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777 SCORES HIGH IN TEST FLIGHT

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The Boeing Co. put its new 777 jumbo jet in the air on a successful test flight, reporting only minor glitches after spending about $4 billion on four years of development work.

Sunday's three-hour, 48-minute flight "was not perfect, but as close as they come," said a jubilant Capt. John Cashman, the jet's chief pilot.Cashman and his co-pilot were the only people on board, but the hopes of Boeing's workforce were riding along: The company has announced 147 orders for the new jet, which sells for $116 million to $146 million. Boeing also spent billions to build new factories and assembly lines for the plane.

"I'm pumping enough adrenalin now to fly without an airplane," Boeing President Phil Condit said.

The pilots performed more than three dozen tests. They stopped and restarted an engine, flew at near-stall speeds and raised and lowered the landing gear several times. At one point, they simulated landing on a cloud.

The 209-foot-long plane is nearly as large as a Boeing 747-400 but with two engines instead of four. Even at full throttle, its engines were no louder than a throaty hum and didn't drown out the cheers of thousands of Boeing employees and family members watching at Paine Field, at the company's headquarters.

Cashman said the only glitches were a tripped circuit breaker, a cabin pressure relief valve that stopped working, a backup flight deck instrument that went out and some minor vibration on landing gear doors.

It was the first test of an all-new Boeing airplane since 1982, when the midsize 757 debuted.

Boeing has been testing the 777 on the ground since formally rolling it out in a flashy ceremony April 9.

The first 777s, to enter service with United Airlines in May 1995, will carry 375 passengers a maximum of 4,240 miles. A longer-range version, available in December 1996, is designed to facilitate travel to Japan and other Pacific rim countries, carrying 305 passengers up to 8,490 miles - 50 miles farther than the 747-400.

Boeing is hoping for government approval for long, over-water flights when the plane enters service next year.