Boeing decided to test the functionality of the 777-9’s folding wingtips in practice by parking the huge widebody at one of the gates at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
The aircraft with a wingspan of 235 feet (about 72 meters) with wings extended can ‘shrink’ to 213 feet (almost 65 meters), thanks to the possibility of folding the tips on the ground.
Because of this, the 777X can use any parking position intended for widebodies at airports around the world. The solution came about after the bad experience caused by the Airbus A380, the largest passenger plane ever built.
The two-deck aircraft, with its large dimensions, required changes at airports, both in the runways, taxiways and in the gates and parking positions.
Only its wingspan, 80 meters, made the use of some gates unfeasible, due to the proximity to other aircraft.
The solution found by Boeing was to replicate the same concept used in military aircraft on board aircraft carriers, which have articulated wings to allow them to be retracted and thus adapt to the tight deck space.
The test with the 777-9 registration number N779XW was carried out at gate S12, in Concourse S at Seattle-Tacoma, an airport approximately 32 miles (50 km) from Everett, where Boeing produces the aircraft.
The 777-9 is expected to enter service in 2025 and currently has 363 firm orders from more than 12 customers.