Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big day for Boeing: The B787 Dreamliner flies!

by B. N. Sullivan

Today, December 15, 2009, was historic. I don't know about you, but I spent hours watching TV and live webcasts earlier today as the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner took off for the very first time. While the world watched, the Dreamliner began its takeoff roll at Paine Field in Everett, WA. I have to admit that I got a bit choked up as Boeing's newest commercial aircraft rotated and lifted off the runway for the first time. The time was 10:27 AM local time.

The weather was not the best -- drizzly and overcast -- but the graceful looking aircraft climbed out as if it were a sunny day, carried out its long-anticipated maiden flight, and returned to earth for a picture perfect landing at Seattle's Boeing Field at 13:33 local time.

From the Boeing press release about the event:
787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker and Capt. Randy Neville tested some of the airplane's systems and structures, as on-board equipment recorded and transmitted real-time data to a flight-test team at Boeing Field.

After takeoff from Everett, the airplane followed a route over the east end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Capts. Carriker and Neville took the airplane to an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) and an air speed of 180 knots, or about 207 miles (333 kilometers) per hour, customary on a first flight.
According to Boeing, the first Boeing 787, which is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, will be joined in the flight test program in the coming weeks and months by five other 787s, including two that will be powered by General Electric GEnx engines.

Congratulations to Boeing and all those involved with the 787 Dreamliner program on the successful first flight of this beautiful new airplane.

In case you missed the live event, here is a video of the Boeing 787's first takeoff from Paine Field (video provided by AirlineReporter):

If the video does not play or display properly above, click here to view it on YouTube.