Inside the Workshop You Need to Build the World's Largest Composite Wings

This gantry system will support robotic heads that will build the carbon fiber wings. (Images: AP)

Boeing is busy developing its next ultra-efficient commercial jetliner, the 777x, and one of its biggest features—quite literally—are its wings. This amazing facility is where they’ll be made.

The company opens the doors of its Boeing 777X Composite Wing Center in Everett, Washington, this week, and what a place it is. The facility is geared up to to manufacture the world’s largest composite wings for the forthcoming airplane.


The wings of the 777x are notable because they’re so damn long. The airplane will feature longer wings than most airplanes to improve its aerodynamics: The drag created at the wing tips is reduced by increasing the aspect ratio between length and depth of the wing, allowing it to be more efficient.

Only problem is that the wings will need to be so big—114 feet long and 23 feet wide—that they will in fact have to fold so that they can squeeze through to airport gates. Hence this cutting-edge facility.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new 1 million square foot center is very close to where the entire airplane will ultimately be assembled.

The new facility covers 1 million square feet.
These massive autoclaves will bake the carbon fiber wings with super-heated pressure.
Huge curtains are used to stop dust from moving between sections of the facility.
This gantry system will support robotic heads that will build the carbon fiber wings.

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About the author

Jamie Condliffe

Contributing Editor at Gizmodo. An ex-engineer writing about science and technology.