Weather has forced Boeing to postpone the inaugural long-haul flight of the 777X, originally scheduled for Thursday around Seattle in the northwest of the United States, according to a brief company statement. “We are postponing the first flight of the 777X which was scheduled for tomorrow, January 23 due to the weather”, underlines the press release, which specifies that the teams in charge of the organization of this very important stage in the life of an airplane, are studying the possibility of flying on Friday 24 January.
The 777X was delayed and its first flight was initially scheduled for the summer of 2019, but had to be postponed due to problems with the new GE9X engine, manufactured by General Electric, and difficulties with the wings and software validation . The flight is scheduled to take place near Seattle (northwest), where Boeing has a giant airport, Boeing Field. The weather forecasts rain and wind tomorrow in this sector.
During the maiden flight, an aircraft undergoes a battery of tests and flight tests in order to verify its behavior and ensure that the safety conditions are satisfied. If all goes well for the 777X, Boeing will then file all the documents for the approval of this aircraft by the civil aviation authorities, in particular with the FAA.
The 777X, which can carry 384 to 426 passengers, has an order book of 340 units, mainly from seven major airlines, including Emirates, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways. It is supposed to compete with the A350 of the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The first deliveries are not expected before “Early 2021”, instead of mid-2020 as initially planned, as the test flight period is expected to be extended and the approval procedure deepened.
This aircraft indeed encountered significant problems during pressurization tests – knowingly exceeding normal conditions of use to ensure the reliability of the equipment – last September. The 777X is supposed to consolidate Boeing’s dominance over Airbus in the long haul, a position weakened by the imminent reduction in production rates for the 787 “Dreamliner”, due to the lack of firm orders from China.