Boeing’s First 777X Departs On Maiden Flight

The Boeing 777X has successfully taken off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington. Boeing’s newest widebody comes with folding wingtips and incredibly powerful engines. The sound of the GE9X powering up for takeoff is one that is sure to be a delight.

Boeing, 777X, first flight
The Boeing 777X has taken off! Photo: Boeing

Simple Flying visited Seattle for the first flight of the 777X. Here are all the details:

The first flight takeoff

Yesterday, at 10:27 the 777X geared up for takeoff out of Paine Field. Seattle’s weather eventually cooperated with the takeoff after the flight was previously postponed due to thunderstorms. After a magnificent taxi, the behemoth held short of runway 34L.

The crowds cheered as the folding wingtips lowered, and everyone thought it was time to wave off the huge aircraft. However, at that very moment, the heavens opened and the wind picked up immensely. Due to the conditions, and Boeing wanting to ensure absolute safety for this first flight, so the 777X held at the end of the runway for what seemed like an age, waiting for the weather to improve.

Boeing 777X
The aircraft taxied to the runway yesterday. Photo: Simple Flying

Third time lucky

Finally, at long last, today it did! At 10:09 local time the 777X shot to the sky for its maiden flight. The aircraft was piloted by both Boeing’s chief pilot in addition to the Boeing 777X’s chief test pilot.

Boeing’s 777X is the next generation of the Boeing 777. Previously hampered by delays, this first flight for Boeing comes at the start of a year in which the American manufacturing giant hopes it can turn itself around.

What’s next?

The aircraft will remain in the skies for a few hours while test pilots examine the aircraft’s basic handling. Boeing estimates that should everything go to plan, the aircraft’s first flight will last for approximately five hours.

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The Boeing 777X had to abandon its first flight yesterday due to the weather. Photo: Boeing

While the aircraft departed from Paine field, it won’t be returning there just yet. Instead, the aircraft will land 25 miles further south at Boeing Field. This lies on the other side of Seattle. Following the aircraft’s arrival, Boeing will hold a ceremony to mark the momentous occasion. The aircraft will then begin its journey to flight certification.

What’s special about the 777X?

The Boeing 777X is the latest iteration of Boeing’s hugely successful 777 family. Arguably the aircraft’s coolest feature, at least from an aviation enthusiast’s perspective, is the folding wingtips that the aircraft is fitted with. These fold up at airports to cut the aircraft’s wingspan. They then fold back down before takeoff to restore the increased wingspan.

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The aircraft has folding wing-tips to save space on the ground. Photo: Boeing

As of the 31st of December 2019, 309 orders for the Boeing 777X have been received. According to the manufacturer, the customer with the most orders is currently Emirates. The UAE flag carrier has 115 aircraft on order. Other orders for the 777X are as follows:

  • Qatar Airways has 60 of the aircraft on order;
  • Etihad has 25 Boeing 777Xs on order;
  • Cathay Pacific has 21 firm orders;
  • All Nippon Airways is expecting 20 aircraft;
  • Singapore Airlines also has 20 firm orders;
  • British Airways is expecting 18 Boeing 777Xs, with further options.
Boeing 777x, First Flight, Lufthansa
Lufthansa’s first Boeing 777-9 has already taken shape. Photo: Rolf Bewersdorf via Lufthansa

Additionally, Lufthansa has 20 of the aircraft on order. While not the biggest customer by any means, the German flag carrier is the launch customer for the aircraft. The airline’s first 777X aircraft have already seen their fuselage put together in Seattle.

Did you witness the first flight of the Boeing 777X? Are you hoping to fly on the aircraft once certified and in service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!