Boeing has successfully completed the first test flight of its new 777X, the worlds largest twin-engined plane.
The 777X took off at Paine Field in Everett, Washington for a three hour, 51-minute flight over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field, two earlier attempts were called off due to high winds.
The first of four dedicated 777-9 flight test aeroplanes, WH001 will now undergo checks before resuming testing in the coming days. The test fleet, which began ground testing in Everett last year, will endure a comprehensive series of tests and conditions on the ground and in the air over the coming months to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the design.
The Federal Aviation Administration has said that rigorous testing will be conducted before the plane is allowed to carry passengers, while Sir Tim Clarke President of Emirates, has said the plane should be put through “hell on Earth” to ensure it is safe and performs properly.
We took the time to get the aeroplane ready for flight test so I think we are going to march through flight tests successfully and quickly and get it certified to the FAA standards.
Boeing’s chief test pilot Craig Bomben
The 252-foot-long passenger plane will deliver 10 per cent lower fuel use and emissions and 10 per cent lower operating costs than the competition thanks to advanced aerodynamics, the latest generation carbon-fibre composite wing and the most advanced commercial engine ever built, GE Aviation’s GE9X.
In December 2014, Boeing began construction on the composites facility in St. Louis to build 777X parts with six autoclaves for the wing and empennage parts, starting in 2017. The 787 ‘surge’ line at the Everett factory would be converted into a 777X early production line by the end of 2015. Boeing then created a new building next door to the Everett factory, with a 120 ft (37 m) autoclave, and a robot to wind fibre for the wings.
The company says it has sold 340 of the plane, worth more than $442 million each and will go into service next year with a number of carriers including British Airways and Emirates.