The Boeing 777-200LR is due to fly nonstop from Seattle to London — the long way around.
Aiming for a new distance record for a commercial jet, Capt. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann took off in a twin-engine Boeing 777-200LR from Hong Kong this morning on a nonstop flight to London — the long way around.
The eastbound, 23-hour flight across the Pacific, the continental United States and the Atlantic will cover at least 12,500 nautical miles.
The airplane was slated to carry about 35 passengers and crew, including Boeing executives, journalists, pilots from Pakistan International Airlines and Singapore Airlines, and representatives from the General Electric division that makes the engines.
Three other senior Boeing test pilots — Frank Santoni, John Cashman and Randy Austin — will also take turns at the controls.
The airplane is a standard version of the new ultra-long-range jet, which will enter service with Pakistan International early next year. Boeing also offers the airplane with auxiliary fuel tanks that would expand its range even further, though no airlines have yet ordered the model with extra tanks.
Australian carrier Qantas is considering a version with six extra tanks that could fly a regular service nonstop between London and Sydney.
For now, Airbus can still boast of flying the longest nonstop regular commercial air service. Singapore Airlines operates the four-engine A340-500 daily between Singapore and New York, an 18-hour flight covering 9,000 nautical miles.
But the airline is also weighing an order for the Boeing jet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.