The first Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner, the world's longest range commercial
airplane, today completed its first flight and began a test program that will
lead to its first delivery in January 2006.
The newest 777 took off from Everett, Wash., Paine Field at 10 a.m. local
time. After approximately three hours, it landed at 1:02 p.m. at Seattle's
Capts. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann and Frank Santoni flew the airplane, which
carries the distinctive new blue Boeing livery. Darcy-Hennemann is the 777-
200LR project pilot and Santoni is the chief 777 program pilot for Boeing
"The 777-200LR's ability to connect the world is amazing," Darcy-Hennemann
said. "Flying the first flight is an honor and a rare opportunity."
The 777-200LR, capable of connecting virtually any two cities in the world
nonstop, is the fifth 777 model. It can carry 301 passengers up to 9,420
nautical miles (17,445 kilometers).
During today's flight, Darcy-Hennemann and Santoni took the airplane to an
altitude of 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) and an air speed of 270 knots, or about
310 miles (500 kilometers) per hour, customary on a first flight. Typically,
the 777's cruise altitude is 35,000 feet (10,668 meters), and its cruise speed
is Mach 0.84, about 484 miles (779 kilometers) per hour.
Darcy-Hennemann and Santoni tested some of the airplane's systems and
structures, as on-board equipment recorded and transmitted real-time data to a
flight-test team at Boeing Field.
The flight-test program will involve the airplane flown today and a second
one that's being built. Those will prove the airplane's safety, reliability
and service-ready condition during 500 flight hours and 300 ground test hours.
"We expect the 777-200LR to perform splendidly during flight test," said
Lars Andersen, vice president -- program manager, 777 program, Boeing
Commercial Airplanes. "This airplane will carry 20 more passengers, offer 12
percent more revenue cargo volume, consume 25 percent less fuel per seat, and
fly 600 nautical miles farther than the competition, the A340-500."
Certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Europe's
Joint Aviation Authority is expected during the fourth quarter. The first 777-
200LR Worldliner is to be delivered to Pakistan International Airlines. EVA
Airways is also a launch customer.
Both the 777-200LR and 777-300ER (Extended Range) were launched in
February 2002 by Boeing and GE Aircraft Engines at the request of airlines
that wanted an airplane with additional flexibility to serve the nonstop
routes passengers demand.
GE Aircraft Engines makes the 777-200LR Worldliner's engines.
The 777 family has captured over 60 percent of the market since the
airplane's October 1990 launch. More than 38 customers worldwide have ordered
more than 680 777s, including 112 Longer-Range 777s (777-300ERs and 777-
200LRs). So far, two customers have ordered five 777-200LRs.