Things With Wings

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  • 787 wing bend
    Posted by Guy Norris 7:44 PM on Dec 04, 2011

    One of the distinguishing features of the 787 is the striking upward sweep, or dihedral, of the aircraft’s 197 ft span wing.

    The elegant curve is a facet of the use of composites for the primary structure, which enables a stiffer, narrower chord and a higher-aspect ratio for more efficient long range cruise.

    From a passenger’s perspective the additional dihedral is most perceptible starting from a point on the leading edge around 3ft to 4ft outboard of the engine pylon mount.

    Here are some graphics that show the relative bend of the wing all the way up to ultimate load (150% of limit load, or the maximum load expected in service), plus some photos of the real thing taken in-flight from the cabin on the first commercial flight with ANA in October (and a comparison with a 777 wing taken from a similar angle).
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    Wing angle at rest (Boeing)

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    Wing angle at normal 1g load in cruise – 12 ft (Boeing)
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    Wing angle at ultimate load – 26 ft (Boeing)

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    Wing bend on ANA 787 in cruise over Japan (Guy Norris) 
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    Wing bend on ANA 777 in cruise over Pacific. Note the relatively lower wing tip position despite the greater 212 ft 7in span of the 777-300ER. (Guy Norris)

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    Overview of the slender 787 wing (Guy Norris)

    Tags: tw99, Boeing, 787, dihedral, ANA, 777

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