A model of the Boeing 787 outside the Visitor Center in South Carolina. Check out the wing-like roof.
This is a guest post written by Drew Vane for AirlineReporter.com:
I recently visited a Boeing Factory. No, I’m not talking about Renton or Everett, but in South Carolina.
Covering almost 11 football fields and completed in mid 2011, Boeing’s “other” factory for manufacturing the new 787 Dreamliner is located in North Charleston, South Carolina on property bordering Charleston International Airport and Joint Base Charleston. I had the opportunity to stop by during a business trip recently and let me tell you, this facility is impressive. According to Boeing’s web site, “Boeing South Carolina fabricates, assembles and installs systems for aft (rear) fuselage sections of the 787 Dreamliner and joins and integrates mid-body sections from other partners.”
These partners include companies located in India and Japan. While I wasn’t able to tour the facility during my trip, I did take a short visit to the visitor’s facility and grabbed some pics of the lineup near the fence line. I just happened to miss the second 787 Dreamliner to depart for India by only one day. I also missed the departure of the Dreamlifter with its precious cargo bound for Seattle, but I hope to catch one in the future.
Some 787s on the tarmac at Boeing’s South Carolina facility. Image by Drew Vane.
Since green is the name of the game these days, Boeing designed this facility to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The final assembly building was fitted with solar panels that are capable of generating enough electricity to power 250 homes with a peak energy output equal to 200,000 13-watt watt bulbs. In addition, Boeing has a zero waste program where recycling and reuse is the norm, creating zero waste to landfills from the facility as a whole. Quite impressive for such a large manufacturing facility.
The visitor’s center unfortunately is for those with permission to enter the site. I had hoped to see a retail store, room full of Boeing paraphernalia and models for sale. It is too bad that the store is behind the fence, far from public eyes. The visitor center is more a front gate for those seeking security badges or meeting Boeing employees. They did have a very nice facility with a roof in the form of a 400-ft long wing, an outside small display with the history of Boeing, and a large scale model of the 787.
Boeing workers who built the facility
A very courteous Boeing employee was kind enough to talk with me as he was leaving for the day. Boeing’s Charleston facility is the only location currently in the world where the 787 tail assembly is manufactured. Boeing ships the tails to Everett where they’re assembled. Similar to Everett, all the parts are shipped here to Charleston for assembly. At the present time, Boeing’s manufacturing is only capable of producing one 787 per month. But, they hope to eventually ramp that up to one every six days, similar to the Everett Washington facility.
From public areas, I did spot some red tails (not the movie) in the lineup area and took a drive over, stopping outside the fence to snap a pic of the lineup. What an impressive sight! I was excited just to be in the same state as these fine aircraft. I cannot wait until my next visit.
United’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Paine Field.
Yesterday was a beautiful day at Paine Field to take a look at United Airline’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This was not a delivery ceremony, but a celebration that the aircraft (reg N20904) is out of the paint booth and one step closer to being delivered.
United is expecting to take delivery of their 787 sometime in September. The terminology used yesterday makes me think the plane might be delivered closer to the beginning of the month than the end — we shall see.
That darn Dreamlifter ruined our day (okay, it actually quite enhanced it).
I arrived to Paine Field at about 9am to check in. All the media had their equipment quickly sniffed by a Boeing security dog (one of the best parts of the event) and we took a short bus ride to the compass rose, where the airplane was waiting.
There was a tent set up where United employees, VIP mileage members, invited guests and media waited. Before the event officially started, the media was able to take photos of the Dreamliner. It was difficult to sit down to listen to the speeches — I was itching to get on board.
Hanging out with some United flight crew before boarding the 787.
During the speeches, United had some good things to say. David Hilfman, United Airlines senior VP of sales stated, “We have been awaiting this day for a while. And it has been worth every bit of the wait.” It is obvious that the airline is very excited about their new aircraft.
In the middle of the speeches, everyone was in awe, when a Boeing Dreamlifter took off in the background, to a cheering crowd.
This aircraft nose she is beautiful!
Soon, it was time to board. I have been lucky enough to get on JAL’s 787, Qatar’s and a few of ANA’s Dreamliners previously which puts me in a pretty good position to compare United’s interior versus the others.
Welcome on board — wait… where is the dramatic entry way?
My first surprise was the entry way. One of the things touted by Boeing about the Dreamliner is the ability to have a dramatic bar entry way (example of JAL’s). When boarding in the second set of doors on the United 787, you are greeted by one of the galleys, not an impressive entry way.
It isn’t bad and most passengers probably won’t notice, but it was a bit of a surprise. I talked to one of United’s VPs of Marketing and he explained the choice provides more space in the cabin. Read: probably a bean-counter’s decision to add more seats. It could be a smart move, since it is not clear yet how much these open bar areas will be used by passengers during flight on other airline’s Dreamliners.
