Re: Boeing 777 First Flight was today - June 12

From:         "S.Rathinam 319-395-8290" <>
Date:         13 Jun 94 19:31:48 
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In article <airliners.1994.1315@ohare.Chicago.COM> you write:
|>Do any of our Boeing readers have something like an official press
|>An exciting day for all of us who have been involved in this
|>program.  A
|>long 11 months of flight tests remain ahead.  

(Howdy Ken - long time no hear).  Here's a partial text of an article
from _The News Tribune_ (Tacoma, WA - Pierce County Edition) posted
permission of Jan Brandt, Managing Editor. (Article by Sean Griffin, 
typos if any, are mine).  I have included my comments in "[[ ]]."

------- begin excerpts
Boeing's Future Takes Wing
4-hour maiden venture of 777 jetliner 'best first flight we've ever

[[There were two pictures, one of the 777 lifting off, another of a
group of senior Boeing people with the 777 in the background.]]

Boeings new 777 jetlinet took to the air for the first time
Sunday, flexing its wings for nearly four hours before returning
home with a flawless landing.  The flight itself wasn't flawless.
A pressurization valve failed, a backup instrument on the flight
deck didn't work, and the weather forced the crew to deviate from
the intended course.

But all the failures were deemed of little significance -
especially in comparison with the successes.

"Fantastic" Capt. John Cashman said when asked how the 777 did on
its first off-the-ground test.

"It's going to be hard not to sound like every test pilot in the
world after they've flown the first flight of the new model by
saying this is the greatest airplane," Cashman said. "But it's
*really* good."

Boeing chairman and chief executive Frank Shrontz said the
results of the first flight confirmed Boeing's decision to change
the way it built jetliners with the 777.

[[... (about design build teams etc.)]]

"This is the best first flight we've ever had, actually - both in
terms of the performance of the airplane and (the pilots')
satisfaction with it," Shrontz said.

With hundreds of Boeing workers and volenteers looking on,
Cashman and co-pilot Ken Higgins lifted the strikingly quiet
widebody northward into windy, gray skies at 9:42 Sunday, then
veered west to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

But decent weather - essential for the chase planes to photograph
the plane and watch for leaks or other problems - eluded them.

So Cashman turned the 777 around and headed east, climbing over
the Cascades, slipping over Glacier Peak and finally finding
clear visibility over Lake Chelan.

The 777's first flight, as it is with all new airplanes, has a
fundamental goal - to make sure the plane flies, the cabin
pressurizes, the instruments work, the flaps extend and the
controls respond.

According to Cashman and Higgins, the plane did all that and

Cashman said the 777's first flight turned up fewer problems with
instrumentation, engineering and maintenence than newly built
jetliners that have been in production for years.

The pilots put the plane through 43 separate tests, including
shutting down an engine, letting it cool completely and then
relighting it.

"They wouldn't have done that if there was any kind of issue at
all with control surfaces, hydraulic or electrical," said Bill
Whitlow, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities and a former
Navy A-3 pilot.  "The fact that they did that on the first flight
- which is unusual - is an indication that it went pretty well."

Not just unusual - unprecedented, Boeing officials said.

The plane spent most of its time between 15,000 and 18,000 feet,
reaching a peak altitude of 19,000 feet.

On at least two occasions, they encountered ice.  The first time,
Cashman said, they switched on the anti-ice system manually. 
Later, they found the automatic anti-ice capability of the 777
worked perfectly, he said.

On final approach, Cashman let the automatic pilot find the
signal that would guide the plane back to Paine Field.  But about
halfway to the ground, he took control of the plane "because I
wanted to feel the airplane before I had to land it."

Cashman said the autopilot worked so perfectly that "I think I
could have let it go all the way down and do an auto-land."

[[I work for the Collins Autopilot group - so, shameless plug
here for the company that pays my salary.]]

When the jetliner touched down onto a rainsoaked runway in a
brisk crosswind at 3:31 pm, a teary eyed 777 chief Alan Mulally
ran up to Ron Woodward, president of Boeing Commercial Airplane
Group, and gave him a congratulatory hug.

"It looked good, didn't it?" Mulally said.  "Did you see how
stable it was?"

Sunday's flight was the start of a nine-month program of flight
testing involving nine 777s.

[[... (stuff on Program, FAA cert, early ETOPS etc).]]

========= end excerpts

Sethu R Rathinam      (Not a Rockwell/Collins Spokesman)