Dreamliner at Farnborough

FARNBOROUGH - Quiet. It’s not a word you typically use to describe the scene at a major international air show.

But that was the word, as we kicked things off at Farnborough. By quiet, I mean that was my impression of the 787 Dreamliner as it approached and touched down at Farnborough Airport Sunday morning just after 9:00.


ZA003 on approach to Farnborough ..


.. and touchdown!

People who gathered here to witness the landing could not believe how the airplane sounded. Whisper quiet, in my opinion.

And then the noise began - as the international stage welcomed the 787. It’s the first overseas journey for the Dreamliner, having flown nonstop from Seattle.


The 787 Dreamliner ZA003 at the Farnborough International Airshow.

ZA003 is the flight test Dreamliner that has a partial passenger interior with some economy style seating and some functioning interior items such as electronically dimmable windows.

We gave tours to media and VIP guests Sunday and I think it’s fair to say our visitors couldn’t get over the size of the windows, the new bins and other Dreamliner innovations.


Captains Mike Bryan (from left) and Ted Grady join Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Jim McNerney, Boeing chairman and CEO, in welcoming dignitaries and media aboard the airplane.

I boarded the airplane at around 10:15 and didn’t get off until around 2:25. That’s more than 4 hours inside the airplane without a break. But I loved every minute of it.

From the media I got a lot of questions about 787 schedules and deliveries, naturally.


As part of my day on ZA003 I got to meet with dignitaries from the U.S. and U.K. Here I’m chatting with U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

By the way, as people visited the airplane on Sunday, and during the next two days at the show, we’re reminding them that while ZA003 is the only flight test airplane with an interior, it is still most definitely a flight test interior - not a customer configuration.

In fact, the seats we have in this airplane aren’t even available as an option to airlines - they don’t match up to our requirements for style or design. But, they do allow us to properly test the fittings and attachments. That’s true of almost all of the interior installations on this airplane.

Finally, take a look at a couple of shots of the preps before ZA003 departed Seattle:


Over the weekend we got ZA003 ready for Farnborough - a good cleaning in preparation for its first trip abroad.


Flight test airplanes work hard and sometimes that shows. We thought a good bath was in order.

ZA003 will leave the show on Tuesday afternoon. As I said, it is still very much a flight test airplane and has a lot of work yet to do.

About a dozen people traveled on the airplane to conduct testing during the flight and I can tell you that the flying time to Farnborough and back to Seattle will have been put to good use toward our testing requirements.

Comments (12)

Lisa McNerney (Wilmette, IL United States):

Great post, Randy!!
I follow your blog...
Just saw my dad for coffee when he was back in town Friday night briefly before heading to the UK Saturday morning. Thanks for the photos.

Daniel Murray (Lynnwood ,Washington):

I enjoy your posts, Being a student at the Washington aerospace research and training center I crave all things aero, I love the detailed forecasts !!!!!!!!!
Have a great trip!!!!!!!!!

Robin Mason (St. Louis, MO):


I think it's great when the CEO's daughter is following what's going on with Boeing. Keep blogging. I also find it refreshing that you obviously have a good relationship with your father.

The Dreamliner will set the stage for better things to come. It's fascinating to say the least.

Thiagarajan K Rengasamy (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia):

Very impressive to see 787 in Farnborough. All the Best! and hope to see it fly to Malaysia too.

Michael T Sheary (Everett,Wa.):


I enjoyed reading your comments, as well as Randy's blog.

I have to tell you I had an opportunity to fly on ZA003 last month for a nine hour test flight.

What an experience of a life time..I have been with this program from the beginning and this was the highlight of my 24 year Boeing career. This plane flew beautiful and super quiet.

David Tilzer (Renton, Washington):

I really appreciate your blog. It is so exciting to see your coverage of Farnborough. For those of us that can't be there, it's great to be kept informed of whats going on. Great Blog! Great Airplanes! Great Company! Great People making it all happen!

Thank you :-)

Mike (Kirkland, WA):

It is so awesome to see the 787 in the UK. That low approach fly-by was one of the greatest that I've ever seen.

The airplane is so beautiful. Being in flight test, and being on flights that have gone to nearly 12+ hours long, you can feel a difference in the increased humidity and lower cabin pressure altitude, in that the 787 is very comfortable, even after long flights.

It continues to amaze me how beautiful it is to look out the huge windows and see the beautiful wing sweep during flight. The 787 is a true winner, and I look forward to many decades of service.

Phil (Wokingham Berkshire UK):

Quiet yes, so that would be down to her splendid RR power plants.

Understanding the reasons why, it's good to see her on static display but it would have been a real coup to have had her participating in the display programme.

She looks fine as does your show stand, enjoy our show.

Jason Yuhara (Everett, WA):

Great stuff and of course our orders should reflect the creativity and ability of our program and team. This is a great milestone in a "plastic plane" and can only hope that we can lean our quality processes in the future so that we can create greater opportunities with better plane achievements in technologies.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Great shots of the 787, I think the 787 will be the number one star at the Farnborough Airshow as it is the newest airliner and many people are seeing the 787 in real life for the first time.

Mercy Rurii (Nairobi, KENYA):

At last she flies!!!! Looks like a giant smiling dolphin! Now if you could only make her cross one other sea and get to NBO!!!!

Dr. Lisa Kearney (San Fransisco, CA):

Yes! I was the Flight Test Engineering Operations Flight Test Manager of ZA003. I assured ZA003 would proudly defeat all odds and represent the Boeing Company at the 2010 Farnborough Air Show. Arriving at Farnborough on time was the only test milestone on the 787 test program that met a schedule.

Dr. Lisa Kearney
Former Boeing Employee

Post a comment

We welcome your comments. However all comments are moderated and may not post immediately. Offensive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not treat any comments you submit as confidential information. Please do not submit comments that contain any confidential information belonging to anyone else.

By submitting a comment to Randy's Journal, you agree to our site terms and privacy policy, and to having your name displayed with your comment. All or part of your comment may be posted or cited in the blog. Your name and personal information will not be used for any other purpose, and we will not publish your e-mail address.


More posts