787 flyover

Crowds along Seattle’s Lake Washington got a thrill over the weekend when ZA003 flew over the annual summer event known as Seafair.


The 787 Dreamliner over Seattle and Lake Washington on Sunday.

It’s a bit of a tradition. Nearly every Boeing commercial airplane has flown over Seafair.

As you may recall, back in August 1955 (55 years ago almost to the day), Boeing test pilot “Tex” Johnston put the 707 prototype Dash 80 into a couple of barrel rolls over Lake Washington during the show.


Boeing Test and Evaluation pilot Capt. Mike Bryan (r) gave the crew of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels a tour of the Dreamliner during Seafair weekend.

About 200 787 employees and their families (including 787 V.P. and general manager Scott Fancher) watched and cheered the flyover on the shore.

A great sight, that if you’re lucky enough to live or work in south Seattle, you do get to see quite often as Dreamliners take off and return from Boeing Field during ongoing flight testing.

Speaking of Dreamliners, I thought I’d give you a look inside one of the other airplanes in the flight test fleet, ZA001.

In this 3-minute video, Flight Test director Scott Peterson points out some of the test equipment inside the first 787. As he says, and as you’ll see, it’s not your typical airliner interior.

Comments (17)


Now if only we had a video of the 787 commemorating Tex's barrel roll with one of its own!

Capt. Pamela Mitchell-Almand (Atlantic Beach, FL USA):

Though on long-term disability right now, I hope to get back to work before retirement age simply to fly captain on the Dreamliner...I was privileged to fly 747 captain for Northwest before a couple of premature hip replacements grounded me for awhile, but I do hope to get back!

Now I've resurrected a career in professional voiceover work (www.thecaptainsvoice.com) and would love to do some vo for Boeing! Gonna have to be the next best thing to flying for now. Listen to my demos on my website and put me to work, Randy! Perhaps in Boeing video narration or web narration, I can vicariously "check out" on the 787!
Pam Mitchell-Almand
The Captain's Voice

Andy R (Renton, Wa):

Nice pictures, Randy. Maybe some of us old timers would have appreciated a couple barrel rolls this time as well.

Keep up the good work.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Originally I thought the water in the tanks where just to simulate the weight of passengers and cargo, I did not account for the weight and balance of the different equipment used for flight testing.

I still remember watching the Boeing Dash 80 do a barrel roll over the Seafair show while watching Wings later Weekday Wings on the Discovery Channel, it was surreal to watch.

Grace F. Hsu (Kirkland, WA):

The 787 flight test video is very informative! I know 787 will be a very successful airplane and 787 will bring prosperity to Boeing!

Susan Leggett (Everett, WA 98201):

This plane is sleek gorgeous and cool. Wondering if it might not be a prime candidate for a "James Bond" movie. How might I get someone to consider that?

Scott Wagner (Wichita, KS):

Beautiful airplane! This program has come so far. My confidence in Boeing engineers is boundless. I guess this confidence leads to day dreaming: I've long thought that the best way to boost public confidence in the terrific skill and abilities of Boeing's engineering and operations, to dispel any lingering doubt about the strength of the new composite materials, or to highlight the viability of the new manufacturing processes, would be to roll one of the test 787's before first delivery, just like good 'ole Tex did with the Dash 80.

Too risky yes, but wouldn't modern simulation tools available to our test community mitigate some of it? Imagine: It could be done once at altitude and filmed, then the video could be released to go viral on the internet.

We'd be seeing the documentary footage on Wings and YouTube for decades to come, and cited as evidence of the Boeing's new ascendancy and spirit. Of course there is no engineering value in performing the roll. But to the non-aviation savvy public, it would seem like a miracle of flight. It would display a kind of exuberant American spirit that could buoy the morale of the company's employees and indeed of all people who believe in American ingenuity and expertise.

Wasn't it Airbus who snidely said at the Farnborough Air Show that "Boeing brings their planes and parks them. We fly ours." Of course it would be prohibited by the FAA, seen as a risky cowboy move by the "Street" which would hurt our shareholder value, be seen as outright stupid by the test community, and be completely outside the bounds of any rational logic or Boeing process. Like I said, it's a day dream. Keep up the good work, team! "If it's not Boeing, I'm not going!"

R. Kagamaster (Seal Beach, CA):

In case anyone is interested, here's a short YouTube video interview with Tex doing that infamous barrel roll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vHiYA6Dmws&feature=related

Santhosh Mathews (Auburn, 17-66, QA Lab):

Thanks for showing how much effort to put to make it to reality. I was excited to see when you showed all the equipment on board. Hope one day i will be able to see this test with my own eyes.

Please give my sincere thanks to the people behind this project.

Nancy (Houston, TX):

Enjoyed the video! Go 787 Team!

Andrew W. (Seattle, WA):

Good job Boeing for exercising caution and responsibility.

I'm one of those who sees the 787's flying in an out of Boeing field almost on a daily basis. What a graceful aircraft!

J. F. Weymouth (Everett, WA):

You know, Scott Wagner has a really great idea. When Tex rolled the Dash 80 it was the dawn of the jet age and Boeing's market dominance. That "stunt" brought the name "Boeing" to the world's attention. The 787 is the first real change to large commercial passenger aircraft since then. After all we've been through the past couple of years, a "victory roll" celebrating the first customer delivery just seems appropriate to show the world that Boeing is back on top with the best product flying. I'll bet our advertising agency could make a TV ad that would instantly erase all the bad publicity we've received over our schedule delays, engineering and partner problems. Let's go for it!

George (Grand Rapids, MI):

Tex for president!

Jim Howell (Wichita):

Probably the reason a roll is not done is there is no wisdom gained from such a maneuver. Marketing...maybe???

As Tex said, it does not stress the jet when a 1g maneuver is performed. I believe the risk would be very low especially when compared to the required flutter testing, stalls, wind up turns, stability & control testing, and many more that take the airplane to the edge of flight (and sometimes beyond). Boeing definately knows how to stress test an airliner! However, I do agree that a roll would be fun to see. :-0

Jean K (Seattle, WA):

Great article and comments. The primary reason for not taking the 787 for a roll is there are FAA guidelines. In order for Seattle's annual Seafair festival to continue we are guided by many rules. #1 is Safety. FAA currently will not allow the roll. As a second generation Boeing employee I would love to see the 787 or any other Boeing aircraft do the roll! Come on FAA you might enjoy it :-)

Jason C (Everett, Wa):

Not to say that we don't need the FAA, or the FCC, or any other goverment regulation agency that does nothing but spoil our fun for the most part, but come on! It's Boeing's new toy! Let them take it out of the box and play with it!

Oleg (Suffield, CT):

Randy, I have been checking your blog regularly and enjoy your articles along with the wit. Excellent source of information directly from Boeing.

During my recent trip to the Seattle area, I drove out to see the 787 at KBFI. I saw 3 of the 787 parked by the hangar. Unfortunately, I arrived at 12:30 PM, just after BOE1 & BOE5 landed and did not stay long enough to see BOE1 take off again (see links of the actual flight activity).


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