Boeing's second 777-300ER test aircraft is expected to join the certification effort in the first week of April. The programme made a smooth start with the initial test aircraft's first flight on 24 February. During the 3h sortie the aircraft was put through around 50 test points, achieving an altitude of 15,000ft (4,575m) and a maximum speed of 270kt (500km/h). Take-off was made with the General Electric GE90-115B engines derated 10% to around 104,000lb thrust (465kN). The flutter envelope is expected to be cleared by around mid-March, when the bulk of testing can begin. Although originally due to fly in January, Boeing believes the planned 1,600h certification and extended range twin engine operations test programme can still be completed as planned by January 2004.


Source: Flight International