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lx2iah
Topic Author
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:01 am

Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:41 am

Hi everyone,

Just looking at some old pics of “olden days” wide-bodies and can’t help noticing how much higher (for example) the D10 and L10’s sat off the ground compared to today’s “modern” twins such as the 787 and 350.

I know the 764 slopes down towards the front and has approx. 18” more height on the gear than a 763, but every time I see a 787, it looks so low (engine clearance) to the ground compared to the 350 - and compared to the D10’s and L10’s of yesteryear.

What made the manufacturers go lower to the ground - especially the 787. This is not a bash B or A topic, just curious to see what everyone thinks.

I did read this topic and thought this might be a good one to discuss -
viewtopic.php?t=771271

Thanks for your input.
 
a320fan
Posts: 838
Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 5:04 am

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:29 am

One reason I think 787s look so awkward on the ground is because of the way they hug it and it almost looks like they are flat along the underside. A350 looks a lot taller and more proportioned.
A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A350-900, A380, 737-700, 737-800, 777-200ER, 777-300, 777-300ER, 787-8, Q300, Q400
 
Kno
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Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 2:53 am

The 787 is really the only one that has that low sitting appearance - the a350 looks very tall. It’s part of why I find the 787 so ugly.
 
trnswrld
Posts: 1381
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Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 4:26 am

I’m no engineer, but just throwing this out there from an average Joe aviation enthusiast...... because they can, and why not? Lower to the ground could have multiple benefits. Shorter landing gear which equate to less weight and room required in the aircraft. On the ground it probably means better and easier servicing.
 
mandargb
Posts: 266
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2001 8:00 am

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 4:46 am

Ground clearance is decided primarily which engines will be hung under the wings.
This opens options for later mods/stretches based on same basic frame.
 
seat38a
Posts: 295
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:29 am

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 4:52 am

trnswrld wrote:
I’m no engineer, but just throwing this out there from an average Joe aviation enthusiast...... because they can, and why not? Lower to the ground could have multiple benefits. Shorter landing gear which equate to less weight and room required in the aircraft. On the ground it probably means better and easier servicing.


I guess they didn't learn from the short 737 landing gears. :lol:
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 5:31 am

I’m 6’2” and can *almost* stand upright under a 777. Believe it or not the A380 actually sits pretty low. I have to definitely bend my knees a lot to get under it.
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
Noshow
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 5:42 am

Main gear struts are both very heavy and very expensive. So engineers try to keep them as short as possible without sacrificing the clearance below the wing needed to install high bypass ratio engines.
Last edited by Noshow on Tue May 19, 2020 5:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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jetmech
Posts: 2378
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Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 5:44 am

Kno wrote:
It’s part of why I find the 787 so ugly.

Interestingly and conversely, the tall, gangly nosegear of the 777 is something I find very ugly, and the one thing that spoils the beauty of the aircraft.

Regards, JetMech
JetMech split the back of his pants. He can feel the wind in his hair :shock: .
 
Kno
Posts: 550
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 5:58 am

jetmech wrote:
Kno wrote:
It’s part of why I find the 787 so ugly.

Interestingly and conversely, the tall, gangly nosegear of the 777 is something I find very ugly, and the one thing that spoils the beauty of the aircraft.

Regards, JetMech


I’ve noticed the 777 has various nose gear heights - the 773ER is sometimes very high and sometimes short, the 772 and OG 773 are always short. Anyone know the reason for this?

773ER
Image

772
Image

Note the difference in height from top of the tire to the gear door. You can also see more extension on the arm on the backside of the gear with the 773ER
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 20032
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 6:07 am

lx2iah wrote:
Hi everyone,

Just looking at some old pics of “olden days” wide-bodies and can’t help noticing how much higher (for example) the D10 and L10’s sat off the ground compared to today’s “modern” twins such as the 787 and 350.

I know the 764 slopes down towards the front and has approx. 18” more height on the gear than a 763, but every time I see a 787, it looks so low (engine clearance) to the ground compared to the 350 - and compared to the D10’s and L10’s of yesteryear.

What made the manufacturers go lower to the ground - especially the 787. This is not a bash B or A topic, just curious to see what everyone thinks.

I did read this topic and thought this might be a good one to discuss -
viewtopic.php?t=771271

Thanks for your input.



The DC-10 actually sits lower than the A350. I suppose due to other proportions, it might seem taller from a distance.

The 787 and the 767 really stand out. Much closer to the ground. But they are also smaller aircraft.

