Note: This Reuters article has some good detail about how Boeing gets the 777-9X to its advertised 20% economic gains over 777-300ER.
777-8 “Lite:” Boeing’s plan to launch the 777X in two versions, the ultra-long range 8X at 9,500nm and the 407-seat 9X at 8,400nm, is well known. Launch is widely expected at the Dubai Air Show, where home-town airline Emirates is expected to be the launch customer for both versions, with perhaps as many as 100 airplanes.
We’ve reported previously there will be a third version, a reduced gross weight 777-8X, but other media haven’t followed our lead on this (nor have aerospace analysts). No, some have said, there will be just the two versions, the 8LX and the 9X.
Well, we have it on tape.
Mike Bair, vice president of marketing and business development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, is responsible for strategy, planning and marketing of the company’s commercial product and services. At Boeing’s Paris Air Show briefing in May, we were part of a press gaggle and here’s how the conversation went.
Leeham News: The 8X is the same size as the A350-1000, but the 9,500 mile 8X will probably be quite a bit heavier. Do you see a reduced MTOW for the 8X that will be more directly competitive?
Bair: Absolutely. We’ll paper the weight, whatever we need to paper the weight.
That’s all it took: Bair confirmed the plan for the 8X “lite.” The press gaggle continued.
Leeham: Why does it take seven years now to do a derivative airplane?
Bair: It’s the engines. That’s the pacing item.
Guy Norris of Aviation Week asked about why the 777X wouldn’t be an electric airplane, as is the 787.
Bair: The all electric system on the 787 was driven by deicing the wing. It’s a very thin wing and we couldn’t figure out how to get the duct work into the wing for pneumatic deicing, so the big power draw is deicing. On a Triple 7X, while the wing will look very similar, because it is a bigger wing, there is plenty of space on it.
Bair was also asked where the 777X’s composite wing will be built, a topic of keen interest to the State of Washington.
Bair: We don’t know yet (where wing will be built). All we know is that a brand new composite wing will need a brand new composite wing factory somewhere.
To that end, the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance has endorsed the designation of the 777X as a project of Statewide Significance. Here is the press release: PNAA_Supports_Statewide_Significance
Separately, Washington State’s director of the Governor’s Office of Aerospace says Boeing might build an assembly plant outside the US.
Asiana photos: A reader sent us a PDF of 33 photos of the Asiana Boeing 777 crash, many showing the interior. These are rather eye-opening and photos like these are rarely seen. We can’t tell from the photos how much of the interior damage, exclusive of the fire, was from impact that dislodged the interior walls and seats, but this falls into the Holy Smokes category. It makes you wonder how there were as few casualties as there were.No doubt these will be studied for further safety improvements.
Here are the Asiana crash photos.
Another Ethiopian 787 theory: See this piece from Christine Negroni, an aviation writer and an author of a book on the crash of TWA 800.