767 is a twin-engine widebody
aircraft used on transcontinental and transatlantic routes, as well as a few transpacific routes. It was designed to replace three-engined widebodies such as the Lockheed Tristar
and McDonnell Douglas DC-10
. Today, its main competitors are the Airbus A300
and Airbus A330
United Airlines was the 767's launch customer, ordering thirty in 1978. The first production 767 was test-flown in September of 1981 and entered airline service in September of 1982. (The prototype ended its life as the Airborne Surveillance Testbed for the United States Air Force.)
The 767 was designed in parallel with the narrowbody Boeing 757, and the two aircraft share almost identical avionics, wings, and tailplanes. Flight crews can be cross-trained from one to the other very quickly, as they share a common type rating: this makes both aircraft cheaper to operate for large airlines, as well as cheaper to design for Boeing.
In 1983, Japan Airlines ordered a lengthened version of the 767, the 767-300, which was delivered in September of 1986. In 1997, Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines ordered an even bigger 767, the 767-400, which entered service in September of 2000.
Fatal Hull-Loss Incidents
The 767 is a remarkably safe aircraft: no accidents to date have been caused by flaws in the airframe itself. So far, six 767's carrying passengers have been totalled for various reasons...
- Lauda Air flight 004 crashed after takeoff from Bangkok on May 26, 1991. The cause of the crash was an in-flight deployment of the left thrust reverser, which caused the aircraft to stall. After the accident, the electric systems on all 767's equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines were modified to help prevent a repeat of the disaster.
- Ethiopian Airlines flight 961 was hijacked and crashed off the shore of Comoros on November 23, 1996.
- EgyptAir flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off of Nantucket on October 31, 1999, apparently due to deliberate actions by the pilot (although the Egyptian government contests this claim).
- American Airlines flight 11 was hijacked and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001.
- United Airlines flight 175 was hijacked and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM on September 11, 2001.
- Air China flight 129 struck a mountain after veering off course during an approach to Busan, Korea on April 15, 2002.
- 767-200: The first model of the 767.
- 767-200ER: An extended-range variant first delivered to El Al in 1984. It became the first 767 to complete a nonstop transatlantic journey, and broke the flying distance record for twinjet airliners several times.
- 767-300: A lengthened -200.
- 767-300ER: An extended-range variant of the -300. In 1995, EVA Air used a 767-300ER to inaugurate the first transpacific 767 service.
- 767-300F: A highly-automated air freight version of the 767-300ER, ordered by UPS in 1993 and delivered in 1995.
- 767-400ER: Another extended long-range variant. Its most distinguishing features are its pointy "raked" wingtips, which increase fuel efficiency and reduce its operating costs relative to the A330.
- E-767: AWACS platform used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces.
- KC-767: Aerial refueling platform currently used by the Italian Air Force and JSDF. The Royal Air Force and United States Air Force have also expressed interest in the aircraft (the Pentagon attempted to lease some, although this deal has been extensively questioned).
- Length: 48 m (-200), 55 m (-300), 62 m (-400)
- Wingspan: 48 m (-200, -300), 52 m (-400)
- Passengers in three-class configuration (2-1-2 first, 2-2-2 business, 2-3-2 coach): 181 (-200), 218 (-300), 245 (-400)
- Passengers in two-class configuration (2-1-2 first, 2-3-2 coach): 255 (-200), 351 (-300), 375 (-400)
- Operating range: 9,400 to 12,200 km, depending on model (the -200ER flies farthest)
- Cruising speed: Mach 0.8
- Delta Air Lines (116)
- American Airlines (87)
- All Nippon Airways (58)
- United Airlines (54)
- Air Canada (50)
- United Parcel Service (32)
- Japan Airlines (31, including Japan Asia Airways)
- Continental Airlines (30)
- British Airways (25)
- Airborne Express (23)
- Hawaiian Airlines (16)
- Air New Zealand (13)
- Alitalia (12)
Air China (12)
- US Airways (11)