7's are wild

It just hit me that seven years ago this month, I was part of Boeing history. On November 9, 2005, I was lucky enough to be on a 777-200LR that broke the non-stop distance record for commercial airplanes.

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The 777-200LR lands at London Heathrow Airport after setting a world record on Nov. 10, 2005.

That flight from Hong Kong to London spanned 11,664 nautical miles. There were only 35 people on board—so we got to know each other very well. To avoid going stir crazy, we passed the time by playing games and even doing group stretching exercises.

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The 777-200LR gets a water cannon salute after setting a world record.

When we finally landed some 22 hours and 42 minutes later, I was in a daze after flying over the North Pacific Ocean, across North America, and then over the mid-north Atlantic Ocean. But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

By the way, music superstar Rihanna just wrapped up her own 777 world tour. She flew on a Delta 777 as she made stops in 7 cities in 7 days (Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London, New York)—to mark the release of her 7th studio album in 7 years.

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Rihanna during her 777 world tour. Courtesy of Rihanna’s Facebook page.

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Rihanna’s 777 tour— custom bags. Courtesy Rihanna’s Facebook page.

The 777 continues to generate incredible excitement now— and no doubt that excitement will grow in the future.

Comments (9)

Dori (Johannesburg, South Africa):

As an answer to the growing and continued Airbus threat one of the smartest, most competitive and economically viable commercial moves Boeing could make from a new aircraft development perspective for a 777 replacement at this point in time would be to build the Sonic Cruiser using the same fuselage sections being used on the 787 programme. Boeing could easily start the lineup with a 787-10 sized aircraft in Sonic Cruiser form and build 2 larger variants to replace the 777 fleet over time. This programme would be similar in many ways to developing and building the 777x which Boeing would have to re-design and build new wings and engines for anyway. Why spend all that development effort, time and money on renewing a last century design that may only see a slight edge over the a350 programme when it could be spent on building the decisive blow to Airbus for many years to come in that segment of the market.

Donald (Miami):

What a great achievement that was and still is. As a huge fan of the 777, I too look forward to seeing what the future brings for this amazing plane. And who knew Rihanna loved the 777 too?

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

The properties of fluid flow changes completely across the sound barrier. A sonic cruiser flying just below the speed of sound with fuel efficiency comparable to a 'last century' design is probably as hard and expensive to develop as a supersonic transport. Of course, the latter suffers from a wave drag penalty such that the cruise efficiency M x L/D doesn't recover until the Mach number (M) gets close to 3. (The SR-71 cruised at Mach 3, and the Boeing 2707 was targeted to Mach 2.7.) I wonder if a composite surface can withstand the heat like the titanium, with which the SR-71 was built.

Ralph Boyes (Senoia, Georgia, USA):

Dear Randy,
I remember the first flight of the 777. It was fantastic. I also remember when the 777LR set the long distance records. When I read about the flight from Hong Kong to London, my first thought was it was not a big deal. Then as I read on about the flight going East bound, my first thought was "Holy Cow". I had not discovered your Blog at that time. I did not know you were on that flight until your latest Blog. My sincere congratulations on being on that historic flight, and thank you for all you share to we airplane "Geeks". How do stay so trim eating all the fantastic food on your trips?

Rishan (Male' Maldives):

Lars Andersen. you are the man. thumps up.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

I got chills the first time I saw photographs of the 777-300ER in the paint factory, I think on November 13, 2002. You guys have had an incredible run with the 777 since -- it's really the only girl in the world ;)

Norman (Long Beach, CA):

The 777 launched over twenty years ago, first flown over eighteen years ago and had been in service for over seventeen years and is as relevant and as competitive if not more so now than when it was launched. The 777-200 series has but the last nail in the in the casket in the already delayed, under ranged, and overweight passenger MD-11 it has within time beat the A340-300 into submission and the 777-300ER has capped the similar ranged but heavier A340-600 to under 100 units as of now. The 777-300ER is already a strong competitor for the future A350-1000 as it was the A340-600 of earlier. The future is bright with the proposed 777-8X and 9X bringing many more years to the 777 program.

Dori (Johannesburg, South Africa):

As much as everybody still loves the 777, from a long term commercial strategy standpoint Boeing need to take the fight to Airbus with an all new Sonic Cruiser type jumbo jet aircraft. Airbus is stealing away away the jumbo jet segment of the market from Boeing with the a380 and soon to be released a350. If Boeing cannot unveil a vastly superior product over the a350 in the format of a new 777 then who is to say that airlines will opt for it over the a350? One reason I can think of that airlines might not opt for the new 777 over the a350 is that Airbus will probably be able to sell the a350 for less and offer better deals to the airlines on the a350 than Boeing may be able to offer on a new 777 by the time Boeing manage to get a new 777 to market. Another reason is that Airbus could improve the a350 to be even more competitive by the time a new 777 is launched. A Sonic Cruiser type jumbo jet by Boeing will turn this area of the market on it's head in favour of Boeing for many years to come. This is the type of aircraft that will be a real game changer. Come on Boeing...

Dori (Johannesburg, South Africa):

When Boeing launched the 747 over 40 years ago they took the biggest risk in their commercial history. What turned out to be Boeing's biggest risk turned out to be the most recognised and successful aircraft in the sky. It is in this spirit that Boeing should take the plunge and launch the Sonic Cruiser as a 777 replacement.

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