Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Kevin Bullis

A View from Kevin Bullis

Folding Wings Will Make Boeing’s Next Airplane More Efficient

A more efficient engine and composite wings that fold up will reduce fuel consumption on Boeing’s 777x.

  • November 18, 2013

In 2020, Boeing says it will start deliveries of a new airplane, which is called 777x for now, that will be 12 percent more fuel efficient than its competition. That would bring huge savings to airlines in reduced fuel costs.

Wide wings: A rendering of Boeing’s new 777-9x.

The plane is based, as the name suggests, on Boeing’s large 777 airliner. To get the fuel savings, Boeing is using the new GE9X engine from GE Aviation. It will also have composite wings that are longer than the ones on the current 777. Longer wings are known to improve efficiency, but pose a problem for negotiating airports. One solution is to add vertical winglets, which has much the same effect. With the 777x, Boeing has opted for longer wings that fold up when the plane is on the ground, shortening the wingspan by just over 6 meters.  

Boeing has received 259 orders for the airplane.

Airplane design will change slowly because of the high need for reliability. But aircraft designers are working on new technologies that could eventualy cut fuel consumption in half (see “A More Efficient Jet Engine Is Made from Lighter Parts, Some 3-D Printed” and “’Hybrid Wing’ Uses Half the Fuel of a Standard Airplane”). Even greater benefits could come from radical engine designs and the use of batteries to augment them (see “Exploding Engine Could Reduce Fuel Consumption” and “Once a Joke, Battery-Powered Airplanes Are Nearing Reality”).

Folded wing: The ends of the Boeing 777x’s wings will fold up when the plane is on the ground.

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look: exclusive early access to important stories, before they’re available to anyone else

    Insider Conversations: listen in on in-depth calls between our editors and today’s thought leaders

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.