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Fri, Oct 17, 2003

New ETOPS Record for 777

777-300ER Flies a Lot of the Pacific on One Engine

The old ETOPS record was well under four hours; the new 777-300ER has just landed in Taiwan, after having left Seattle. During that 13-hour flight (over Tuesday and Wednesday), it was on one engine for five and a half hours.

The GE90-115B, the most-powerful engine in commercial service, was "perfect," according to Boeing spokesman Ed McGinn. Test pilot Frank Santoni confirmed that evaluation.

  • Quick -- what's the longest Boeing?
    • Yup, it's the 777-300ER, at 242 feet. The 365-passenger machine has a range (plus reserves) of some 8,250 miles.

Expect a petition to regulators to allow greater flexibility in 777-300ER flight plans. Current regs are generally confining no-field exposure to three hours, with some exceptions up to nearly three and a half. This latest demonstration whould go a long way to stretching those legs (at least for the 777-300ER), allowing more-efficient routing and utilization of the long-range "big twin."

Certification of this model is progressing on schedule for approval this year. Air France is the launch customer, and expects to use its first -300ER in revenue service some time in April. Air France's machine is coming through International Lease Finance Corp.



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