United’s Business First product on the 787 Dreamliner.
After entering, I headed to check out the Business First product. There are 36 of the seats configured in a 2-2-2 layout. The product looked clean and for the few minutes I sat in the seat, it was comfortable. The non-shared armrest in each seat is able to be lowered, providing a nice addition of width when sitting or sleeping.
United’s Business First offers a fold flat bed.
There is plenty of storage space and with 68″ of seat pitch, even the tallest passengers can get comfortable. The only down side that I could see is that the center divider between seats cannot be lowered. It is small enough to still be able to talk to the person next to you, but not large enough to give you a level of privacy that competing products have.
All the Business Premier seats have a slight tilt. With the left side seats tilting to the left and the center and right hand seats tilting to the right. This allows additional space and privacy for passengers.
United has their Economy set up in a 3-3-3 format.
Going farther back in the 787, you first come across 72 seats in Premium Economy and another 111 seats in Economy. United has decided to configure their Dreamliner in a 3-3-3 layout. The seats were comfortable, for the few minutes I sat in them, but not sure how a ten hour flight would go. Each seat on the plane has its own in-flight entertainment, which will offer a distraction for passengers not able to sit in a premium seat.
What are those? Yes, pillows and blankets on the Economy Plus seats.
As with all 787 Dreamliners, United’s has the LED lighting, dimming windows, lower pressurized cabin and improved economics.
A Ethiopian Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the HUD on the United 787 Dreamliner.
A tour of a 787 Dreamliner would not be complete with out a visit up to the flight deck. Between airlines, there is almost no different of the flight decks. I have been told that really the only main difference is a screen view from airlines that use the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 versus the GEnx engine.
The crew rest area in the upper rear of the 787.
One part of the 787 Dreamliner I have not been able to check out yet was the rear crew rest area, which is located above the main cabin. I would have to say that it gets the job done, but surely is not super roomy.
A sign on the left side of the plane lets you know you are boarding a 787.
There is no question for me that United’s 787 is a nice product. However, it is far from revolutionary. Still, I don’t think this is United’s fault. My guess is the carrier wanted to premiere their new Business First product on the 787, but due to the delays, they have already installed the product on 777s and 767s. Heck, even the 767s are getting a better in-flight entertainment system than the first 787s will have.
Currently, the only route that United has announced for their 50 Dreamliners has been Denver to Tokyo. The first commercial flight for United will be sometime in October.
A special thanks to Mal Muir for helping me at the event.
UNITED AIRLINES FIRST BOEING 787 DREAMLINER PHOTO GALLERY:
MORE STUFF TO CHECK OUT:
* Even more photos on my Flickr page
* Epic video from United with Rhapsody in Blue
* Video of the 787 Dreamliner coming out of the paint hangar
JAL's Boeing 787 Dreamliner is revealed to the crowd.
Yesterday, Boeing, Japan Airlines (JAL) and GE celebrated the delivery of the first and second 787 Dreamliner with GEnx engines to JAL.
“Today is an important moment in our 60-year relationship with Japan Airlines as we celebrate the deliveries of not one, but two Dreamliners,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The 787 will provide the fuel-efficient airplane needed to serve Japan Airlines growing international operations.”
Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Mr Yoshiharu Ueki, JAL's President and Bill Fitzgerald, GE's vice president and general manager of Commercial Engines Operation hold up the 787 sign paperwork.
The morning started with a press breifing by JAL’s President, Mr. Yoshiharu Ueki and Mr. Tetsuya Onuki, Managing Executive Officer Corporate Planning. They discussed the importance of their new 787 aircraft and what they hope to accomplish with them in the future.
Ueki, who recently became President of JAL, was previously a pilot for 35 years, flying aircraft like the DC-10 and Boeing 747. He announced that JAL has decided up their order of the 787 by an additional 10, making their total order for 45 aircraft.
They are planning to take delivery of 25 787-8s and 20 of the larger 787-9. When asked when JAL hopes to received additional Dreamliners beyond the two yesterday, Ueki stated he is unable to discuss when that might be, but he did confirm that he was excited to take two aircraft.
JAL's entry way on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is quite welcoming.
JAL’s president explained the three main reasons why he likes the Boeing 787 Dreamliner: the fact it is a beautiful aircraft, the economics of flying it and the ability to fly long distances. JAL currently plans to only operate their 787s on longer range flights and there are currently no plans to use their 787s on domestic routes.
“JAL will be the first airline to start new routes that have never been flown before by taking full advantage of the efficiencies of this aircraft, starting with Boston service next month and San Diego later this year,” said Ueki. “The 787 with GEnx engines has the performance economics that JAL is looking for to ensure route profitability, and also the enhanced in-flight comfort that our customers will be delighted with.”
JAL's Executive Class on the 787 Dreamliner.
