Paths to first flight

LE BOURGET, FRANCE - We heard from Pat Shanahan on Tuesday at the Paris Air Show. Pat is the vice president of Airplane Programs for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

He had a lot to share, including updates for the 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8 - two important development programs on the paths to first flight.


Pat Shanahan at the Tuesday press briefing at Le Bourget.

I sat in on Pat’s presentation and as expected a lot of questions focused on the 787. When will first flight take place? When will Airplane # 2 fly? Pat had a good followup to what Scott Carson said yesterday, when he told reporters, “It won’t be flying tomorrow .. or Sunday. But thereafter.”

Yes, we’re getting closer to 787 first flight. And I want to share with you a video that Pat presented that I think really captures the building excitement around the Dreamliner as it gets ready for flight test.


The path to first flight - recent milestones for the 787 Dreamliner. Click on the image above to view the video.

But let’s not forget, the Dreamliner is not the only program gearing up for a first flight this year. The 747-8 Freighter is now more than 50% assembled in the factory in Everett. A second video takes you through the progress.


The 747-8 Freighter: Assembling the cargo market leader. Another new airplane is building toward first flight this year. Click above to view the video.

You can look over Pat Shanahan’s Paris presentation on our Boeing 2009 Paris Air Show Web site.

Tuesday was an extremely busy day. Interest in our industry among the media and investment analysts remains very high, and I can certainly say I spent the day running (sometimes literally) between interviews and meetings.


The A380 on its daily flying display, seen above the Boeing Chalet in the blue skies on Tuesday.

Unlike Monday, I didn’t have to dodge the rain. Tuesday was a beautiful sunny day here in Paris. But I’m guessing it will still take some time for my shoes to completely dry out.

Comments (7)

Vero Venia (France):

You wouldn't let test pilots fly the 787 for the first time in Seattle while Boeing executives are all in Paris, would you?

Don Harrington (Bellevue, WA):

Vero - I think you have helped determine when first flight will occur! Or at least, a limit to the first possible date. There's no way Boeing will have the first flight of such an important program without the top brass in attendance.

Larry (frederickson, Wa):

If first flight could be during the Paris Air Show..that would be awesome..

I would not care who's here .. let's just get it in the air...we can pat each others backs later...

P.Sumantri (France):

I can add that you don't want the first flight to happen in Seattle while all aerospace journalists are in Paris "busy lunching and dining".

My Blog: Vero Venia

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

I'm glad then that air shows don't take place on the 31st of December. ;) With regards that first flight - will we be informed of a viewing date (i.e. live feed here as with the rollout) - getting the bandwidth ready!

Being playing catch-up on 747-8 developments - looking good. It's a good sign the effort there. Mr. Mohammed Yahyavi has the best job in the world right now.

Props for the Airbus A380-800 shot there.


One more thing. Tomorrow June 18th, the USA takes on Brazil in some Confederations Cup action. The game starts at 12h00 GMT. Should be a cracker - enjoy!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States.):

Nice videos of the first assembly of the 747-8 and the power up and the gauntlet testing of the 787.

The Paris Air Show is the greatest airshow for civil aviation, wish I was there.

martin nix (everett):

Another airplane fuel: tumbleweeds. The seeds are very flammable, and if a method can be made to harvest the lowly tumbleweeds, economically, it could in fact be another source of oil. The seeds contain a very pure and clean oil, that literally flashes when burned. This could be perfected to become another clean source of aircraft fuel, plus clean up a bad environmental hazard in the Southwest.

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