The 777x connection to the Pacific Northwest grew even stronger as Boeing announced Wednesday that high-speed wind tunnel tests have started on the plane.

Testing began last week at Boeing's Transonic Wind Tunnel in Seattle.

This is another important step forward in the development of the 777x. Data from these tests will allow us to validate our airplane cruise performance models in support of our ongoing design efforts, said Terry Beezhold, vice president and chief project engineer for the 777x program

According to a release issued by Boeing Wednesday, subsequent rounds of low-speed and high-speed testing will provide further design refinement and validation of overall airplane performance predictions. Future testing in the wind tunnel will include tests for noise, icing and propulsion.

Boeing said it has 200 orders for the 777x and commitments from five customers worldwide.

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