Ground clearance under fuselage, at max weight, in meters. (I've grabbed the minimum figure if possible.)
- DC-10-40 - 2.24
- A300-600 - 1.99
- A330-300 - 2.10
- A350-900- 2.40
- A380-800 - 2.34
- 767-300 - 1.78
- 747-400 - 1.91
- 777-300ER - Can't find data for the bottom of the fuselage. Anecdotally from my colleagues, it sits quite a bit lower than the A330
- 787-8 - 1.68
- L1011 - Can't find data.

Sources:
- Airbus ACAP - https://www.airbus.com/aircraft/support ... stics.html
- Boeing (incl. MD) ACAP - https://www.boeing.com/commercial/airpo ... nuals.page

trnswrld wrote:
I’m no engineer, but just throwing this out there from an average Joe aviation enthusiast...... because they can, and why not? Lower to the ground could have multiple benefits. Shorter landing gear which equate to less weight and room required in the aircraft. On the ground it probably means better and easier servicing.


True. However, "optimising" ground clearance too much might mean closing the door to possible future stretches.

Boeing seems particularly "adept" at this. Due to ground clearance:
- The 707 could not be stretched as much as as the DC-8.
- The 777-300ER requires that clever cantilevering gear at take-off.
- The 737 could not fit the desired engines, leading to a whole host of issues.

Not saying Boeing should have "just made them taller". No one has a crystal ball looking decades into the future. Just an observation.

Kno wrote:
jetmech wrote:
Kno wrote:
It’s part of why I find the 787 so ugly.

Interestingly and conversely, the tall, gangly nosegear of the 777 is something I find very ugly, and the one thing that spoils the beauty of the aircraft.

Regards, JetMech


I’ve noticed the 777 has various nose gear heights - the 773ER is sometimes very high and sometimes short, the 772 and OG 773 are always short. Anyone know the reason for this?

773ER
Image

772
Image

Note the difference in height from top of the tire to the gear door. You can also see more extension on the arm on the backside of the gear with the 773ER


One of the reasons is just differing weights. More weight = more oleo compression. The difference between empty and max takeoff weight in a widebody is well over a hundred tons.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 20032
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 6:41 am

Incidentally, the "arm on the backside of the gear" is the torque link (AKA the scissors). It is more extended in the lower pic simply because the gear is more compressed.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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jetmech
Posts: 2378
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:14 am

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 7:04 am

Starlionblue wrote:
One of the reasons is just differing weights. More weight = more oleo compression.

Exactly. The 777 looks great when it is heavy and everything is compressed down. Same as the 747 which to me, looks quite odd when unladen.

Regards, JetMech
JetMech split the back of his pants. He can feel the wind in his hair :shock: .
 
hitower3
Posts: 177
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:55 am

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 8:46 am

Dear all,

The height of the landing gear is - as many other design choices - a compromise.
Advantages of a taller landing gear:
- Higher rotation angle possible
- Higher bank angle possible before risking a wingtip or engine nacelle strike
- Possibility to further stretch the fuselage (e.g. A320 to A321)
- Possibility to hang the engines lower on the wing, making a gap-less flap design possible (e.g. A350)

Advantages of a shorter landing gear:
- Saves weight & manufacturing cost
- Better resistance against shear forces (e.g crab angle on landing) (e.g A400M, ATR, Antonov...)
- Easier loading and servicing of the aircraft (e.g. 737 vs. A320)
- Reduced hangar height

Best regards,
Hendric
 
Noshow
Posts: 1615
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 9:57 am

Good post.
 
Tristarsteve
Posts: 3667
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:04 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 6:03 pm

I’ve noticed the 777 has various nose gear heights - the 773ER is sometimes very high and sometimes short, the 772 and OG 773 are always short. Anyone know the reason for this?


This happens to all aircraft, and depends on the load on the nose gear. If the plane is tail heavy, the leg will be longer.
The actual load on the nose leg at rest is very small. On a BAC 111 it was always possible to lift the nose by putting yr back under it!!
Try and watch the nose leg as the aircraft arrives at the gate. On final braking it will go down then up. Then as the passengers leave by the jetway the front of the plane empties first and the nose will go up and up and up. The jetway will follow. Then as the pax from the back move fwd and off, the nose will go down again. The nose oleo moves a lot as the aircraft is on the gate.
The main oleos also move, as the jet is refueled the oleos will compress. The A330 is noticeable as the main oleos will stay still for ages, then suddenly move with a bang. Must be the A330 upside down oleo that causes it.
So nose heavy aircraft, short nose oleo.
 
