Boeing's new long-haul, the 777X, took off on Saturday January 25 at 10:10 a.m. (7:10 p.m. in Paris) for its inaugural flight from Paine Airfield to Everett in the northwest of the United States. Shortly before, the pilots had deployed the tips of the wings – the "winglets" – characteristic of this aircraft. These folding tips allow you to improve the lift in flight but fold up when the aircraft is on the ground to be able to serve a maximum of airports. The 777X landed around 2 p.m. (11 p.m. in Paris).
This inaugural flight, which lasted almost 4 hours, marks the start of a whole series of flight tests leading to the certification of the aircraft. Boeing was forced to postpone this flight Thursday and Friday due to the weather and especially the wind.
This flight “Is a demonstration to the world that we know what we are doing. We know how to build safe planes and give confidence to the public ”, said director of the sales division, Stan Deal.
The 777X, which can carry 384 to 426 passengers, has an order book of 340 units, mainly from seven major airlines, including Emirates, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. It is supposed to compete with the A350 from the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus.
A delayed schedule
The first deliveries are not expected before "Early 2021", instead of mid-2020 as originally planned, as the test flight period is expected to be extended and the approval procedure deepened. This plane indeed encountered major problems during pressurization tests last September.
The 777X is supposed to consolidate the domination of Boeing over Airbus in the long-haul, position weakened by the imminent reduction in production rates of the 787 "Dreamliner"due to lack of firm orders from China.