Boeing has successfully completed the very first test flight of its 777X jet, described as the world’s largest twin-engine plane at 76.72 meters (about 252 feet) long and 71.8 meters (about 235 feet) across.
Based on the popular 777 aircraft, the 777-9 variant of the new aircraft departed Paine Field in Everett, Washington, at just after 10 a.m. local time for a 3 hour, 51-minute test flight over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field about 25 miles to the south.
The successful flight is a welcome ray of light for Boeing as the aerospace giant works to sort out a serious design issue with its Max 737 jet that led to two fatal crashes, the first of which occurred in 2018.
777X test flight
Congratulations to our customers and #777X team on today’s safe and successful flight, the first of many for the 777X as we continue our rigorous test program.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) January 25, 2020
Saturday’s flight was piloted by specialist pilots Van Chaney and Craig Bomben, who worked their way through a detailed test plan to put the 777X through its paces while a ground-based team in Seattle monitored the incoming data in real-time.
“Our Boeing team has taken the most successful twin-aisle jet of all time and made it even more efficient, more capable, and more comfortable for all,” Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a release following the aircraft’s debut outing. “Today’s safe first flight of the 777X is a tribute to the years of hard work and dedication from our teammates, our suppliers and our community partners in Washington state and across the globe.”
Besides its large size, the aircraft is also notable for its efficiency due to its ability to deliver 10% lower fuel use and emissions and 10% lower operating costs than the competition due to its “advanced aerodynamics, the latest generation carbon-fiber composite wing, and the most advanced commercial engine ever built — GE Aviation’s GE9X,” Boeing said. Additionally, a specially designed wing enables it to fold up at the end while on the ground, taking about 20 feet off the span to make it suitable for all of the airports that handle existing models of the 777.
In a typical two-class configuration, the 777-9 variant of the 777X will be able to carry 426 passengers who’ll experience a wide, spacious cabin, larger windows, and large overhead luggage bins. Boeing said the aircraft also offers improved cabin altitude and humidity, less noise, and a smoother ride than previous models.
Boeing has already received more than 300 orders for the aircraft from carriers around the world, among them British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines.
Boeing has four 777X test airplanes ready to take to the skies for further evaluation as the Chicago-based company readies the aircraft for commercial service, probably in 2021.
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