TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Aviation history was made Tuesday morning when the very first Boeing 777 ever flown made its final landing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
The former Cathay Pacific airliner was donated by the company to the Pima Air & Space Museum. Built in 1994, the massive aircraft was a test plane before becoming a part of Cathay Pacific's commercial fleet in 2000, operating more than 20,000 flights across the globe over 18 years.
“This is one hell of a step forward,” said Count Ferdinand von Galen, the chairman of the board of trustees for the Pima Air & Space Museum. The plane was towed across Valencia Road to its final resting place.
“It is always a tremendous thrill,” said von Galen. “I’m always surprised when we block traffic and people don’t blow their horns. They are perfectly happy seeing a big plane coming across the highway.”
The museum is already home to several other members of the Boeing family of airplanes, including a Boeing 737 and 787. The facility is home to more than 350 historic aircraft.
Dozens were on hand to watch the plane land and taxi to the museum, including Xilyi Xu, a Chinese aviation enthusiast with friends in Hong Kong, who watched the plane take off.
"We have a promise, he'll get the takeoff in Hong Kong, I'll get the landing in Tucson," he says. "So now we can make a full story. Departure, landing, towing, and display."
Museum visitors who were lucky enough to be on hand for the planes arrival were treated to a rare sight.
“We rushed out after some ladies told us a new plane was coming in,” said Dyann Eckert. “They told us they literally just got it, landed it, and we got to watch them roll it across the street. You never know what you’re going to see in Tucson.”