COVID-19 in Washington: Links and resources to help you during coronavirus pandemic

Winds delay first flight of Boeing 777X

Data pix.

EVERETT, Wash. -- It's a big plane with big expectations. But first, Boeing's 777X has to go through flight tests. Boeing is hoping the weather will cooperate Saturday.

The plane's maiden flight was scheduled for Friday morning at 10 a.m., but rain and gusty winds prevented the plane from taking off from Paine Field. Some gusts were reported to be more than 30 miles per hour at times.

The plane and its crew waited at the end of the runway hoping for the weather to subside, but at 1:30 p.m. Boeing officials decided to wait until Saturday to try again.

Former Boeing safety engineer and AirSafe.com publisher Todd Curtis said in flight testing, weather delays are normal.

Curtis, who was at Boeing when the original 777 had its first flight, said when it comes to flight testing, you go through the basics first before the plane can go through more rigorous conditions, including the wind.

"The purpose of the test, is to set up the plane for further tests," he said. "Before you go through more advanced tests, you have to go through the basic things first. And being able to demonstrate the plane can take off and land. That the landing gear can cycle through. That the flight control surfaces are working as advertised. These are fairly basic things."

In a tweet, Boeing described the cancellation like this : "Flight tests, first flights in particular, have special requirements that are more stringent (like wind strength & direction for takeoff) than for certified airplanes. For this reason, commercial flights departed Paine Field today but the #777X couldn't."

A lot is riding on this plane. It's big; its wingspan when it's extended can reach 235 feet.

The wings are just one feature that makes the plane unique. In order for the plane to taxi to the gate, Boeing designed the wings to fold at the ends. It's got bigger windows, and a wider cabin.

But considering what Boeing has gone through with trying to get the 737 MAX back in the air, some see this plane as a turning point.

"This airplane for me is the flagship of the airline fleets. It really is a marquis airplane. So, from my perspective, it's a great representation of the great things we can do as a company. The reliability, the fact that it'll be used by airlines around the world. So, from my perspective, I think it's really important for us," said Wendy Sowers, Boeing marketing director.

The plane is capable of flying up to 10,000 miles. If testing goes as planned, the company believes it can begin passenger service by next year. Airlines who have made orders for the 777X include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Lufthansa.

Boeing officials announced they will try a test flight again on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.