Boeing is continuing to test the 777X as it moves toward the long-awaited first delivery. After months of delays, the 777X has now successfully completed its second test flight.
The second test flight for the 777X
On January 29th, the 777X took off just after half-past nine Seattle-time or just after 17:30 UTC. According to data from Flightradar24, the flight was in the air for just under 4 hours and 45 minutes. The flight took off from Boeing Field and headed east. As the aircraft headed eastwards over Spokane and into Idaho airspace, the 777X made a few turns and maneuvers. This was likely to allow Boeing to conduct some flight tests on the aircraft. After a few hours in the air, the 777X turned back towards Seattle and landed safely at Boeing Field.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) January 29, 2020
For most of the flight, the 777X maintained an altitude of just over 19,000 feet. This is far lower than what most commercial airplanes fly at for long-distances. However, this altitude was likely chosen so that the flight test would not interfere with commercial aircraft operations.
— Louisa Gaylord (@Louisa_Gaylord) January 29, 2020
Boeing’s 777X has had a few hiccups getting off the ground. Issues with the massive and powerful GE9X engines delayed the first flight of the aircraft. (Fun fact, the diameter of the GE9X opening is larger than the diameter of the 737 MAX’s fuselage!). Boeing initially anticipated the first flight to occur in mid-2019.
Then, Boeing’s 777X faced an unexpected event during structural testing. It turns out that, during stress testing, the 777X’s fuselage ripped apart. This forced Boeing to further go back and make some modifications to the 777X.
Finally, in January of 2020, the date for the first flight of the 777-9 came. However, that first flight was delayed by a day due to weather. Then, high tailwinds forced the 777X first flight to once again be pushed. Finally, on Saturday, January 25th, 2020, the Boeing 777-9 made its maiden flight.
Boeing makes progress on the 777X
Now, with this second test flight under Boeing’s belt, the aircraft manufacturer has to continue to rigorously test the aircraft. After the 737 MAX crisis, regulators will likely take a longer and harder look at the 777X. Not to mention, Boeing needs to continue to work toward restoring public and industry confidence in its aircraft. The 777X could be the clean start that Boeing needs ahead of several ambitious projects.
Airlines now largely expect the 777X to enter passenger service in 2021. Since 2019, both Emirates and Lufthansa have prepared for this delay and are taking it into account when it comes to each airline’s respective fleet strategy.
Boeing’s second 777X test flight went well and bodes well for the aircraft manufacturer. For now, Boeing needs to continue to make progress on the certification for this aircraft ahead of passenger service. And, perhaps, log a few more orders now that the 777X has made its maiden flight.
Are you excited to fly on the 777X? Let us know in the comments!