Boeing’s fourth 777X demonstrator has now been spotted in Seattle. Earlier in August, we saw the manufacturer’s third test aircraft take to the skies for testing ahead of its eventual delivery to German flag carrier Lufthansa.
In 2019 the Boeing 777X program seemed to be dragging its heels. The aircraft was due to make an appearance at the June 2019 Paris Air Show. Unfortunately, due to issues with engines and other elements, it didn’t even take its first flight until earlier this year. Despite those early delays, it seems as though progress with the aircraft is now gathering pace, with the fourth aircraft almost ready to take to the skies.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
The four test aircraft
The Boeing 777X has been undertaking a thorough process of flight testing. This started with N779XW, which took its first flight on January 25th. N779XX took its first flight on May 7th, while N779XY took its first flight just last week.
The aircraft are being put through their paces both on the ground and in the sky. This includes testing the aircraft’s flight envelope, cold and hot weather testing, and other things such as what happens during a tail strike and how does the aircraft behave when taking off from a wet runway.
In total, each airframe has completed the following number of flights:
- N779XW – 70 flights
- N779XX – 43 flights
- N779XY – One flight
- N779XZ – Zero flights
Now, N777XZ is seemingly preparing for its first flight. The aircraft was spotted by @mattcawby on Twitter resting its wings at the Everett fuel dock in front of a Qantas aircraft. Although, it does seem as though this 777X still has a small patch of plastic covering the top of its tail, so it may be a little time before it takes off.
WH004 777-9 N779XZ at the Everett fuel dock pic.twitter.com/fvJ3eQ3pQX
— Paine Airport (@mattcawby) August 11, 2020
Unlike the first two Boeing 777Xs used for testing, these second two aircraft are destined to enter service as passenger aircraft. Rather than donning the full blue wave Boeing livery, they instead wear a mainly white design.
There is currently no word on when N779XZ will take its first flight. However, according to Boeing’s test flight plan, it will be used to test the environmental control system, extended twin-engine operations, noise and general functionality and reliability.
When will the first Boeing 777X be delivered?
The first Boeing 777X was due to be delivered to Lufthansa later this year. As mentioned earlier, the program has experienced delays. Nevertheless, things are moving forward steadily.
Boeing now expects that the first deliveries of the 777X program won’t take place until 2022. We know that Emirates and Lufthansa, who are planning to take delivery of early 777Xs, won’t receive their aircraft until 2022. However, airlines that were expecting their first deliveries later, such as British Airways, are yet to confirm if they will still take their first aircraft as expected.
Have you seen Boeing’s 777X test fleet? Let us know what you thought in the comments.