Boeing Commercial Airplane Company just postponed its first test flight today. I have been watching the flight on live-stream for the past three hours. This project had sustained development setbacks with a failed fuselage pressure test and a problem with the new GE9X engine. With those problems behind them, today marked the first flight of 777X. This flight was BOE001 and the aircraft registration is N779XW.
This test flight required a special takeoff procedure for this flight. The takeoff was to depart runway 34 Left via a northbound departure from Paine Field (PAE) in Everett, WA. This was decided to immediately fly over water to avoid populated areas. This takeoff would have been contradictory because takeoffs and landing at PAI were using runway 16 Right. The reason that runway 16R was the active runway is that the wind is blowing from south to north. This means that:
- This takeoff would have been with the wind instead of into the wind. You want to take off and land into the wind for lift.
- All operations at PAE would have to be closed during the takeoff into the opposite direction of traffic.
BOE001 was prepared to take off at 10:30 am PST. The weather was windy with moderate rain. The aircraft had been holding short of runway 34 Left for three hours when the flight was canceled. The wind conditions were a steady wind of 20 knots with gusts to 29 knots at 170 degrees. This means that the wind was virtually blowing from south to north. The rain had stopped for over an hour when the flight was canceled. The wind speeds for the with the wind takeoff exceeded the aircraft takeoff parameters. For this reason, today’s test flight was canceled.
The aircraft was taxed back to the hanger and parked. The pilots will conduct an exterior, post-trip inspection. From there, there will be a debriefing with the flight crew and the members of the flight test team to discuss any anomalies and review the test data. The test team will have to plan the next window for the first test flight.