United857
Posts: 110
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Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Tue May 19, 2020 7:45 pm

Kno wrote:
jetmech wrote:
Kno wrote:
It’s part of why I find the 787 so ugly.

Interestingly and conversely, the tall, gangly nosegear of the 777 is something I find very ugly, and the one thing that spoils the beauty of the aircraft.

Regards, JetMech


I’ve noticed the 777 has various nose gear heights - the 773ER is sometimes very high and sometimes short, the 772 and OG 773 are always short. Anyone know the reason for this?

773ER
Image

772
Image

Note the difference in height from top of the tire to the gear door. You can also see more extension on the arm on the backside of the gear with the 773ER

The 777-300ER actually has a different nose gear from all the other 777's. It has a dual chamber oleo on the nose gear that allows an additional 25cm extension under light loads. Read here: https://www.flightglobal.com/extendable ... 33.article

Apparently the 777-300ER's semi-levered main gear and higher nitrogen pressure on the main gear oleos means that at light loads the fuselage would angle upwards more than other 777's and cause loading problems due to the aft cargo door being higher than existing loaders could reach. They solved this problem by having a nose gear that extends further at those light weights.
A319 A320 A321 A333 A343 A346 A388 B712 B733 B737 B738 B739 B744 B748 B752 B764 B772 B77L B77W B788 B789 CRJ2 E145 E75S E75L E190 MD88 MD90
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Max Q
Posts: 8430
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Thu May 21, 2020 5:09 am

Starlionblue wrote:
lx2iah wrote:
Hi everyone,

Just looking at some old pics of “olden days” wide-bodies and can’t help noticing how much higher (for example) the D10 and L10’s sat off the ground compared to today’s “modern” twins such as the 787 and 350.

I know the 764 slopes down towards the front and has approx. 18” more height on the gear than a 763, but every time I see a 787, it looks so low (engine clearance) to the ground compared to the 350 - and compared to the D10’s and L10’s of yesteryear.

What made the manufacturers go lower to the ground - especially the 787. This is not a bash B or A topic, just curious to see what everyone thinks.

I did read this topic and thought this might be a good one to discuss -
viewtopic.php?t=771271

Thanks for your input.



The DC-10 actually sits lower than the A350. I suppose due to other proportions, it might seem taller from a distance.

The 787 and the 767 really stand out. Much closer to the ground. But they are also smaller aircraft.

Ground clearance under fuselage, at max weight, in meters. (I've grabbed the minimum figure if possible.)
- DC-10-40 - 2.24
- A300-600 - 1.99
- A330-300 - 2.10
- A350-900- 2.40
- A380-800 - 2.34
- 767-300 - 1.78
- 747-400 - 1.91
- 777-300ER - Can't find data for the bottom of the fuselage. Anecdotally from my colleagues, it sits quite a bit lower than the A330
- 787-8 - 1.68
- L1011 - Can't find data.

Sources:
- Airbus ACAP - https://www.airbus.com/aircraft/support ... stics.html
- Boeing (incl. MD) ACAP - https://www.boeing.com/commercial/airpo ... nuals.page

trnswrld wrote:
I’m no engineer, but just throwing this out there from an average Joe aviation enthusiast...... because they can, and why not? Lower to the ground could have multiple benefits. Shorter landing gear which equate to less weight and room required in the aircraft. On the ground it probably means better and easier servicing.


True. However, "optimising" ground clearance too much might mean closing the door to possible future stretches.

Boeing seems particularly "adept" at this. Due to ground clearance:
- The 707 could not be stretched as much as as the DC-8.
- The 777-300ER requires that clever cantilevering gear at take-off.
- The 737 could not fit the desired engines, leading to a whole host of issues.

Not saying Boeing should have "just made them taller". No one has a crystal ball looking decades into the future. Just an observation.

Kno wrote:
jetmech wrote:
Interestingly and conversely, the tall, gangly nosegear of the 777 is something I find very ugly, and the one thing that spoils the beauty of the aircraft.

Regards, JetMech


I’ve noticed the 777 has various nose gear heights - the 773ER is sometimes very high and sometimes short, the 772 and OG 773 are always short. Anyone know the reason for this?

773ER
Image

772
Image

Note the difference in height from top of the tire to the gear door. You can also see more extension on the arm on the backside of the gear with the 773ER


One of the reasons is just differing weights. More weight = more oleo compression. The difference between empty and max takeoff weight in a widebody is well over a hundred tons.




