Paris: A rainy day

LE BOURGET, FRANCE - The first day of the Paris Air Show started very early in the morning with a downpour. And it never really completely let up. So, most of us spent our time under shelter and indoors on this rainy day.

Although, I did have the chance to take a few peeks at the aerial displays which went on even through the late afternoon drizzle.


A rain-soaked Air France 777 Freighter on static display outside the Boeing Media Chalet on Monday.

From my perspective, though, the highlight of the show today was Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson’s briefing for the media.

You can check out Carson’s presentation, and all the Boeing news from Paris on our Paris Air Show 2009 Web site.

Naturally some of the first questions for Scott Carson had to do with the 787 Dreamliner. Scott’s answer: “If you were expecting the 787 to fly at the air show, you will be disappointed.” He went on to say that Boeing is committed to flying the 787 in the second quarter. “If you count as I do, that means within the next two weeks.”


Scott Carson meets the press at Le Bourget.

So as Scott Carson says, we don’t have news of a surprise first flight over Paris.

But we do have some news to share and some new pictures of the second 787 Dreamliner. ZA002 moved to the field in Everett Sunday night for the start of fuel testing - which began immediately after the airplane entering the fuel dock.


ZA002 features the livery of the 787’s launch customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan and will fly the livery throughout the flight-test program as a tribute to our partnership in bringing the Dreamliner to market.

ZA002 was used in support of our static testing efforts - it was the airplane used for ground vibration testing. Those tests are performed by “exercising” the airplane – simulating the movements the aircraft would experience during flight - and comparing the response to our predictions. That ensures we’re ready to fly flutter testing.

We also used ZA002 to perform low-level continuous wave testing, where we passed a low-level electrical current (between 2 and 10 amps) through the airplane to evaluate how the airplane might react in the event of a lightning strike. A real lightning strike can generate 200,000 amps of electricity, but the engineering team can apply the low-level results to extrapolate what might happen at the higher end. The tests went very well.


The 2nd 787 Dreamliner on the flight line in Everett.

Our second Dreamliner is playing an important role in getting us closer to first flight. But this move is more about getting ready for a successful overall flight test program. We need all six airplanes ready to get in the air and perform.

Each of the six flight-test airplanes will be used for a specific set of tests. ZA002 will focus on systems performance. Like its predecessor, ZA001, this airplane successfully completed a rigorous series of tests while still in the factory. And again, I have to mention what a team effort it has been to get to this point as we build progress on the program.

So with ZA002 now out on the field, it’s two down, four to go.

With the Paris Air Show, one day behind us, four more to go!

Comments (5)

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Very nice to see the first 787 in a customer livery, the plane looks very good in the ANA livery, I cant wait until we get a view of the completed cabin and flight deck.

I am happy that the first 747-8 is in the stages of final assembly, I cannot wait to see the roll out of the first all new 747 designed in the twenty-first century.

Norm Sicard (Bear, DE, USA):

I still remember looking at a 707 fly above the house when I was a kid on its way to the Dorval Airport (YUL) near Montréal Québec, Canada when I was a kid. I can't wait to see the 787 in the sky!

Sharon (Long Beach, California, United States):

I was fortunate enough to be selected for the "Emergent Need Change Notices Backlog" effort on the 787 Dreamliner March 2008 through September 2008.

It is so exciting to see the progress made, and would definitely love to be in Everett to witness the First Flight. Keep up the great work Everett Team and Foreign Partners! It was quite an experience (challenge) to get the Change Notice backlog down to 400-plus from the 700-plus backlog during my 6-month support in Everett! Thanks for the memories!

abe (Paris):

I didn't expect to see the 787 in Paris without a first flight in Everett before.

But the 787 is delayed, for structural issues. I can't believe that Scott Carson wasn't aware of this problem in Paris.

Bob Fitts (Kailua-Kona, Hawaii):

So disappointed in Boeing on this one. Really trying to cheer you guys on, but this 5th delay on 787 has taken away the determination. Hope you guys make it through this one. Don't blame Virign, or Qatar Airways, or any of the others.....I'd be thinking about going to Airbus myself. I really hope the Unions and Management can change how they work together, WAKE UP YOU GUYS, YOU ARE KILLING EACH OTHER!!!!!! The strike in the fall has come back to bite!

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