Wildest dreams

It’s been a blur of activity beginning about six weeks ago with the run-up to Paris, and continuing through some travel in Asia, and of course the Dreamliner Premiere weekend.

But while it’s still all fresh in the mind I wanted to reflect back on the remarkable debut of Boeing’s new airplane.

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Deck the halls of Boeing: the Dreamliner is the most successful new airplane launch in history.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to witness the Dreamliner roll in to the factory on July 8. And as I stood there and looked up at the airplane, I stopped and listened to what people were saying about the new 787.

One of the comments I heard over and over again was about the size of the airplane. “It’s really big,” some people were saying. On the one hand people had their own image of what the airplane would look like - based on all of the computer generated pictures, and facts and figures we’ve seen over the past few years. But it’s another thing altogether to come face to face with the real airplane.

Yes, this is a widebody. And an impressive sight up close.

People were also struck by the size of the engines. At 110” fan diameter, they’re approaching the size of the 777 engines. And these power plants will make the Dreamliner quiet and efficient.

It was something to see all the logos on the airplane - all of the customers in two neat rows along the fuselage. It’s almost unimaginable we’ve achieved such success since launch.

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People marveled at the 787’s wings – thin, sleek, and bird-like.

Under the wings, you couldn’t help but notice how incredibly small the “canoe” fairings are. These are the structures that protect the devices which move the flaps. This neat design helps add to the aerodynamic look of these wings.

I also heard people express surprise at the look of the skin. It was just like any other airplane. And the paint reflected the sunshine that afternoon with glittering brilliance.

Probably some people were walking around the airplane looking very hard for temporary fasteners. I don’t think they could tell one way or another. Not to worry, the real deal will be installed before first flight.

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Just moments before its debut, the Dreamliner rolls toward the future.

Anyway, it really was an unforgettable moment when the hangar doors opened, and the crowd roared. BCA president and CEO Scott Carson called it “a moment of awe and amazement.”

That roar, by the way, was heard from Puget Sound clear across the United States, and over the Atlantic and Pacific, and from our customers, supplier-partners, and employees worldwide as they held parties, breakfasts, and special events, or just watched from their homes.

Yes, the Dreamliner is a new airplane for a new world. As the most successful commercial airplane launch in history, it is validating our strategy in the market – and that’s a huge accomplishment for the Boeing company.

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The 787 Premiere weekend was a perfect time to celebrate the rich history of achievements in commercial aviation with a 7-Series tribute on 7/7/07 - from the 707 to the 777 – at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Have to also mention that Airbus sent us a message of congratulations just before the rollout. It read, in part: “Today is a great day in aviation history. For, whenever such a milestone is reached in our industry, it always is a reflection of hard work by dedicated people inspired by the wonder of flight.”

This short note says to me that in the end it’s not just about competition between Boeing and Airbus. It’s about the remarkable – and very challenging – achievements that our industry as a whole can be proud of every day.

And on that note .. back to work. As Scott Carson said, it’s onward and upward to the next stage of the journey - flight test!

Comments (5)

Saj (London, UK):

Indeed, the Premiere was a fantastic feat, not just because of the "roll in" of the first true revolutionary airplane the 21st centruy has seen- but for the millions of viewers across the globe who shared in the experience.

No doubt the excitement will again reach a peak with the first flight, but the 787 represents a new way forward- not just for the industry, partners and people behind the airplane- but for passengers who will be able to enjoy and rekindle the thrill of flying as it was when it was exclusive to people of higher incomes.

On behalf of FleetBuzz.com and myself, we wish the 787 team all the very best for the coming months of hard work towards certification. History is here in the 787, and its already rewriting the future....

Chris C (South Africa):

All the very best for the ground and flight test program, for this super-efficient 787 Dreamliner!! This airplane has really captured the joy of flight, and is the 21st Century flagship. Well done Boeing, the 787, 777, 747-8, and 737 are the pinnacles of airborne excellence in their catergories!

G (France):

787's sales, its production ramp-up and its expected delivery rate are mind-boggling.
Do you mind blogging on 787 flight-test soon?

Jon Hester (Nashville, TN, USA):

Regarding the paint; is it possible to give the Dreamliner a "polished aluminum" finish to cater to those carriers whose livery involves bare skin on their current fleet? (ie American, Aeromexico, etc.)

I for one, can't wait to take a trip on the 787!

Sherry (Beijing,China):

Congratulation! 787 is a wonderful airplane. I hope it will have a successful first flight.And I want to take it soon. More orders and Best wishes to 787.

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