SEATTLE -- A Boeing 757 powered by just one of its two engines took off, circled and landed at Lhasa, Tibet, one of the airports highest above sea level, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group said Friday.
The flight from Chengdu, China, over the Himalaya Mountains to Lhasa and back was designed to show the handling and performance characteristics of the Rolls-Royce-powered 757, said Boeing officials who planned the demonstration in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, which currently operates four-engined 707s to Lhasa but is considering putting similar-sized 757s on the route because of the twinjets' newer technology and lower operating costs.
The Chinese airline already has 10 Boeing 757s in its fleet and has 13 more on order. Shanghai Airlines also operates the 757.
In a two-hour flight, the airplane departed Chengdu and headed west over the Himalayas to Tibet. Flying at an altitude of 26,000 feet, the pilot reduced power to one engine and started an auxiliary power unit -- a demonstration of the unit's power and engine-start capability at high altitude, according to Boeing.
The 757, introduced into service in 1983 and designed to carry 194 passengers in a typical mixed-class configuration, can accommodate up to 239 passengers in charter service.