There has been so much excitement about seeing the first Boeing 787 take off and even the second. Now it is time for the third Dreamliner to get some attention. This morning I was invited to see the third Boeing 787 Dreamliner up close and personal. Besides Boeing staff and a few guest airlines, this was the first time outsiders have been allowed to see what’s so special on the inside. Boeing has never invited media on a test plane like this before and they made it clear that this was a still a testbed and wasn’t the final product.
It was exciting walking up the stairs of the third Dreamliner. The first thing I noticed when walking in was space. Yes, many of the seats were missing, but it seemed tall and roomy. I was quick to move over to the windows and try the electronic dimmers. Instead of shades, you are able to push a button and dim the window from clear to very dark. This is something that will likely entertain children (and aviation nerds) for a few hours on a flight. Getting up to see the flight deck was awesome. The display screens were much larger than I thought and the heads up display was an exciting addition. They even had a 787 Dreamliner emblem on the ceiling, which was a nice touch.
This Boeing 787 test plane only had a few economy seats for us to preview, no Business or First class ones. Boeing will provide a catalog of seats for airlines to choose from. Airlines must choose out of the Boeing catalog for economy seats, but do not for Business Class.
Most of the plane was lit in white, although the front had a nice blue glow to it. Boeing will suggest to airlines that they have the lights on blue when passengers load, since studies show it gives the feeling of space . They also suggest airlines go brighter for meal services, since food looks better when well lit (not sure if peanuts do though).
In the front and rear of the aircraft are crew bunk areas. The bunk areas are located above in the ceiling and have some narrow stairs to get access. They make me think of summer camp, but they at least provide an area away from the passengers where the crew can rest.
One surprisingly neat part of the Boeing 787 was the lavatories. If you wave your hand in front of the sensor, they will flush and the seat will close. They also have a very spacious feel with the ability to customize the lighting.
The Dreamliner is an amazing aircraft. Even non-aviation nerds should feel a stark difference flying on this aircraft versus others. I think most people were impressed even with this pre-production model. I can’t wait to see her fully decked out.
Some other great coverage of today:
* Check out Mary Kirby’s coverage over at RunwayGirl
* Video of the dimming windows and around the cabin from KOMO4
* Photos + Video from KING5 (check out -00:23 on the video. Yea that’s me with video camera in my mouth…oops)
* Harriet Baskas looks at the Dreamliner Gallery, then the interior
* Slide show from KIRO7
* Photos from the Seattle PI
* Things with Wings Guy Norris has great photos of the window tinting