The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flies

It’s Wednesday and I think we all need a break from the problems of this industry. Let’s forget about looming strikes, delayed deliveries, red ink, etc and simply focus on the wonders of flight. The 787 finally slipped the surly bonds of Earth yesterday, and it was a beautiful sight. Here’s a shot from Boeing.

Boeing 787 First Flight

Take a look at that wing flex. Pretty crazy, huh? The 787 doesn’t look nearly as mean as it did in its initial renderings, but it’s still a very nice-looking airplane. Those massive Rolls Royce engines do seem disproportional to the body though. (GE ones begin testing soon.) Then again, they need those bad boys to save gas and fly further.

Fortunately, it didn’t just take to the air, but it also came back down and landed safely. The flight lasted only about 3 hours; it was cut short due to weather. This is just the beginning of a long road ahead. First deliveries to launch customer ANA are still probably a year away.

If you didn’t see the live webcast from Boeing or the countless images from the media, take a look at this video of the flight from David at AirlineReporter.com.

If you really want to follow the details, you have to follow FlightBlogger. He has plenty of videos and info over there.

Congratulations to all those who have worked on this airplane around the globe. It must be an incredible feeling to see your work take flight.


21 Responses to The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flies

  1. Neil S says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but why is the wing flex so extreme? It does look cool, but what does it do?

    • henrychan says:

      It’s harder to break and also, act as a suspension so it will be more stable in turbulance ( even though might scare some passenger that doesn’t know what is wing flex :) )

  2. CF says:

    Neil S wrote:

    Forgive my ignorance, but why is the wing flex so extreme? It does look cool, but what does it do?

    Here is a discussion on the topic in the Airliners.net Tech Ops form:
    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/253605/1/

  3. David SFeastbay says:

    Didn’t Boeing promise the plane would take flight before the end of 2009? Cutting it close it seems, did they rush things along to keep that goal?

    The next year will be the real test for Boeing. They know how to make a plane take off and land and fly around the Seattle area, now can they make good on what this plane can do in the ‘real’ world.

    I’ll say one thing, it nicer looking then the ugly A380. Guess I’ll get slapped down for saying that……lol

  4. Andrew says:

    @ David SFeastbay:
    Well, it’s easy to not look like an overstuffed Twinkie with wings when your goal is not to make a plane big enough to carry a small city’s worth of people. ;)

    ++ to your comment, Neil: Regardless of the technical reasons (of which I’m sure there are many, and I’ll be reading your link, Cranky, once I complete this message) but the amount of wing flex visible in that takeoff video is really wild — the plane looks like a model held by two strings, one attached at the tip of each wing. It gives this very real visual effect of the plane “sagging” while being held aloft by some invisible force (which I suppose is true, if you think about it… I’ve just never seen a plane so visibly reflect that). Really fascinating.

  5. Oliver says:

    > I’ll say one thing, it nicer looking then the ugly A380

    Which, of course, is the key selection criteria for airline executives and passengers looking for that bargain flight to Paris ;)

  6. Allan says:

    I hear the windows are bigger on the 787 due to composite materials. Does anyone know how much bigger? Are we talking about a half an inch to an inch or something significant?

  7. This is why I love sitting at a window seat in the airplane and staring at the windows. Watching an airplane move into being supported by the air is amazing, even more so when its a new plane..

  8. errNicholas Barnard wrote:
    and staring at the windows.
    and staring out the windows at the airport.

  9. Nate says:

    > I’ll say one thing, it nicer looking then the ugly A380

    I’ve thought all along it’s just the “five head”. It looks way more bad ass with the cockpit windows higher: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44713188@N05/4190909274/

  10. David SFeastbay says:

    Nate wrote:

    > I’ll say one thing, it nicer looking then the ugly A380
    I’ve thought all along it’s just the “five head”. It looks way more bad ass with the cockpit windows higher: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44713188@N05/4190909274/

    You’re right it does look better with the cockpit windows higher…..lol
    That was good.

  11. Bobber says:

    It’s a beautiful plane and I can’t wait to fly in one………

    presuming UA are still solvent in 6 yrs time when they’re supposed to be delivered.

    Hope these RR Trent’s don’t have dodgy pipes that freeze the fuel over the arctic.

  12. CF says:

    David SFeastbay wrote:

    Didn’t Boeing promise the plane would take flight before the end of 2009? Cutting it close it seems, did they rush things along to keep that goal?

    They did promise by the end of the year, but that was after a lot of delays. I don’t think this was rushed.

    David SFeastbay wrote:

    I’ll say one thing, it nicer looking then the ugly A380. Guess I’ll get slapped down for saying that……lol

    I’m with you on this. Nate’s hit it on the head. It looks like a dolphin with those low windows.

    Oliver wrote:

    Which, of course, is the key selection criteria for airline executives and passengers looking for that bargain flight to Paris ;)

    Actually, I believe the Air France selection criteria was national pride. *ducking*

    Allan wrote:

    I hear the windows are bigger on the 787 due to composite materials. Does anyone know how much bigger? Are we talking about a half an inch to an inch or something significant?

    They’re a LOT bigger. Take a look at this photo. I assume that’s still current.
    http://boeing.com/commercial/gallery/787/K64262-04.html

  13. Rob Marais says:

    CF wrote:

    Neil S wrote:
    Forgive my ignorance, but why is the wing flex so extreme? It does look cool, but what does it do?
    Here is a discussion on the topic in the Airliners.net Tech Ops form:
    http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/tech_ops/read.main/253605/1/

    And I do remember (as a child, mind you) seeing the engines bobbing every which way on a 707 in turbulence, so what seems like crazy flex on a Boeing isn’t so unnatural to me. The airliners.net thread gets very techie in spots, but addresses the wing flex issue well. Now let’s hope Boeing makes sure the wings stay attached to the main fuselage =\

  14. Absolutely amazing when you consider the time frame it has taken us to develop planes like these. I wonder what we will all be flying with in 15 years time!

    Aaron

  15. Andrew says:

    Aaron Schubert wrote:

    Absolutely amazing when you consider the time frame it has taken us to develop planes like these. I wonder what we will all be flying with in 15 years time!
    Aaron

    Well, I suspect Delta will still be flying all those DC-9’s… (ducking)

    :D

  16. @ Allan:
    What is the amount % of composite on this airplane?

  17. Oliver says:

    @Cranky – re Air France and national pride: I am sure you know that AF has a mixed fleet, including 747 and 777 aircraft. The same is true for, say, Lufthansa and BA. Seems ultimately they are all driven by the need for having the right aircraft available for their missions… And maybe also by the desire to be able to negotiate better deals by not committing all-out to one vendor, though some might argue an exclusivity agreement might get the likes of CO better prices, and I certainly don’t have any particular insights into that, beyond the regular FT posts from arm chair CEOs.

  18. CF says:

    Oliver wrote:

    @Cranky – re Air France and national pride: I am sure you know that AF has a mixed fleet, including 747 and 777 aircraft.

    There’s no question that they benefit to some extent from having a mixed fleet, but my guess is that you wouldn’t see Air France interested in A380s without the French connection to Airbus. The A350? Sure.

  19. It’s a beautiful plane and the wing flex just adds another element to it’s beauty.
    I hope Boeing sells thousands of them, creating more jobs in the U.S. (and admittedly elsewhere as well).

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