Boeing kicked off the 777-200LR (long range) test programme with a flawless first flight from Everett on 8 March.

The aircraft, captained by 200LR project pilot Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann along with Frank Santoni, was flown for 3h 2min during the initial sortie. The 777 had a relatively low take-off weight of 192,950kg (425,000lb), of which 43,130kg was fuel. Tests were conducted at 15,000-17,000ft (4,580-5,180m) and at speeds of between 112kt (207kt) and 270kt, with landing gear and flaps cycled.

Initial airworthiness tests will therefore evaluate flutter and take-off performance before the first aircraft, WD001, begins a short phase of stability and control tests. From a marketing perspective, the crucial period is scheduled to last from April through to June when the 777-200LR is expected to undertake aerodynamic performance assessment flights, when several improvements will be tested, including smaller vortex generators.

A second test aircraft, WD002, is to join the 500h programme in May with flight testing to be completed in September. Deliveries to launch operator Pakistan International Airlines will take place in January 2006, following certification.


Source: Flight International