Fly me away

Three hours in the air = aviation history.

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ZA001 flew over the east end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker and Captain Randy Neville took the 787 to 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) and an air speed of 180 knots, or about 207 mph (333 kph).

I was lucky enough to be at Paine Field in Everett Tuesday morning to experience this moment in time. At 10:27 a.m. PST we saw history made. I say “we” because it was me and more than 12,000 employees and our guests on the ground, and hundreds of thousands around the world watching on the Web.

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A shot I managed to get with my own camera at the moment we watched the Dreamliner fly away.

It’s been a long road leading to this day. Soon we’ll be flying 6 flight test Dreamliners nearly around the clock.

But for now it’s a time to share some amazing images, and to celebrate a successful first flight.

Comments (32)

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

I can't wait to see this bird in various airline liveries. Also, I am looking forward to -3, -9, and even -10!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

What a great day seeing the 787 take off and land after the last study day of a successful semester.

Seeing the 787 fly today was like an early Christmas present for me as well as a tribute to the hard work done by those who design, engineer, build and fly the airplane.

Bill (Rhode Island):

Sure is pretty.
Congratulations.

Mickey Kopanski (Las Vegas, NV):

Looks AWESOME! Finally great to see it flying...

matthew nuzzo (auburn):

randy, great first flight,, why did they not retract the landing gear ???

Thiagarajan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia):

Thanks for the wonderful images and your shot looks good too.

Chris Johnson (Renton Washington):

Wow, the inflight pictures look like paintings. In fact, they look totally edited with photoshop.

However, I know they are real, and it is a truly amazing looking airplane. When she climbed off the runway, her wings showed us how flexible they are. I am still amazed at the wing flex. What a beautiful airplane, and congrats to the men and women who made this day possible. The unions should also be very proud of today. Stop the outsourcing! This story should have been published years ago!

Mustafa M. Hussain (Pakistan):

Bravo Boeing and its entire team!!!! Proud to be part of such a wonderful team....

John (Oslo,Norway):

A new bird in the skies! Best of luck with the flight test programme.

Adolfo (Hong Kong):

What a take off! I loved that sight. Now who said it was a seven late seven?

It is a seven great seven!!! Eat your heart out Airbus.

I congratulate the design team. They certainly lit up my morning.

P.Sumantri (France):

I witnessed several first flights on this side of the Atlantic. When you see the aircraft leaves the ground, it is a very intense moment even if your contribution in the project is extremely small.

Please allow me to compare the first flight to the birth of a baby. After a long gestation period the baby is at last in the free air. I can imagine the joy of the parents listening to her first roar.

Like for a baby, the work is not finished at birth. So, there is still much work to do before the 787 becomes airlines' workhorse during the next several decades.

Congratulations, bonne continuation and bon courage.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

So incredibly beautiful, certainly more so than I ever expected! Definitely had to fly for me to see that. And the wing flex is incredle! Thank you for sharing.

Robert (Vancouver B.C. Canada):

Randy,

Watched the live coverage of the first flight from the Seattle TV stations Tuesday morning here in Vancouver. Any chance in the future of one of the test planes flying over Vancouver? ( in the daylight). As you know we are only 60 miles away!! or the Abottsford Airshow next August.

With that being said. In the future I would like to take the short drive down
I-5 to Paine Field and watch one of the test planes take off and land. Will all the test planes end up at Boeing Field in Seattle after leaving Everett or will some planes stay in Everett.

Good to see her in the air and flying. Congratulations to everyone at Boeing.

Another question if you have the time? How many commerical airports world wide can land a 747 compared to airports that are set up for A380. It is my understanding that SeaTac and some other airports aren't investing in upgrades for the A380 as they will get very few or no scheduled flights for the A380 to justify the spending cost.

Vancouver International (YVR) over the past few years added 2 boarding areas along with runway improvements for the A380. But given the few airlines that will have the A380 and only a couple of them fly into Vancouver.
I can't see them using that plane for a regular service, when they are using 747's, 777's, A340's year round, which is a good size plane for the market volume in this area.

Lex (Manila, Philippines):

A proud moment for Boeing's newest commercial airplane. Looking forward to flying on this one and seeing it take off and land here in Manila.

John D (Ireland):

Great shots, good luck with the test program and keep the updates coming.

Chris C (South Africa):

Congratulations on the successful first flight of the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner!

The super-efficient jetliner era has officially begun with the 787’s first flight! Seven hundred and eighty seven cheers for the world’s most advanced commercial airplane, the beautiful 787!

Bobbie Millage (Sequim, WA):

It was so wonderful to see the 787 during Flight Testing over the straits. I felt like I had a front row seat and spoke to other Boeing employees while it was out there. All Boeing employees should be proud.

M (Oklahoma):

I work in IDS but I watched the 787 take-off over the web. Our team was so excited! Congratulations!

Steve Powell (Seattle, WA):

Great Accomplishment, Boeing! We are proud and excited to bring many more visitors up for the tour of the Assembly Plant and Future of Flight Exhibit Center in 2010! toursnorthwest.com

Ron B (Mesa, AZ, USA):

Congrats to the entire 787 program team in making sure everything was safe and good to go for the 1st flight! It was an awesome sight to see the newest aircraft make such a smooth departure and return.