The 727 had the same issue, it’s short landing gear made the proposed -300 stretch version problematic without major re-engineering of the landing gear


Turned out to be academic as that project was cancelled anyway but even on the 727-200 tail strikes were not uncommon, there wasn’t much clearance


The 767 also had a short landing gear, no issues with clearance on the -200 but the -300 required care and of course the -400 required a complete gear redesign adding 18’ to the height of the MLG, furthermore take off and landing speeds were increased to lower required pitch attitudes and preserve tail clearance


The 747, 757 and 777 all benefited from a tall landing gear in terms of operating clearance and the ability to be stretched later in their development


The gear on the 787 does appear quite short (and detracts from the aircraft’s appearance) but it doesn’t seem to be an issue operationally, the design has been stretched twice and I haven’t read of any issues with tailstrikes
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
Kno
Posts: 550
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Thu May 21, 2020 6:40 am

Starlionblue wrote:
lx2iah wrote:
Hi everyone,

Just looking at some old pics of “olden days” wide-bodies and can’t help noticing how much higher (for example) the D10 and L10’s sat off the ground compared to today’s “modern” twins such as the 787 and 350.

I know the 764 slopes down towards the front and has approx. 18” more height on the gear than a 763, but every time I see a 787, it looks so low (engine clearance) to the ground compared to the 350 - and compared to the D10’s and L10’s of yesteryear.

What made the manufacturers go lower to the ground - especially the 787. This is not a bash B or A topic, just curious to see what everyone thinks.

I did read this topic and thought this might be a good one to discuss -
viewtopic.php?t=771271

Thanks for your input.



The DC-10 actually sits lower than the A350. I suppose due to other proportions, it might seem taller from a distance.

The 787 and the 767 really stand out. Much closer to the ground. But they are also smaller aircraft.

Ground clearance under fuselage, at max weight, in meters. (I've grabbed the minimum figure if possible.)
- DC-10-40 - 2.24
- A300-600 - 1.99
- A330-300 - 2.10
- A350-900- 2.40
- A380-800 - 2.34
- 767-300 - 1.78
- 747-400 - 1.91
- 777-300ER - Can't find data for the bottom of the fuselage. Anecdotally from my colleagues, it sits quite a bit lower than the A330
- 787-8 - 1.68
- L1011 - Can't find data.

Sources:
- Airbus ACAP - https://www.airbus.com/aircraft/support ... stics.html
- Boeing (incl. MD) ACAP - https://www.boeing.com/commercial/airpo ... nuals.page

trnswrld wrote:
I’m no engineer, but just throwing this out there from an average Joe aviation enthusiast...... because they can, and why not? Lower to the ground could have multiple benefits. Shorter landing gear which equate to less weight and room required in the aircraft. On the ground it probably means better and easier servicing.


True. However, "optimising" ground clearance too much might mean closing the door to possible future stretches.

Boeing seems particularly "adept" at this. Due to ground clearance:
- The 707 could not be stretched as much as as the DC-8.
- The 777-300ER requires that clever cantilevering gear at take-off.
- The 737 could not fit the desired engines, leading to a whole host of issues.

Not saying Boeing should have "just made them taller". No one has a crystal ball looking decades into the future. Just an observation.

Kno wrote:
jetmech wrote:
Interestingly and conversely, the tall, gangly nosegear of the 777 is something I find very ugly, and the one thing that spoils the beauty of the aircraft.

Regards, JetMech


I’ve noticed the 777 has various nose gear heights - the 773ER is sometimes very high and sometimes short, the 772 and OG 773 are always short. Anyone know the reason for this?

773ER
Image

772
Image

Note the difference in height from top of the tire to the gear door. You can also see more extension on the arm on the backside of the gear with the 773ER


One of the reasons is just differing weights. More weight = more oleo compression. The difference between empty and max takeoff weight in a widebody is well over a hundred tons.



I find it hard to believe that the a330 sits higher than an 773ER. From a distance the 773ER vs an a330 looks like a lifted truck vs a sedan.... I looked at some closer photos to see if this is an optical illusion and The 773ER looks much taller.

Image

Image

Image

Image
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 20032
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Thu May 21, 2020 7:19 am

Kno wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
lx2iah wrote:
Hi everyone,

Just looking at some old pics of “olden days” wide-bodies and can’t help noticing how much higher (for example) the D10 and L10’s sat off the ground compared to today’s “modern” twins such as the 787 and 350.

I know the 764 slopes down towards the front and has approx. 18” more height on the gear than a 763, but every time I see a 787, it looks so low (engine clearance) to the ground compared to the 350 - and compared to the D10’s and L10’s of yesteryear.

