Learn to fly

CALGARY - I’m in Canada for the next few days meeting with media. I’ll have more about that later in the week. But I wanted to share a bit about a significant event back home.

Last Thursday we officially launched 787 pilot training at our Boeing Training & Flight Services campus in Seattle, with a media day and public unveiling of the 787 full-flight simulator.


The 787 full flight simulator in action.

All Nippon Airways (ANA), our launch customer for the 787, is set to begin training - and that will mark an important step toward getting the Dreamliner into service with our customers.

We’ve talked at length over the past several years about the breakthrough technology of the 787. Well, that extends to the way we’re going to train pilots and maintenance crews.

787 training is based around ultra-realistic simulation technology. We want to replicate the feel of flying the actual airplane.


During the media tour inside the 787 full flight simulator last Thursday Boeing Training & Flight Services pilot instructor Gregg Pointon adjusts the controls while Aviation Week’s Mike Mecham looks on.

We’ve incorporated real airplane data into the full-flight simulator (FFS), creating a more authentic representation of flight and maintenance scenarios.

And it’s not just for pilots. For instance, for maintenance training we have a 3-D virtual airplane so that mechanics can “walk around” the 787 and use the same tools and performance data they’d use on the flightline - without ever setting foot outside the classroom.

It’s been quite a journey getting 787 flight training underway. To get a real flavor of the process of assembling the simulator, check out the “put together quickly” video below. I think you’ll find it fascinating.

By the way, with the 787 we’ve moved to paperless training. That means no notebooks, heavy manuals or binders. It’s all digital - notes taken on tablet PCs, manuals stored on flash drives to take home after training, and electronic documentation made during sessions in the FFS for after-flight debriefings.

Another innovation is the ability for captains and first officers to learn to fly the 787 on a flight training device (FTD) that replicates the real flight deck without the investment and infrastructure of a full flight simulator.

This device incorporates touch-screen panels and real flight deck hardware. It also uses the newly standardized electronic flight bag and the heads-up display. The FTD means pilots can do some of the training in a more cost-effective manner before moving to the full flight simulator.

Bottom line, yes, we’ve had our share of setbacks on the 787 program, but with pilot training getting underway we continue to make steady progress with our entry into service preparations.

Still to come: the launch of 787 training around the world - at Gatwick, Singapore and Tokyo later in the year.

Comments (5)

Thomas Horstmann (Portland, OR):

Wow, that looks like FUN! Where can I get a ticket? :)

Roy Thomas (Bronx, N.Y.):

I was wondering what is the cost of a Boeing 787/777
flight simulator? And can civilians experience the Boeing flight simulator?

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The ultimate "E" ticket for home flight simulator buffs. Despite delays it is never too early to train candidate pilots for the 787. Entry into service is only a few months away.

Iman (Jakarta):

Wow.... I want to learn to fly a Boeing through the flight simulator... :)

Brian McDaniel (Seattle USA):

Too Hip! That really puts my FSX and CH controls to shame. I can't wait for another open house or whatever to "FLY" that one too.

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