Aviation News

September 28, 2011

Photos: First Boeing 787 Delivery Takes Off Into History

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By: David Lilienthal
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EVERETT, WASH. — Boeing wrapped up three days of events celebrating the first delivery of their new 787 Dreamliner Tuesday morning when Airplane 8 (JA801A), officially delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways the day before, departed Paine Field for Tokyo Haneda.

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Photographers in the crowd welcomed the short delay that allowed the sun to rise enough to penetrate the perpetual overcast sky enough to make shutter release worth while. After some apparent difficulty getting the passenger door closed, the beacons started firing and the tug pulled the new jet away from the Future of Flight Museum. The low hum of the engine start preceded the most satisfying whiff of kerosene I can recall.

The pilots then positioned her on Runway 34R, in a manner that can only be described as gingerly. I’m not sure if this is an ANA thing, a function of the number of executives aboard, or just a contrast to Boeing test pilots. The take off roll and rotation of flight 9397 were equally gentle but then the pilot gave a generous wing wave as they disappeared into the clouds.

The enthusiasm for this airplane, demonstrated by the rate at which ANA has sold out of tickets for initial flights, was evident in a number of ways throughout the three day event. Media from the world over, a few speaking languages I couldn’t identify, traveled to Seattle to attend the events. Monday’s considerable rain had no effect on crowd size or spirit. The palpable combination of joy and relief from THE Strato Deck is a clear indication that the magic of manned flight is still very much alive, and no aircraft represents this better than the Boeing 787.