I do have one question for you Randy. During the whole proceeding and successful departure, and the pictures you have here, I noticed there is an object trailing the top part of the aircraft's tail. What is that object?

Now the 787 team's focus is to continue the success on all future 787 aircraft!

----

Ron,

Well, that object you noticed is a trailing cone. During flight test, this provides an independent source of air data to calculate speed and altitude. Thanks for asking!

-- Randy Tinseth

Gloria (Huntington Beach, CA):

WOW! It gave all of us who saw it a sense of pride that the 787 has finally made the leap into the skies:):)

I don't work on airplanes, but to those who made this & ALL Boeing jets successful CONGRATS!

This would have happend a long time ago IF Boeing had been smart & NOT outsourced this beautiful airplane! I Hope the money Boeing lost on the 787 will in fact make those in command smart enough to know that BOEING EMPLOYEES are the ones who should be building ALL Boeing airplanes. Their past success should count for something.

Globalization is too costly to our American economy; we're giving away our technology & jobs!

Trade, yes, however it MUST be done wisely, with forethought & planning!

Again, CONGRATULATIONS to ALL who SAVED this project!

Ashley Palmer (Edwards AFB CA):

WOW! A great day. Congratulations to Boeing, BCA and especially to those on the 787 program. All those years of work, the setbacks and the sacrifices will now fade into insignificance.

Ludo Van Vooren (Reston, VA, USA):

Congratulations on a fantastic accomplishment. Days like this distinguish our industry from all the others because everyone watches and marvels. Not just at the feat of your team, but at that of man's enginuity.

You should capitalize on this to inspire new generations to join Aerospace and share these dreams. Here are four suggestions: http://ow.ly/MKkt

Keep up the good work!

Barry (Seattle):

"Look at those wings! That's awesome!!"

...that's what I keep hearing from everyone who watched the flight!

Andrew Boydston (Caldwell, ID):

Congratulations to you and all Boeing employees and partners. I was very excited for you during this event. It reminded me of several events I have witnessed in my lifetime. The Apollo missions, Space shuttle and yes MT St Helens (I was camping near there on May 18th 1980). This one resembles those historic events in emotion and the flights represent the technology proven. Many have called this advancement in earth bound flight technology, the most significant since the monoplane development after the wright brothers experiment. What a smooth landing!! "Better than butter".

Do you have a photo with wheels up? I heard they did that cycle once during flight to test systems. Please post that photo if you are able. Thank you for opening up your world and sharing it with all us out here in fly over country. Someday, my dream is to fly on this fantastic aircraft. Competitors are trying a knock off model but this is the original that will not use half measures. "Bigger is not better, Better is Better".

Mike (St. Louis):

I'm glad to see the new girl finally spread her wings and get off the ground. I can't help but wonder what other series of flight tests we can expect to see in the coming months, to test out the systems at their fullest potential in the air.

For instance, the photographs indicate a flight altitude of only 15,000 ft. and the landing gear appears to be extended in all of the pictures I've seen of the maiden flight. I'd like to see this plane pushed to over 300 knots, 30 or 40,000 ft minimum altitude (to fully depressurize the outside of the fuselage at high altitude flight), and to maybe put this baby through some barrel rolls or a loopty-loop like rumored on the P8-A development. Last, but not least, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to see a photo of her flying with the landing gear stowed in the bays.

I'm still interested in knowing if the rumored turbulence dampening system was successfully integrated and tested in the 787. (I'd fly solely on this bird if that system is actually in place.)

I'm glad to see that America can still build something of beauty, with quality and pride. Let's continue to demonstrate to the world what a world class company can do. Good job.

Steve Moller (Snohomish, WA):

Randy,

Congratulations to Boeing! Glad to see the 787 finally in the air. I hope the production problems are in the past and the 787 proves successful for the Pacific Northwest and Boeing.

C S Kumar (Kharagpur, West Bengal, India):

Congrats to Boeing to have flying aircraft having airframe with new generation materials (composites).

I am not sure if the 1st test flight was allowed to have wheels up configuration. Usually all first flight trials are with gear down condition throughout the flight. Airbus did it that way - if Boeing (/ FAA allows) such interesting trials (with gear up in 1st flight itself), it will be nice for the community to know.

I guess the picture shown may be of a subsequent test flight.

-----

C.S.,

Check out the Volare post. There you will see an air-to-air photo of the 787 with gear up. And that is indeed from the first flight.

Thanks!

-- Randy Tinseth

Jari V (Finland):

Great and historical flight. But also the online following arrangements in web were great! Thanks for that. It was almost like standing in the field. And it was exciting.

Gregory Schmitz (Anchorage, AK USA):

Its a shame that the men and women who made this actually work (many union) are getting the short end of the stick while Boeing moves its factory to Charleston South Carolina.

Of course when a Hurricane takes the place off line, they will be asking the Everett Factory to make up the lost production.

Azamiruddin (Kedah, Malaysia):

The meaning of term 'aviation' has changed at the moment the main gears separate with tarmac.

Intercontinental flight will never be the same again, people will never again look at aeroplanes as a waste of money.

David Lashmore (Lebanon, New Hampshire):

Concerning the Battery Problem:

If the temperature in the battery box is too low, then the expected charging mode might change dramatically to lithium deposition and subsequent dendrite formation shorting the cells. Hope this helps.

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