AMERICA: Boeing’s brand-new 777F takes to the skies

Boeing’s first 777 freighter flew for the first time last month and “performed well” during a 3.5 hour test flight. “The only issue was a data-communication problem between the airplane and the telemetry room at Boeing Field,” VP-Flight Operations, Test & Validation Dennis O’Donoghue said. The problem prevented the aircraft from completing all first-flight tests […]


Boeing’s first 777 freighter flew for the first time last month and “performed well” during a 3.5 hour test flight. “The only issue was a data-communication problem between the airplane and the telemetry room at Boeing Field,” VP-Flight Operations, Test & Validation Dennis O’Donoghue said.

The problem prevented the aircraft from completing all first-flight tests and forced it to land at Paine Field rather than Boeing Field. The flight test programme will involve two aircraft, the second of which will sport Air France’s livery, which will prove the airplane’s safety, reliability and service-ready condition during approximately 270 flight hours and more than 450 ground test hours.

Boeing’s plan is to earn certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Europe’s Joint Aviation Authority during the fourth quarter and deliver to launch customer Air France shortly there after, in the fourth quarter.The test flight coincidentally fell on France’s national holiday, Bastille Day.

During the test flight, 777 Chief Pilot Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann and 777 Deputy Chief Pilot Van Chaney took the airplane to an altitude of 18,000 feet (5,486 meters) and an air speed of 270 knots, or about 311 miles (500 kilometres) per hour, customary on a firstflight. Typically, the 777s cruise altitude is 35,000 (10,668 meters), and its cruise speed is Mach 0.84, about 484 miles (779 kilometres) per hour.

“This is the moment that thousands of Boeing employees have worked towards in the design, build and test of the 777 Freighter. The airplane handled perfectly,”said Darcy-Hennemann after the flight ended. “Being at the controls of a commercial airplane on its maiden flight is arare and unique opportunity and it was a great day.”

The 777 Freighter, the sixth member of the 777 airplane family, will be capable of flying 4,885 nautical miles (9,047 km)with a full payload, making it the world’s longest-range twin-engine freighter. The airplane’s range capability will translate into significant savings for cargo operators: fewer stops and associated landing feeds, less congestion at transfer hubs, lower cargo handling costs and shorter cargo delivery times, according to Boeing.To date, Boeing has secured 78 firmorders from 11 customers for the 777 Freighter.