Delta 777-232LR N706DN Gemini Jets GLDAL1401 2014

Still waiting for this months deliveries! I really wanted the Delta A333HGW but the truly awful mould issue with the “I surrender” wings was just too much to live with. It looked truly ridiculous at RLSI on stand and it went back. Now Delta isn’t the big deal this side of the Atlantic that it is on the US side and that means that when Gemini models get distributed they tend to hang around a while longer over here.

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My very helpful retailer swapped the A333 for the 777, an altogether more acceptable model it has to be said, though to be honest the 772 is my least favorite modern airliner. You can pick your jaw up, I know there are fans, but it’s just so bland, and yes I know it’s amazing to many, and a workhorse and so on and on. No objections to it as a freighter though! I just prefer the 773.

This is one of Delta’s 18 772’s of which 9 are LR’s and the other 9 ER’s. There are some very interesting technical differences, but you can find those out elsewhere. The LR with more fuel and more powerful engines is the base for the 777F.

N706DN was delivered in March 2009 and is fitted with 45 Delta One (a lie flat business class), 36 Delta Comfort (a sort of economy plus, but not a Premium Economy type offering or anything like it), and 188 economy.

In some ways, bearing in mind these are virtually Delta’s flagship aircraft, while they are pretty good interiors as far US Airlines go in general, they aren’t a patch on many high-end European, and not even close to the ME3 in Business class. In fact the Delta economy seat is very basic compared to most. I had to swap to Delta One on a trip back from LAX recently and I won’t be doing that again in a hurry. Give me Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, even BA at a stretch, any day. I should mention that Delta is upgrading its old Business First offering to Delta One across the fleet.

So what of the model?

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1)Fuselage

There are few issues, and what there are mostly only visible on close up and therefore pass the eyeball test. Most of it is about definition, and as was not untypical in 2014, a lack of paint on the aerials. Everything is neat and tidy, no terrible blurs, mistakes of disasters, it’s all pristine. they’ve gone for print-on dome lines on this model, which is one of those easy get-out passes. However when you look at the state of the domes they do use, and rarely do they ever look one hundred percent, maybe this is something to be grateful for. It would be better if they were moulded in of course.

2)Wings and landing gear

Cradle mould wings of course, but unlike the aberrant 787 family, it fits as well as you could ever hope. Tight fit, no gaps, but the downside is there is a little bit of a mish-mash round the back end of the join; mostly paint and definition, though again, it passes the eyeball test with ease.

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Being an LR with the advanced wings and all the aerodynamic benefits they bring, they look modern, clean and well detailed. Paint isn’t excessive and overall it leaves a good impression.

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The landing gear is a bit of a hit and miss affair, much improved since 2014. These are wheels with tyres on metal gear and they look reasonably good. However, the finish on some of the tyres and some of the wheels is not the best and sadly, doesn’t pass they eyeball test. Two of the tyres have huge lumps that need trimming off and two of the wheels have holes in the centers.

3)Engines

Beautifully done. You know how much they grab my eye and these are huge GE units; less than perfect looks horrible and there’s nothing wrong with these from any perspective. Even the fan/rim paint (why is the fan paint the same as the rims?) is neat, tidy, well applied and a really good colour, not that hideous toy-like silver.

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4)Nose detail

No issues for me, it’s all there, clean and precise.

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5)Tail detail

Now we can argue this one, but I think the red on the tail just isn’t quite doing what it should. The dark blue below seems to have tainted it somehow and I just don’t think it quite works. In fact having just compared it to the Delta 767-300W from last year (N195DN), it’s too dark and not vivid enough, especially the top ‘solid’ part of the logo.

Otherwise everything is pretty much as it should be and vert neatly assembled.

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6)Colours

Other than the tail red, no issues.

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7)Score and conclusions

The tail color is -6, -4 for some of the very minor issues above but a -4 for the landing gear overall. 86% isn’t at all bad and many of the issues on this model have been dealt with during 2015. No more Delta’s will join RLSI until the A350 in 2018, unless of course they correct that A330 wing mould issue.

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