2011 – The Year in Review: First flights

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Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

All Nippon Airways' (ANA) first Boeing 787 took off from Tokyo's Narita airport on its inaugural flight.

The special charter service departed from Narita at about 12:40 local time on 26 October and was scheduled to land at Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong at 15:50 local time.

The aircraft, Boeing's Airplane Eight, with the registration number JA801A, carried 240 passengers - members of the media and paying passengers.

ANA auctioned seats to the passengers for the inaugural flight. The aircraft has 264 seats – 12 in business and 252 in economy class. Continue reading...

Related content: FlightBlogger: Travel Day: NRT-HKG - World's First 787 Flight

All you need to know about the 787 Dreamliner 

 

The first two Galileo navigation satellites took orbit after the 21 October launch.

The satellites, launched from Kourou, by a Russian Soyuz rocket, were vanguards of a planned 30-strong constellation, intended to lessen European dependence on GPS. The 21 October launch was the first Soyuz launch from Kourou. Continue reading....

PICTURE: Malaysia Airlines' first A380 completes maiden flight

Malaysia Airlines' first Airbus A380 carried out its maiden flight at the airframer's headquarters in Toulouse.

 

The aircraft, fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, performed a 5h initial sortie on 20 October during which it underwent preliminary systems tests.

Malaysia Airlines has six of the type on order, with initial deliveries planned to begin in the second quarter of 2012. Continue reading...  

 

Boeing released some very cool photos of the first flight of the Phantom Ray, 3 May, but none cooler than this.

A Lockheed Martin F-35A lurks in the background on the ramp at Edwards AFB, California. The air force's present (manned fighters) perhaps meets its future (unmanned combat air vehicles). Continue reading...

 

Painted in a bespoke orange-themed livery, the 747-8 Intercontinental took to the skies for the first time on 20 March.

During the 4h and 26min flight, the aircraft – Boeing's largest commercial jet in its history –reached an altitude of 20,000ft (6,096m) and a speed of 250kt (463km/h). The maiden sortie was the third of the three aircraft Boeing worked to certify in a year – the first time the company attempted to certify three jets at one time. Continue reading...

Related content: FlightBlogger: Photo of Note: 747-8 Intercontinental is airborne! (Update2)

China's Chengdu J-20 was flown for the first time in public, as confirmed by online reports, photos and video of the large, delta-winged aircraft becoming airborne.

Chinese President Hu Jintao also confirmed the milestone.

According to reports from aviation enthusiasts in China, the new aircraft took off from Chengdu's facility on 11 January at 12:50 local time and landed at 13:50, with the pilot having made a few passes over the airfield before landing. Continue reading...