Jumbo jet draws attention in our airspace
It's been a while since the Rogue Valley had an air show, but between the military jets and helicopters, the fire-fighting boron bombers and Erickson Air-Crane Sikorskys we can see plenty of interesting objects in our sky. On Wednesday I saw a large commercial jet circling overhead. Can you tell me what it was and if it means we're getting a new airline coming to Medford?
—Steven S., via email
It was hard to miss the Boeing 777-200 cutting a wide swath over the Rogue Valley. In fact, we saw at least two Facebook picture posts even as the plane rumbled past our window.
The Boeing 777-200 is 209 feet long with a wing span of 199 feet and has a maximum payload of 506,000 pounds at takeoff. It handles more than 300 passengers — more than 400 in some cases.
Medford airport director Bern Case said the spanking-new Air China aircraft was on a test run prior to Boeing delivering the plane to its owner.
"They like to put in a few landings and takeoffs on them before they deliver them," Case said.
Boeing cleared the operation for three complete-stop landings and takeoffs, but Case wasn't sure whether Air China pilots were on board along with the Boeing crew.
The 777-200 has a range of 3,900 miles, Case said, so it can hopscotch the Pacific, refuel in Honolulu or Anchorage. But don't expect Air China service to Beijing any time soon.
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