Honeywell announced on Monday that its Boeing 757 test-bed aircraft is turning 40 years old. The company acquired the 757, which rolled off of the production line in June 1982 and entered service with Eastern Airlines the following year, in 2005 for use in research and development. It has been used to test technologies including Honeywell’s next-generation flight management systems (NGFMS), IntuVue RDR-4000 and RDR-7000 weather radars, the HTF7000 engine series, JetWave and JetWave MCX in-flight Wi-Fi systems and Aspire 350 and 400 satellite communication suites.
“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 Joe Duval, Honeywell Aerospace director of flight test operations. “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.”
Honeywell’s 757 is outfitted with 25 seats and “a wide variety of flight test engineering stations.” The company reports that its 757 has conducted more than 800 flight tests and logged over 3,000 flight test hours during its service as a test bed. According to Honeywell, the aircraft has traveled to more than 30 countries across five continents.