The Boeing 777-200LR has arrived in Dubai, fresh from setting a new world distance record for a commercial airplane. Taking off from Hong Kong at 10:30 p.m. local time on November 9, the record-setting Worldliner prototype flew eastward 11,664 nm, landing at London Heathrow Airport 22 hours and 42 minutes later, at 1:30 p.m. GMT on November 10. Its exceptional flight path took it over the North Pacific Ocean, across North America and over the mid-North Atlantic en route to London.
The 777-200LR’s published range of 9,420 nm assumes a full load of 300 passengers and the existence of three auxiliary fuel tanks in the lower cargo hold. The record-holding 200LR flew with four auxiliary tanks, each holding more than 2,000 gallons of fuel. The 200LR burned some 342,000 of the 360,700 pounds of fuel pumped into the airplane before the start of the flight.
A total of eight pilots made the flight, as did another 27 company representatives and reporters, many of whom took the opportunity to call home on cell phones provided by Motorola. Boeing equipped the airplane with a wireless base station, known as a picocell, that allowed cell phone calls.
Here in Dubai, Boeing hopes the 777-200LR will make an impression on airlines such as Emirates, whose ambitions include introducing nonstop legs perhaps best served by the world’s longest-range airliner.