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Wind-tunnel testing will last about five months.

Wind-tunnel testing will last about five months.

Less than a month after its spectacular launch at the Dubai Airshow, the Boeing 777X is undergoing low-speed wind-tunnel testing in Britain.

Testing started last week at a facility in Farnborough, the town northeast of London best known for the world’s premier airshow, Boeing said Monday.

“This is the first major development milestone for the program since we launched the program last month,” said Terry Beezhold, vice-president and chief project engineer of the 777X program.

“Wind-tunnel testing will validate our performance models and generate a vast amount of data that our engineering teams will use to design the airplane in this phase of development.”

The low-speed model currently being tested is a 5.5 per cent scale model of the baseline 777X, measuring 4.22 metres long with a wing span of 3.92 metres, Boeing said.

“Hundreds of sensors are embedded in the model to measure pressure to determine the in-flight loads as well as provide valuable diagnostics of the aerodynamic performance of a given design.”

The testing will last about five months.

“We are on track to complete our top-level design in 2014 and reach firm configuration in 2015,” said Beezhold.

B777XBoeing won orders and commitments for 259 aircraft worth almost $100 billion for the 777X in Dubai last month in what was the largest product launch in commercial jetliner history by dollar value.

They came from Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways.

The 777X is the newest member of the highly successful 777 family of long-haul airliners. It will be built in two versions: the 777-9X that offers seating for more than 400 passengers and the 777-8X, which will seat 350 passengers.

Deliveries are expected to begin in 2020.

Images are courtesy of Boeing.