Aviation News

December 15, 2009

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Finally Gets Off the Ground

More articles by »
Written by: admin
Tags: , , ,

Boeing today sent its new 787 Dreamliner on her maiden test flight, marking the first time a mostly composite airliner has taken to the air. Plagued by design and construction delays, the milestone comes over two years after the twin-engined, fuel-efficient aircraft was originally scheduled to fly.

“Boeing 001 Heavy Experimental” lifted off from Runway 34L at Paine Field (PAE), the airport adjacent to Boeing’s massive manufacturing facility in Everett, Wash., at approximately 10:30am Pacific time, soaring past thousands of cheering Boeing employees and aviation buffs. The flight had been expected to stay in the air for as long as five hours, but heavy rain and low visibility led Boeing to set her down at Boeing Field (BFI) in Seattle after about three hours of flying zig-zags over northern Washington. Today’s take-off marked Boeing’s first inaugural flight of a brand new commercial aircraft type since the aerospace giant launched the 777 wide-body airliner over 15 years ago.


Video by Andy Bokanev

Originally expected to enter airline service in 2008, the 787 program has been besieged by delays. The complex supply chain used to build 787 has been one major problem. Unlike previous Boeing aircraft, most of a Dreamliner’s parts—including large ones such as the fuselage and wings—are built by subcontractors as far away as South Carolina, Italy and Japan, and then transported to Boeing’s assembly facility in Washington for final construction. Setbacks were also encountered while creating the composite materials used in its construction, many of which had never before been used in a large commercial aircraft. Boeing has stated that most of these issues have been resolved.

Despite these hurdles and its untested, white sheet design, the airline industry has greeted the new 787 with extraordinary enthusiasm. Boeing racked up orders for nearly 600 copies of the 787 before it ever rolled out of the factory, a record for any new airliner. And with good reason: Boeing promises Dreamliner’s lightweight composite fuselage and newly designed engines will deliver 20% fuel cost savings compared to similarly sized aircraft currently on the market, such as the Airbus A330. A number of new concepts in cabin design, such as mood lighting and larger windows also promise a more inviting environment for passengers. (Check out our look inside the Boeing 787 showroom to see some of the bells and whistles airlines can choose when in the market for a new jet).

Today’s flight was piloted by the 787 program’s chief test pilot, Capt. Mike Carriker, and engineering pilot Capt. Randy Neville. Per FAA safety regulations, Carriker and Neville were the only humans on board, along with thousands of pounds of flight data computers recording over 10,000 channels of telemetry. Each man wore a parachute and six handheld radios, and one of the plane’s doors was rigged with an explosive charge in the event they had been forced to jump out due to a catastrophic failure. When asked about the risks of flying the world’s first plastic airliner by the Seattle Times, Carriker said, “Obviously, we think we’re OK, otherwise we wouldn’t go fly. But the proof is still in the pudding.”

While the first flight is a major step toward the aircraft’s FAA certification and deliveries to airline customers, it is only the beginning of an exhaustive flight test regimen which will last at least nine months. Problems encountered during the test program could mean further delivery delays. Should testing go swimmingly, the launch customer, All Nippon Airways of Japan, should receive its first 787 sometime in Fall 2010.

Racing down the runway with an IMAX helicopter chasing along side.

Boeing 001 Heavy Experimental (reg N787BA) lifts her nose off of Runway 34L in Everett as a a helicopter fitted with an IMAX movie camera races along side. (Photo by Jeremy Lindgren)

Thrust reversers and speed brakes deployed as Dreamliner touches down on a rainy Boeing Field in Seattle.

Thrust reversers and speed brakes deployed as Dreamliner touches down on a rainy Boeing Field in Seattle. (Photo by Jeremy Lindgren)

Pilots of the first 787 flight, Capt. Mike Carriker, right, and Randy Neville, left, speak to the media after landing in Seattle.

Pilots of the first 787 flight, Capt. Mike Carriker, right, and Randy Neville, left, speak to the media during the post-flight press conference at Boeing Field in Seattle. (Photo by Jeremy Lindgren)

Yay, we didn't need to use the parachutes!

Yay, we didn’t need to use the parachutes! (Photo by Jeremy Lindgren)

N787BA gets towed to a parking spot after landing at BFI.

N787BA gets towed to a parking spot after landing at BFI. (Photo by Jeremy Lindgren)



About the Author

admin





 
 

 

FRIDAY PHOTOS: Fantastic Photos from the NYCAviation Photo Hangar

This week for Friday Photos, we take a look at some of the best recent uploads to the NYCAviation Photo Hangar.
by NYCAviation Staff
0

 
 

FRIDAY PHOTOS: The 787-10 Takes Flight

For this week's Friday Photos, we take a look at the brand new Boeing 787-10 with photos from both North Charleston and Seattle.
by NYCAviation Staff
0

 

 

Man Versus Machine in the Aviation World

As the amount of technology in aircraft has increased, so has the number of computers involved and the reliance on them for the aircraft's operation.
by Stephen Carbone
2

 
 

A Double Dream: Qatar Airways Takes Home Two New 787s

Qatar Airways took delivery of 2 787-8 Dreamliners recently in Everett, WA, and NYCAviation was there for the festivities!
by Mark Lawrence
1

 
 

Four Engines vs. Two: The Surprising Mathematical Guarantee of Safety

One would think that an aircraft with additional engines would provide even better performance on normal takeoffs, but the extra engines actually reduces it.
by David J. Williams
7

 




  • Great photos as always Jeremy!

  • Great photos as always Jeremy!

  • Great photos and coverage Jeremy, thank you.

  • Great photos and coverage Jeremy, thank you.

  • DensityDuck

    What's that little gadget trailing behind the tailfin?

  • DensityDuck

    What's that little gadget trailing behind the tailfin?

  • eberris

    some happy pilots after this

    • Crayb

      Even happier engineers!

      • Even happier (than pilots and engineers) project managers, directors and shareholders !

  • eberris

    some happy pilots after this

    • Crayb

      Even happier engineers!

      • Even happier (than pilots and engineers) project managers, directors and shareholders !

  • Mark in Sandy Eggo

    Have I not paid attention before, but did it seem that the wings were flexed upwards more during the end of the youtube clip than other similar aircraft (as the plane was flying away)? Is that a special feature of this aircraft.

  • Mark in Sandy Eggo

    Have I not paid attention before, but did it seem that the wings were flexed upwards more during the end of the youtube clip than other similar aircraft (as the plane was flying away)? Is that a special feature of this aircraft.

  • Pullx

    The wing typically appears to be curved upward in the reverse side angle view.

  • Pullx

    The wing typically appears to be curved upward in the reverse side angle view.

  • I must refresh the page times to evaluate this page for some reason, however, the details here had been worth a wait.

  • Been following your blog for 3 days now and i should say i am starting to like your post. and now how do i subscribe to your blog?

  • I havent any sort of word to comprehend this blog post

  • Super maszyna. Pozdrawiam. http://punkt30.blogspot.com/