DALLAS – Today in Aviation, The prototype Boeing 757 (N757A) took to the skies for the first time from Renton Municipal Airport (RNT), Washington, in 1982. At the controls and one week ahead of schedule were test pilots John H. Armstrong and Samuel Lewis (“Lew”) Wallick, Jr.
N757A was rolled out on January 13, 1982, and was the first of five prototypes that would take part in the certification process.
However, the maiden flight wasn’t plain sailing. The number two (right-hand engine) began to show low oil pressure and was subsequently shut down. After checking the appropriate systems, the crew could restart the engine, and the test flight continued.
Despite the setback, Armstrong and Wallick were able to achieve all of the goals planned for the first flight. This included checking all the high lift devices and taking the jet to a maximum indicated airspeed (IAS) of 250 kt.
After two hours and 31 minutes, N757A touched down at Paine Field, Everett (PAE). The maiden flight also marked the first flight of Boeing’s new technology two-person cockpit.
The Boeing 757 was initially conceived after Boeing looked at stretching and modifying its popular 727. The American plane-maker was already working on its new 7X7, which would become the 767.
Airlines were looking at cutting costs, and three-engined aircraft were deemed inefficient. Thus the 7N7, a twin-engined single-aisle airliner, was born in mid-1977. It became the 757 in February 1978.
Boeing constructed a new assembly line at its Renton factory exclusively to produce the 757. Production ended in 2004 after 1,050 had been built. The manufacturer handed over the final example to Shanghai Airlines (FM) on April 27, 2005.
Featured image: N757A, remains in service with Boeing and has been radically modified as an electronics test bed. (Photo: Boeing)