Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon test aircraft made its first flight on Saturday, the company said.
The plane’s fuselage was built in Wichita by Spirit AeroSystems. The P-8A is a derivative of Boeing’s 737-800. The Navy plans to buy 108 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft.
During the flight, it performed a series of flight checks, reached a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet and landed after three hours, 31 minutes in the air.
“This is a significant accomplishment for the P-8A team, as it moves us one step closer to delivering the next maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft to the warfighter,” Capt. Mike Moran, P-8A program manager for the U.S. Navy, said in a statement.
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Before take-off, the P-8A team completed a limited series of flight checkings, including engine starts and shutdowns. During the flight, test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations, autopilot flight modes and auxiliary power unit shutdowns and starts.
Formal flight testing by a Navy/Boeing team will begin during the third quarter of 2009.
Boeing describes the P-8A as a “long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.”