What made the manufacturers go lower to the ground - especially the 787. This is not a bash B or A topic, just curious to see what everyone thinks.

I did read this topic and thought this might be a good one to discuss -
viewtopic.php?t=771271

Thanks for your input.



The DC-10 actually sits lower than the A350. I suppose due to other proportions, it might seem taller from a distance.

The 787 and the 767 really stand out. Much closer to the ground. But they are also smaller aircraft.

Ground clearance under fuselage, at max weight, in meters. (I've grabbed the minimum figure if possible.)
- DC-10-40 - 2.24
- A300-600 - 1.99
- A330-300 - 2.10
- A350-900- 2.40
- A380-800 - 2.34
- 767-300 - 1.78
- 747-400 - 1.91
- 777-300ER - Can't find data for the bottom of the fuselage. Anecdotally from my colleagues, it sits quite a bit lower than the A330
- 787-8 - 1.68
- L1011 - Can't find data.

Sources:
- Airbus ACAP - https://www.airbus.com/aircraft/support ... stics.html
- Boeing (incl. MD) ACAP - https://www.boeing.com/commercial/airpo ... nuals.page

trnswrld wrote:
I’m no engineer, but just throwing this out there from an average Joe aviation enthusiast...... because they can, and why not? Lower to the ground could have multiple benefits. Shorter landing gear which equate to less weight and room required in the aircraft. On the ground it probably means better and easier servicing.


True. However, "optimising" ground clearance too much might mean closing the door to possible future stretches.

Boeing seems particularly "adept" at this. Due to ground clearance:
- The 707 could not be stretched as much as as the DC-8.
- The 777-300ER requires that clever cantilevering gear at take-off.
- The 737 could not fit the desired engines, leading to a whole host of issues.

Not saying Boeing should have "just made them taller". No one has a crystal ball looking decades into the future. Just an observation.

Kno wrote:

I’ve noticed the 777 has various nose gear heights - the 773ER is sometimes very high and sometimes short, the 772 and OG 773 are always short. Anyone know the reason for this?

773ER
Image

772
Image

Note the difference in height from top of the tire to the gear door. You can also see more extension on the arm on the backside of the gear with the 773ER


One of the reasons is just differing weights. More weight = more oleo compression. The difference between empty and max takeoff weight in a widebody is well over a hundred tons.



I find it hard to believe that the a330 sits higher than an 773ER. From a distance the 773ER vs an a330 looks like a lifted truck vs a sedan.... I looked at some closer photos to see if this is an optical illusion and The 773ER looks much taller.

Image

Image

Image

Image


That may be the case, but unfortunately as mentioned ground clearance under the 777 fuselage does not seem to be listed in the ACAP. Without data, it is hard to really know.

The height of the lower sill of the forward cargo hatch to the ground is listed, but there is only a 9cm range between the various 777 models.
- 777-200/200ER/300 - 2.81m
- 777-200LR - 2.79m
- 777-300ER/777F - 2.88m

I guess next time I'm close to a 777 I'll have to wander under it. ;)

You can't really compare photos if you don't know the weights. As mentioned, widebodies vary well over a hundred tonnes between empty and max. The 777 nose gear in your post looks rather uncompressed, indicating low weight.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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zeke
Posts: 15106
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Thu May 21, 2020 10:02 am

The LP air height is in the ACAPS.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
FGITD
Posts: 967
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Fri May 22, 2020 4:39 am

Worked extensively with 777s and 330s, not a chance the 330 (either -200 or -300) sits higher than any variety of 777. My anecdotal evidence being that when crossing under the belly, I've always had to duck under the 330, but even standing upright I can barely reach the Beacon on a 77w. 772 is a bit lower than the 300 in general, but still never seen one lower than a 330
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 20032
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Ground height of today’s wide-bodies

Fri May 22, 2020 5:06 am

FGITD wrote:
Worked extensively with 777s and 330s, not a chance the 330 (either -200 or -300) sits higher than any variety of 777. My anecdotal evidence being that when crossing under the belly, I've always had to duck under the 330, but even standing upright I can barely reach the Beacon on a 77w. 772 is a bit lower than the 300 in general, but still never seen one lower than a 330


I'm relatively short and even I have to duck under the belly of the A330. Much closer to the ground than the front and rear fuselage. Just looking at pictures, I get the impression that there is much more of a downward "bulge" on the A330 compared to the 777 and A350.

zeke wrote:
The LP air height is in the ACAPS.


Thx, I missed that. But they look to be under the belly, so would be lower than the forward fuselage.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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