Engineers at Boeing have started flight testing the second 777X airplane.
Piloted by Captain Ted Grady, 777X project pilot and Captain Van Chaney, 777/777X chief pilot, the first flight was conducted on April 30 and lasted almost three hours over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field.
Designated WH002, the airplane is the second of four in a dedicated flight test fleet and will test handling characteristics and other aspects of airplane performance.
According to Boeing “an array of equipment, sensors and monitoring devices throughout the cabin allows the onboard team to document and evaluate the airplane’s response to test conditions in real time”.
The 777X test plan consists of a series of tests and conditions on the ground and in the air to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the design.
To date, crews have flown the first airplane for nearly 100 hours at a variety of flap settings, speeds, altitudes and system settings as part of the initial evaluation of the flight envelope. With initial airworthiness now demonstrated, the team can safely add personnel to monitor testing onboard instead of relying solely on a ground-based telemetry station, unlocking testing at greater distances.
The 777X includes the 777-8 and the 777-9, the newest members of Boeing’s market-leading widebody family. The development program for the 777X launched in 2013. Ground testing of the aircraft started last year, the first flight took place in January this year, with first delivery expected next year.