What Is a Boeing 777?

Alan Rankin

A Boeing 777 is a commercial jetliner in use around the world. It is a twinjet, meaning that it has only two engines, one on each wing. During times of high fuel prices, this makes the Boeing 777 more economical than other aircraft with more engines. This jet seats more than 300 passengers and is often used for international flights and other long journeys. The 777 has, in fact, set records for the longest flight without stopping to refuel.

As of 2011, there are more than 900 Boeing 777s used by passenger airlines around the world.
As of 2011, there are more than 900 Boeing 777s used by passenger airlines around the world.

Jet airliners, also called jetliners, began commercial service in the 1950s. The Boeing Company, founded by William Boeing in 1916, had been offering commercial passenger service since the 1920s. It launched its first jetliner in 1958. Succeeding decades saw new jetliner designs from the company, each bearing a 700-series model number: 707, 727, 747 and so on. The Boeing 777 line was launched into service in 1995.

Components of the Boeing 777 are assembled in various international locations. The jet itself is built in the United States at Boeing’s facility in Everett, Washington. Variations include the 777-300ER and the 777-200LR, which are manufactured for extended-range and long-range flights, respectively. The 777-300, another variation, can seat more than 500 passengers. More than 900 777s had been manufactured as of 2011, and they were in use by passenger airlines around the world; some also are used for freight delivery because of their light weight and high fuel efficiency.

In 2005, the Boeing 777 set a new record in the history of commercial aviation. A 777-200LR flew from London to Hong Kong without stopping to refuel. The total distance covered was 11,664 miles (18,771 km). This is almost half of the Earth’s total circumference of 24,901 miles (40,075 km). Other jets in the 777 family have a range of 6,200-10,000 miles (10,000–17,000 km), the standard for transcontinental air travel.

Many aspects of the Boeing 777, both internal and external, make use of innovative new technologies. The 777 was the first Boeing jet to use so-called fly-by-wire control systems, in which pilots control the plane’s systems with an electronic computer interface rather than heavy mechanical relays. The wings, body and internal structures are also designed to make the whole aircraft lighter and faster, without compromising the safety of passengers and crew. Boeing emphasizes the environmental advantages of these advances; the plane’s greater fuel efficiency means it generates lower volumes of greenhouse gases. These design features have inspired similar advances in other jets by Boeing and its competitors.

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