September 2012

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Kangaroo-buster 777-8LX concept being studied by Boeing

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Boeing 777F N5020K

Anyone that has ever flown between the United Kingdom and Australia knows about the kangaroo bounce.

The "bounce", the stop in Asia, often Singapore, is part of the famous Kangaroo Route used to transit between the two nations separated by three continents and 9,188nm. Even with today's ultra long-range jetliners in service, the Airbus A340-500 and Boeing 777-200LR, the fierce headwinds on the westbound route robs airlines of carrying enough passengers and cargo to make money.

Connecting the London and Sydney has long been seen as a Holy Grail of aviation. As part of its next generation 777X studies, Boeing is exploring an ultra long-range 777-8LX, with nearly 9,500nm range. FULL STORY
Likely to be the last of three members of a conceptual 777X family, the -8LX could potentially have a service entry in the 2020s, providing a mission range of 17,550km (9,480nm), industry sources tell Flightglobal, which is 85nm longer than the 17,395km (9,395nm) offered by the 777-200LR.

The 777-8LX's fuselage would match that of a proposed -8X, now seen as a three-class 353-seat 4.46m (14ft 7in) stretch of the 777-200ER.

With common structural elements, the -8LX and the larger -9X would share a 344t (760,000lb) maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), allowing the smaller jet to carry additional fuel for the extended missions, with a common fuel tank capacity across the conceptual family.

Both the 777-8X and -9X concepts currently aim for an 14,800km (8,000nm) design range.

With a common engine to the 777-9X, the -8LX is conceptually powered by the General Electric GE9X with a 99,500lb thrust rating, while the -8X is understood to be significantly derated off the engine's baseline design with its lower MTOW.
Boeing cautions no decisions have been made and that the company continues to explore a myriad of different options with respect to the future of the 777 family, ranging from a composite wing all the way up to a full clean-sheet replacement of the type, which first entered service in 1995.

The conceptual 777-8LX joins the 777-9X, 2.13m (7ft) longer than the 777-300ER, which would lead the conceptual family late in the decade, and 777-8X, which are both understood to have a baseline composite wing of 233ft 5in (71.1m).

The 233ft wing design, which features an 11ft raked tip, is being explored along with 213 ft 3in (65m) and 225ft (68.6m) spans wings with blended winglets. The massive 233ft 5in wing also is being studied with a folding 11ft outer tip, reviving a design originally envisaged for the 777-200.

The design of the conceptual 407-seat 777-9X in particular is expected to create significant improvements in per seat fuel burn, with internal estimates of the company's conceptual designs now pointing toward an approximately 20% improvement over today's 777-300ER, achieved through incremental technology updates to the 777 platform.

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