It’s fair to say that the aviation industry has changed quite a bit since 1995. Back then, jurassic DC-10s and 747-100s still plied the skies. Over the past 25 years, the classic jumbo jets were slowly replaced by 747-400s, 757, 767s, 777s, and the A380. Then COVID-19 happened and the ‘modern’ twins of 757s, 767s and even the Super A380 are being sent to the desert, giving way to more midsized 787s, A330s, and the now venerable 777 (mostly in the stretch -300 form).
If there is one thing that is certain, change in the aviation industry is a constant. That’s why as avgeeks it can be fun to look back into old commercial debuts of popular aircraft.
United Introduces the Boeing 777
The Boeing 777 was one of the most impressive development cycles of a major airliner program ever. Built entirely with computer aided design (CAD), the airliner set a new standard for aircraft development in both speed and quality. The 777 program was the first airliner to utilize the giant GE90 engine which permitted DC-10, A340, and MD-11 capacity and range with only two engines.
United Airlines was the launch customer for the 777-200. The airline (along with other customers) partnered with Boeing to influence the development of the new twin-engined airliner. The airliner was Boeing’s first fly-by-wire jet and the first twin-engined airliner that was certified with 180 minute ETOPS right from day one. It featured passenger comforts like large overhead bins, personal TVs, and upgraded first class accommodations. The jet itself was built to be more reliable with onboard diagnostics, improved avionics, and lighter structure which translated into lower fuel costs relative to competing jets.
United’s First Commercial Featured Bigfoot?
United Airlines highly touted their new Boeing. The 777 would allow the airline to replace their aging DC-10 fleet and could comfortably connect routes from Chicago to Europe. As the launch customer, they featured the new jet heavily in advertisements. One of their first commercials was humorous, if a bit odd. It featured Sasquatch–the fabled bigfoot-like character of lore from in the Pacific Northwest. In the commercial Sasquatch spotted the new Boeing 777 and took a self guided tour of the new jet. He even poured himself some champagne as he made himself at home in the giant aircraft.
BONUS: Video of a United 777 Proving Flight
Flight attendant Steve Scott filmed a proving flight for the Boeing 777 just one week before United’s first official flight on June 7, 1995. Check out the video linked below!