777 Reunion

As the 1,000th 777 took to the skies on Tuesday for its first flight, the flight deck became the scene of a very special reunion. Captain John Cashman, who flew the very first 777 flight back in 1994, teamed up with Keith Otsuka, currently Boeing Test and Evaluation’s top test pilot and former 777 chief pilot from 2009 through 2011.

These two pilots have a long history together. In fact, it was Cashman who hired Otsuka at Boeing. In a show of respect to Cashman— who racked up some 1,200 hours in 777s during his time with the program— Otsuka gave the left chair to his friend during the first flight of airplane 1,000 that will soon be delivered to Emirates.

The photo gallery below captured more from this special day. I also invite you to watch this video featuring all five past and present chief model pilots for the 777— as I say thank you to all of them for making this program what it is today. Photos by Gail Hanusa & Ed Turner.

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Comments (11)

Ralph (Jacksonville, FL):

This is a great tribute to the pilots who deserve many kudos for the 777. This airplane looks gorgeous in the sun.

Andrew (Renton, WA):

Nice to see the Catpain's still got it.

Frederic Lambert (Seattle WA):

Randy

I had the opportunity of working on the 777 back in the early nineties. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Cashman almost weekly in the Systems Integration Laboratory putting the 'electric' 777 thru its pace during the build up and test programs. I regard that as some of the best times working together @ Boeing. These pictures bring back all those great memories. Thanks for sharing.

V V (Montréal, Québec):

The last time I flew on a 777 it was on way to my trip to Indonesia.
I even wrote a blog entry about the memorable trip (click here).

The 777-300ER is simply fascinating and it will continue to fascinate me until the end of this decade when it will be superseded by an even better 777-9.

Andrew Boydston (Boise, ID USA ):

The reason it is so difficult to bring about a 777 class follow-on because this aircraft is a beauty. The pride in workmanship and operations has been told so many times when the subject of 777 is mentioned. Even though another company is trying to unseat Boeing as the premium maker of aircraft from 300-400 passenger size, Boeing finds itself with a conundrum. How does it upgrade from making the best. Even after competitive design specs have been shown in the EWB to not necessarily meet or exceed the 777's performance and operations capability, there is room to move ahead past 1000 aircraft with enhancements and innovations which brings the 777 up-to-date with its stable mate the 787.

Qatars Airways, Al Baker even gives the 777 proposed upgrades a very solid endorsement from his point of view. Since Qatars Airways is about “Excellence in everything that we do.” his only focus is buying the best and will go to every effort to do so, hence the 777 prominence is the Middle East is no accident. Good recognition by Boeing to improve the best because many customers desire the best. Bigger is not better but better is better.

Norman (Long Beach, CA):

The 777 was the very first airplane that I know about when it was in development and I followed it from the very early nineties as a young teenager from the Aviation Week articles and documentaries on television. From a documentary show on PBS and videos on You Tube (from that show) I remember Captain Cashman on the controls of the 777 on the very first flight, stall testing, VMU tests and the rejected takeoff test. From my experience of seeing the plane in development the 777 will always be a new plane to me.

RICHARD CAMPBELL (Nassau ,Np,,Bahamas):

There are three aircraft size boeing as hand-down won outright 737,777,and 787.No airline in business today should be without one of these aircraft in their fleat.The 777 is simply the best aircraft out there right now in the 360-400 range.I hope the upgrade boeing is planing be an added bonus for this nice aircraft family.

Dori (Johannesburg, South Africa):

If Boeing wants to retain their hold on the large widebody jet market for the next 20-25 years then they should build an all new 777 replacement and not just improve on the existing 777 to try and compete or edge out over the Airbus a350xwb. They need something that will be a game changer in that segment of the market (even greater than the 787's claimed game changing status). In other words it should make the a350xwb look like old technology and overlap the 747-8's capacity which design is primarily based on old technologies and has proven not to be the preferred choice over the a380. Boeing needs an all new spectacular 777 (maybe a 797) to quell any threat from Airbus. Boeing's response should be decisive. Can they do it by 2020????

Dori (Johannesburg, South Africa):

Maybe Boeing need to consider bringing the sonic cruiser concept back to replace the 777? Something newer, faster and better than anything else currently in the sky.

Dee Lowry (Seattle, WA 98116):

Hey John! This is your first female pilot you ever instructed! I missed your 777 test flight from Chicago to Seattle. Remember the Seattle based cabin Flight Crew? The Flight that had a hiccuup and had a decompression? Well, I would have joined the crew if I knew you were going to be in the left seat! You did a remarkable job with the "Triple Seven", John! Why am I not surprised! You are the Best and I was trained by the Best! Dad would have been very proud of you! So, I am, on behalf of Dad, Mike and myself...we wish you and Mary Jo the best in retirement! Not to worry...Boeing needs guys like you! You know...you will fly the 787! You will, my friend! I am so very proud that I had you to introduce me to aviation.
I learned from the best of the best!

All my best to you and Mary Jo!
Dee

Dori (Johannesburg, South Africa):

Doesn't it make sense to replace the 777 with a similar sized or even larger sized Sonic Cruiser like aircraft? This will give Boeing the advantage over Airbus in both the a350 and a380 long haul segments of the market since people would prefer to get to their far off destinations faster than in larger aircraft. Not to say that the new Sonic Cruiser won't be as comfortable as a 777 or even more comfortable. It does not have to encroach on the 787 segment of the market either as the 787 can be adapted to fly much shorter haul flights? Boeing should focus their development efforts and dollars on a plane that will change the long haul industry permanently and not make incremental improvements over Airbus's new products and Boeing's old products! What's nice about introducing the Sonic Cruiser earlier on is that it can be developed using current technology and engines and the design lends itself to take Boeing far into this century. Boeing can simply make small modifications to elements of the aircraft such as the engines to improve efficiency and performance. The plane also does not necessarily have to fly at the speed of sound at initial launch only very close to it.

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