EVERETT, Wash., Oct. 16, 1997 -- The Boeing
777-300 took to the skies for the first time at 10:27 a.m. PDT today,
embarking on a seven-month flight-test program that is scheduled to end
next May with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.
The 4-hour, 6-minute flight was the first of more
than 1,400 flight-test hours planned for the latest addition to the
Boeing family of commercial jetliners. This first flight comes almost 28
months to the day after the June 26, 1995 launch of the 777-300 program.
"The takeoff felt normal, nothing
unusual," Chief Pilot Frank Santoni radioed moments after the
airplane lifted off from Paine Field in Everett.
After putting the airplane through various
maneuvers, Santoni said the 777-300 is "accomplishing all scheduled
test conditions and is performing great."
During its maiden flight, the 777-300 took off
into clear, sunny skies and reached a maximum altitude of 17,000 feet
(5,100 meters). Decked out in a Boeing paint scheme of red, white and
blue stripes on a polished aluminum fuselage, the airplane headed north
above Puget Sound, passing over the San Juan Islands. Turning west, the
world's longest commercial jetliner soared above the Strait of Juan de
Fuca and out to the Pacific Ocean, west of the snow-crowned Olympic
Mountains. It returned through the strait and a landing at Boeing Field
"I'm proud to be part of this," said
John Cashman, director of Flight Crew Operations and chief pilot for
Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. "It just keeps getting better and
better." Cashman was the lead pilot on the maiden flight of the
777-200 in June 1994.
"The 777 program is a big part of the
company's future," said Ron Ostrowski, vice president and general
manager of the 777 Program, who was on hand to greet the crew when the
airplane landed. "It's an exciting day for all of us. It's great to
see another successful product of working together with our customers
The airplane, powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 892
engines, represents the continuing "working together" approach
the Seattle manufacturer has used to develop the 777 family, with
participation by airline customers, suppliers and engine companies.
Five other 777-300s will be included in the
flight-test program, including two powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4090
engines and one powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4098 engines.
During flight test, the 777-300s will be operated
in extremely hot and cold climates to prove the safety and reliability
of the airplane's systems. Flight times will vary from less than an hour
to extended-range missions lasting nine hours.
This comprehensive testing is part of an effort to
ensure at delivery the 777-300's reliability and service-ready condition
to fly all intended missions, including over-water routes.
Successful completion of the testing program is
expected to lead to FAA certification of Rolls-Royce-powered 777-300s in
May, with delivery of the first customer airplane to Cathay Pacific
Airways scheduled for that same month. Certification of the 777-300s
powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW4090 and PW4098 engines is expected
in June and September 1998, respectively.
The 777-300 is a widebody, medium-to-long-range
twinjet, capable of carrying between 328 and 550 passengers and flying
6,450 statute miles (10,370 kilometers). The airplane rolled out of the
Boeing factory Sept. 8, 1997. To date, eight customers have placed
orders for 52 777-300s. Total 777 announced orders stand at 335.