FedEx officially receives its first Boeing 777F today, and on Sep 24 will fly it from Everett to, I suspect, its Memphis hub. The 777 is the first of 15 on the official orderbook, though depending on who you talk to, it will more likely be the first of as many as 45 as the options and additional orders firm up.
There’s a couple of interesting points about this delivery from a cargo aircraft perspective. First, the order for the 777F came from FedEx after it ditched the A380-800F. The order was a massive blow for Airbus which was subsequently forced to shelve the 150t capacity freighter variant. Although the FedEx decision sounded the death knell for the A380F, the final nail in the coffin came after UPS also cancelled its A380 order in favor of additional A300s. Consider this, FedEx obtained the same capacity but with greater flexibility by simply swapping its order for 10 150t aircraft in favor of 15 100t capacity aircraft.
Secondly, the 777F – which is based on the 777-200LR, is FedEx’s first ETOPS-qualified aircraft. Although the company has been a loyal A300/A310 operator for years, its true long-haul overseas operations have been conducted using DC-10-30, MD-10 and MD-11 trijets. Now finally, FedEx enters the 21st century with a long haul twin.
The delivery followed the completion at the weekend of 'first of model' certification flights, with tests focused on unusual aspects such as the oxygen system for the supernumery crew position. Note the barely visible drop-down RAT (ram air turbine) emergency power device pictured after one recent test flight, and (below) check out a high power, low weight take-off sequence in this video clip.
Photo and video: Matt Cawby, paineairport.com