane after it landed at London's Heathrow Airport on a direct flight from Hong Kong International Airport.

The plane clocked up 11,664 nautical miles on its 22-hour, 42-minute journey to London. The previous records had been held by a 777-200ER that flew a distance of 10,823 nautical miles and a 747-400 that managed 9,200 nautical miles during a non-stop flight.

Heng-jeung, 10, from Glenealy School, is a YP Junior Reporter