LONDON – Honeywell’s popular flagship Boeing 757 turns 40 years old today, with the company stating that the aircraft will not be retired anytime soon.
N757HW rolled off the production line in June 1982 and underwent a series of testing before being originally delivered to Eastern Air Lines in February 1983 as N504EA.
The aircraft stayed with Eastern until March 1995 when it was handed over to Airtours International Airways as G-JALC.
G-JALC was then transferred to MyTravel Airways in May 2002, before being handed over to Honeywell as a testbed in October 2005.
Duval: Special Place in the AvGeek Community…
“For the past 17 years, we have made so many technological modifications to our beloved 757 test aircraft that the only thing turning 40 years old is likely the fuselage itself,” said Captain Joe Duval, director, Flight Test Operations, Honeywell Aerospace.
“We’re among a select few pilots in the industry who have the responsibility to push an aircraft close to its limits.”
“We’ve intentionally flown into nasty storms to test our radars, and we’ve flown toward more mountains than I can count to test our ground proximity warning systems.”
“Our 757 has been the dependable workhorse that allows us to test a whole slew of technologies, including the engines we produce for business jets and smaller aircraft.”
“The plane tends to draw a lot of attention, whether we’re at an airshow with thousands of people or I’m scrolling through Twitter, and I notice a plane spotter that posted a photo of it”.
“It has a special place in the AvGeek community, and I’m glad it does because it’s helping create a more sustainable and digital future for aviation.”
An Extended Life…
N757HW has flown to 30 countries across five continents, conducting more than 800 flight tests lasting around 3,000 hours.
The last 40 years have seen Honeywell using this aircraft to test everything from turbine engines to electrical and mechanical systems, as well as avionics software and high-speed connectivity equipment.
As mentioned at the start of the article, “Honeywell has no plans to retire the 757 test aircraft and will continue to push the technological boundaries in the aviation industry, thus enabling a safer and more comfortable flight experience for airline passengers.”
It will definitely be interesting to see how old the aircraft will be when N757HW eventually gets retired but based on Honeywell’s confidence, this aircraft could last another 10 years as a minimum and beyond.
N757HW has been a big part of the aviation community and will continue to do so, as long as the aircraft remains in service under Honeywell’s reign.
Despite only sitting 25 passengers maximum compared to the conventional 200, the work that Honeywell has done over the last 15 years with this aircraft has been nothing short of incredible.
Without Honeywell’s input with this aircraft, certain systems that we see nowadays wouldn’t have been able to be sufficiently tested as quickly.
And that is something that we should all be grateful for, especially when it comes to innovation in our sector. It’s something we will always need.