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Boeing 777x Scheduled for First Test Flight, by Travel Radar Correspondent Ankur Deo

Some positive news for Boeing finally – the long awaited first flight of the Boeing 777x is expected this week, somewhere around Thursday (January 23, 2020) or Friday (January 24, 2020). The first ever test flight is scheduled at Boeing’s commercial Headquarters just outside of Seattle and shall only be rescheduled to a later date if weather conditions deteriorate. However, if the weather holds up, we could be seeing the long-awaited flight of this groundbreaking aircraft before the weekend!

These reports come right after the first 777x was spotted outside the paint shop. The aircraft, registered WH001, is scheduled for taxi testing today (January 21, 2020) at Boeing’s Everett facility.

The first variant of the 777x to be released shall be the 777-9. Later, this will be followed by the smaller, long-range 777-8. The 777-9 has sold exceptionally well, with a whopping 309 orders in its favour. The bespoke designed GE9X engines, which are to be installed on these aircraft, are the largest engines ever to be mounted on a commercial jet. Promising 5% lower fuel burn and 29% fewer emissions than the leading competitor aircraft, the Boeing 777x guarantees a comfortable ride with a much smaller carbon footprint. Much of all the innovations that Boeing did for the sake of the Dreamliner are incorporated in the 777x’s design. The larger windows, efficient aerodynamics, higher humidity and improved pressurisation are just few of the gimmicks that Boeing has pulled on this one.

According to Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman:

‘THURSDAY’S FLIGHT SIGNALS THE START OF THE NEXT PHASE OF ITS RIGOROUS TEST PROGRAM’

The WH001 is the first fully airworthy 777x that Boeing shall be using henceforth for all of its testing. The aircraft left the paint shop on January 7, 2020, and was moved for primary flight control system testing, ahead of the first flight due this week.

Image Credits: airlineratings.com

Not everything went as per plan with the 777x – problems with the newly designed GE9X engines did not allow the aircraft to take to the skies in 2019, when it was first scheduled. Then, the test fuselage was ripped apart during pressure trials, which created another hurdle in speedy development of the program. To cap it all, one of the replacement engines was damaged on delivery.

The Boeing 777x was unveiled by Boeing in April 2019. Image Credits: SimpleFlying

Furthermore, it is not yet clear how the shortcomings detected in the MAX development would affect its future aircraft programs. You can read more about the parallels between the Boeing 737MAX and the 777x programs here. After the 737MAX debacle, the 777x is much like gleaming ray of hope for Boeing to get everything straight. As the 777x unfolds its wings (quite literally!), we shall be watching closely about how this test flight progresses. A success this week would very well lift the morale of the beleaguered manufacturer!

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