Seattle, Washington - Boeing’s long-awaited new-generation widebody jet took to the skies for the first time on Jan 25.
The flight had been originally scheduled to take place on January 23rd, but it was delayed due to poor weather conditions in Washington.
Consequently, Boeing then decided to conduct the flight on January 24 as the aircraft waited on the runway for nearly three hours while waiting for the strong winds of 18 knots to decrease its severity.
For an aircraft under the certification process, the wind must be below 10 knots. As a result, the manufacturer delayed the flight one more day.
On January 24, the weather conditions in Seattle finally let the aircraft took off from Everett for the first time. The flight of Boeing's groundbreaking jet is also a remarkable step to boost the manufacturer's image after two 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people.
On Jan 25, the 777-9 took off at 9:08 a.m. local time and climbed to 14,000 feet. It then turned back east where it entered looping patterns over Washington state.
Boeing was supposed to officially introduce the 252-foot-long jet at the Paris Air Show but it has been delayed due to some technical problems discovered in the engines. General Electric's GE9X turbine is the largest engine ever built for a commercial airplane.
The second setback occurred last year in September. Boeing had to suspend testing of the aircraft because of the cargo door explosion during the final loading testing on the ground.
The 777X has so far accumulated 300 orders from major airline operators around the world. Emirates and Lufthansa are expected to become the launch operators of the aircraft.
Emirates is the largest customer with 115 units. It is followed by Qatar Airways (60 copies) and British Airways (42 copies).
Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, All Nippon Airlines and Singapore Airlines have ordered 20 aircraft in total.
The 777X is designed to accommodate up to 425 passengers. Its flight range of 7,600 nautical miles covers most long-haul routes in the world.
It is the latest widebody jet of the Boeing 777 family. The 777X features new GE9X engines, new composite wings with folding wingtips, larger cabin width, and more seating capacity.
First commercial plane with foldable wings
Its wing structure makes the 777X unique. It is based on the 787 wings but with less sweep and has a higher lift-to-drag ratio. Aircraft's 11 feet (3 m.) are foldable to move and park the aircraft on the ground safely.
As existing civil aviation safety regulations do not cover the folding wingtips, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued special conditions, including proving their load-carrying limits, demonstrating their handling qualities in a crosswind when raised, alerting the crew when they are not correctly positioned.