The Last Flight of the World’s First 777
Matthew Greenwood posted on October 10, 2018 |

The world’s first 777 jetliner took its maiden flight in 1994—and flew for the last time almost a quarter of a century later.

The iconic 777-200 prototype, call sign B-HNL, flew from Cathay Pacific’s home airport in Hong Kong to Tucson, Arizona on September 18. It will take its place alongside 350 other legendary aircraft in the Pima Air and Space Museum in Arizona—and in the history books. The airplane logged 20,519 flights for Cathay Pacific, spending 49,687 hours in the air. That’s over five and a half years!

Since its first flight, the 777 has become the world’s most successful twin-engine, twin-aisle airplane. The combination of its long range capabilities, fuel efficiency and comfortable cabin has made it a popular choice for airlines. It has been a strong performer for Boeing, which fielded more than 1,660 orders of the aircraft to date. The 777 is credited with bridging the performance gap between smaller jets and massive airplanes such as Boeing’s 747 jumbo.

Cathay Pacific was one of the 777’s original customers and operates one of the largest 777 fleets in the world today. In the 1990s, the airline was one of only a few to have been involved in the design of the 777, giving the airline a unique opportunity to shape the plane’s features to suit its needs. The 777 was the first commercial airliner to be designed entirely with computer-aided design tools—and it was one of the first to use fully digital fly-by-wire controls.

“Cathay Pacific has been instrumental in the tremendous success of the 777 program. The airline contributed greatly to the airplane’s original design and has been one of its biggest ambassadors ever since,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister. “We are thrilled to partner with Cathay on this donation to the museum as a way to share the remarkable story of the Boeing 777 for years come.”

NBC News’ History of the Boeing 777

While the first 777 has officially retired, Boeing’s workhorse model—the largest twin-engine jet in the world—is still going strong. Boeing is currently working on an ambitious new edition of the aircraft—the 777X—scheduled to be ready for passengers in 2020.

Interested in more news about the future of the Boeing 777? Check out FAA Approves Folding Wings for the New Boeing 777X.

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