The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Saturday, March 8, 2014, 12:33 p.m.

Boeing 777’s record makes it one of the most popular, safest jets

  • This photo shows the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared from air traffic control screens Saturday, taking off from Roissy-Charles de ...

    Associated Press

    This photo shows the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared from air traffic control screens Saturday, taking off from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 carrying 239 people lost contact with air traffic control early Saturday morning, March 8, 2014 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and international aviation authorities still hadn’t located the jetliner several hours later. (AP Photo/Laurent Errera)

NEW YORK — The Boeing 777 flown by Malaysia Airlines that disappeared Saturday morning over the South China Sea is one of the world’s most popular — and safest — jets.
The long-range jumbo jet has helped connect cities at the far ends of the globe, with flights as long as 16 hours. But more impressive is its safety record: The first fatal crash in its 19-year history only came last July when an Asiana Airlines jet landed short of the runway in San Francisco. Three of the 307 people aboard died.
Airlines like the plane because it is capable of flying extremely long distances thanks to two giant engines. Each engine is so massive that a row of at least five coach seats could fit inside it. By having just two engines, the plane burns through less fuel than four-engine jets, like the Boeing 747, which it has essentially replaced.
“It has provided a new standard in both efficiency and safety,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant with the Teal Group. “The 777 has enjoyed one of the safest records of any jetliner built.”
Besides last year’s Asiana crash, the only other serious incident with the 777 came in January 2008 when a British Airways jet landed about 1,000 feet short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Malaysia Airlines did have an incident in August 2005 with a 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s largest city. While flying 38,000 feet above the Indian Ocean, the plane’s software incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, causing the plane to suddenly shoot up 3,000 feet. The pilot disengaged the autopilot and descended and landed safely back in Perth. A software update was quickly made on planes around the world.
Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200ER jets in its fleet of about 100 planes. The first was delivered on April 23, 1997. The most recent on Dec. 13, 2004, according to Boeing. The 200ER is one of four versions of the 777.
The 777 is capable of flying 7,250 miles nonstop. Its two Rolls-Royce Trent 875 engines each have 74,600 pounds of thrust, letting the plane cruise at Mach 0.84, or nearly 640 mph. A new model has a list price of $261.5 million, although airlines typically negotiate discounts.
The 777 was the first twin-engine plane to be immediately certified to fly over the ocean as far as 180 minutes from any emergency landing airport. Government safety regulators have determined that it could fly for nearly three hours on a single engine in the case of an emergency.
Such government approval has enabled airlines to fly routes such as New York to Hong Kong nonstop on the 777.
Saturday’s Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was scheduled to take 5 1/2 hours — one of the shorter routes worldwide for the 777. Malaysia Airlines has its 777s configured to seat 282 passengers with business class and coach cabins.
In addition to its ability to fly long distances and hold a large number of passengers, airlines like the 777 because they can fill its long belly with lots of profitable cargo. The jet weighs 316,800 (143 tons) pounds empty but is able to carry another 340,000 (155 tons) pounds of passengers, luggage, cargo and fuel. Less than a third of the space in the belly is taken up by luggage.
Boeing has delivered 1,030 of the planes since United Airlines starting flying the first one in June 1995.There are outstanding orders for another 370. Last year, Boeing announced plans to build a new, larger version of the plane in addition to the four current versions.
———
Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

HeraldNet highlights

A perfect picnic
A perfect picnic: What you need for a romantic date or a family trip
Determined to overcome
Determined to overcome: As Oso couple rebuild their lives, they focus on the good
Opportunity knocks
Opportunity knocks: Lynch’s holdout opens door for Seahawks' Michael, Turbin
Hangover? What hangover?
Hangover? What hangover?: Expectations nothing new for Super Bowl champions