Boeing's new 777x wasn't at the Paris Air Show this week, but the company still did its best to show off the airliner to the world. On Wednesday, it tweeted a video highlighting the plane's most prominent feature, wingtips that fold upward.
The moving wingtips -- the first of their kind on a commercial jetliner --- will cut the 777x's enormous wingspan from 235 feet down to just under 213 feet. That will let the plane fit at airport gates where existing 777s currently operate, while still giving the wing its full lift capability in flight. The Airbus A380's longer 261-foot wingspan forced airports to make expensive modifications to airport terminals when it debuted in 2007, something Boeing is trying to avoid.
As the wingtips are a new technology, Boeing had to seek approval for their design from the Federal Aviation Administration. "Boeing has determined that a catastrophic event could occur if the airplane wingtips are not properly positioned and secured for takeoff and during flight," reported an FAA documentpublished in May 2018. "The applicant must show that such an event is extremely improbable, must not result from a single failure, and that appropriate alerting must be provided for the crew to manage unsafe system-operating conditions."