Boeing developed its Model 767 as a wide-body, twin-engined follow-up to its Model 747 wide-body, four-engined "Jumbo Jet". Work began in the mid-1970s as the 747 had already taken root in the airliner market. The new long-range-minded type was designed to compete directly with Lockheed's L-1011 TriStar and McDonnell Douglas' DC-10 series models. Boeing partnered with Aeritalia of Italy and CTDC of Japan in what become its first international joint-venture project.
What emerged as a successful wide-body entry which first flew in prototype form on September 26th, 1981. It was officially introduced with launch carrier United Airlines (UA) on September 8th, 1982 and production has since netted over 1,100 examples and units are still be produced today. The Model 767 also forms the basis of several military-minded products: the E-767 AWACs platform, the KC-46 air tanker, the KC-767 air tanker and the E-10 AWACS platform.
The 767 takes on a conventional design arrangement as passenger-haulers go: it features a short nosecone with the flight deck / cockpit set directly over it offering good views of the action ahead. The passenger section is at midships, running most of the length of the fuselage. The tail unit has a single vertical fin with low-set horizontal planes seated to either side of the aft-fuselage. The wing mainplanes are swept rearwards and each holds an underslung engine nacelle. The undercarriage is built for heavy-duty service with each leg given multiple wheeled bogies in its tricycle arrangement.
The launch model delivered to United Airlines was the 767-200 and this was followed into service by the commercial freighter 767-2C mark. The 767-200ER emerged as an "Extended Range" model (hence its designation) and appeared in 1984 with an increased MTOW and range, the latter thanks to the addition of a new fuel store. The 767-300 featured an extended fuselage which allowed for more passenger seating and first appeared in 1986 - becoming the definitive 767 body variant. Its freighter form was the 767-300F and this product arrived in 1995. The 767-400ER, another Extended Range form, followed and featured a stretched fuselage along with wider-spanning wings.
Internally, the aircraft series has been evolved with the times from its original early-1980s form. While the original cockpit design included CRT displays, the follow-up cockpit redesign added six large LCD monitors and simplified the instrument panel for the two crewmen. Still more work was had in the cockpit and this has resulted in the six LCD displays being combined to just three with further simplification of the instrument panel had. The Model 767 can be arranged in a 1-, 2- or 3-class passenger seating configuration which directly dictates total seating available.
Power is served through either Pratt & Whitney, General Electric or Rolls-Royce turbofan engines depending on the model. At least 1,200 Model 767 aircraft have been committed to date (2017) and over 1,100 delivered (2017) to various local and global customers. In 2017 there were 15 ordered and 7 delivered - a far cry from the 100 ordered in 1989 and the 63 delivered in 1992.
The Model 767 is operated by a myriad of global owners and as many as 740 remain in air-worthy service today over Africa, Asia, North America, the Pacific, Europe and South America. These are operated through civilian, governmental and military owners showcasing the inherent versatility of this Boeing product.