In a rare piece of good news from the manufacturer, Boeing has conducted a successful first flight of the second 777X airplane.
Captain Ted Grady, the 777X project pilot, and Captain Van Chaney, the 777/777X chief pilot, flew for two hours and 58 minutes over Washington state before landing at Boeing Field in Seattle.
Designated WH002, this plane is the second of four in a dedicated flight test fleet and will test handling characteristics and other aspects of airplane performance.
An array of equipment, sensors and monitoring devices throughout the cabin allows the onboard team to document and evaluate the airplane’s response to test conditions in real time.
The 777X test plan lays out a comprehensive series of tests and conditions on the ground and in the air to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the design.
To date, crews have flown the first airplane nearly 100 hours at a variety of flap settings, speeds, altitudes and system settings as part of the initial evaluation of the flight envelope.
With initial airworthiness now demonstrated, the team can safely add personnel to monitor testing onboard instead of relying solely on a ground-based telemetry station, unlocking testing at greater distances.
Also today, Boeing sold $25 billion of bonds in the largest offering this year, eliminating the need for more cash as the coronavirus pandemic upends the global aviation industry.
The planemaker is now expected to avoid seeking funds from the United States government.
A statement from Boeing said: “We are pleased with the response to our bond offering today, which is one of several steps we are taking to keep liquidity flowing through our business and the 17,000 companies in our industry supply chain.
“The robust demand for the offering reflects strong support for the long-term strength of Boeing and the aviation industry.
“It is also in part a result of the confidence in the market created by the CARES Act and federal support programs that have been put in place - a testament to the administration, congress and the Federal Reserve.
“The bond offering includes debt instruments with an aggregate principal amount of $25 billion across seven tranches with maturities ranging from three to 40 years.
“We will continue to assess our liquidity position as the health crisis and our dynamic business environment evolve.”