JAL is planning to launch a route between Tokyo and Boston on April 22nd, followed by a flight to San Diego, Moscow, Delhi and Singapore in the next few months. JAL will be the first airline to operate the 787 Dreamliner to the United States.
After the conference, media and guests were taken down the gallery at the Future of Flight, which was nicely decorated in a JAL theme. The facility’s prominent tail of a Boeing 747 had the red crane logo, along with large JAL logos on either side of the stage. Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Mr Yoshiharu Ueki, JAL’s President and Bill Fitzgerald, GE’s Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Engines Operation all spoke about the momentous achievement of delivering the aircraft.
Boeing was not afraid to admit that the plane was delayed and Albaugh went as far as to apologize to JAL. “We know we’re late in delivering this airplane, and we apologize for that. But we hope that when you start operating this airplane you’ll forgive us for the fact that it was late. We think it really will be a game-changing airplane for you.”
Economy Class on the JAL Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
After Albaugh handed over two keys to Ueki (one for each Dreamliner), a video was shown highlighting JAL’s new 787 aircraft. As drums played in the background, the screen was raised and curtains were opened to unveil JAL’s first Dreamliner (JA825J).
After the ribbon was cut and executives posed on the stairway, it was time to climb on board and check out JAL’s interior for the 787.
The entryway to JAL’s 787 was very warm and welcoming. With the pink lighting and warm colors of the interior, it really had a much more cozy feeling to it than other airline interiors. JAL has configured this 787 to have 42 Executive Class seats in a 2-2-2 layout and 144 Economy Class seats in a 2-4-2 layout.
The Flight Deck has the best seats in the house. Shown here is the HUD (heads up display) with a JAL 787 in old livery and Dreamlifter in the background.
Of course, one of the benefits of the Dreamliner is the ability to produce different LED lighting schemes through out the flight. JAL demonstrated some of their planned themes, including pink, peach, blue and green, which represent different seasons.
During my short time in JAL’s Dreamliner, the only thing that really disappointed me was that JAL opted not to place a window in one of the lavatories. Do not get me wrong, it is still a very nice and spacious restroom to be used at 30,000 feet, but there is just something pretty cool about being able to see the wing while using the bathroom.
A few hours after this was taken, it was on its way to Tokyo.
At about 4:30pm yesterday JAL’s first Dreamliner left Paine Field en route to Narita International Airport (NRT), while the second aircraft left a little over an hour later, headed to Haneda Airport (HND).
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is truly a game changing aircraft and I am sure many of us are waiting for additional airlines to start putting it into service.
ADDITIONAL JAL BOEING 787 DREAMLINER GOODIES:
See all 53 photos of the JAL Boeing 787 Dreamliner delivery
Video of take off, landing in Japan and more information from Boeing
Great undershot of JA822J during take off
A group from Aviation Geek Fest pose in front of a 777 GE90 engine on the Boeing factory floor. Photo by Boeing.
This weekend was the third Aviation Geek Fest and I think it was a success! We had people come from Denver, Calgary, Vancouver, Dallas and even New York City to share their passion for aviation. In all, about 70 people attended the event and were able to experience unique aviation activities.
The day started with a nice welcome by a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter taking off from Paine Field as some aviation geeks gathered to watch on the Future of Flight’s Strato Deck. Afterwards, folks had the opportunity to check out the Future of Flight’s gallery before we divided into four different tour groups: Boeing Factory Floor Tour, Boeing Dreamliner Gallery, Paine Field Fire Department Tour and How to Become an Airline Pilot with Regal Air.
The folks that took the fire department tour were given a ride in style.
Since I have been lucky enough to get a few factory floor tours and a view inside the Dreamliner Gallery, I decided to take the Paine Field’s Fire Department tour and was not disappointed.
I heard that the rest of the events went great and I am kind of hoping that some of you that were able to go on the other tours can leave your impressions in the comments.
Not only did we get to ride on a fire bus, but we also got to stop and take photos of airplanes.
I went on this tour not to write a story on the fire department (although I hope they welcome me back for one), but I was going as an aviation geek. This means I was able to fully enjoy myself, take photos, ask interesting questions, but did not having to worry about taking notes — like a true avgeek.
Although the actual fire station was very interesting, getting there was half the fun. We were picked up in a the fire department’s Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) bus and were followed by a fire truck. This was in case something were to happen at the airport, the fire personnel in the bus, could hop on the truck and take care of any situation.
The bus had everything that would be needed in an emergency and even a few old first class airline seats to rest on, if needed.
There are quite a few Boeing 787s and 747s still waiting to be delivered.
As we headed towards the fire department, on the other side of Paine Field, we stopped and were given some wonderful photo opportunities of the airport. It was nice to be able to see aircraft from angles I have never seen before, while being escorted by a fire truck. The kid in me was quite pleased.
Once we arrived at the fire station, it was time for our tour. The station is still rather new and has everything needed to take care of most incidents that might occur at Paine Field. The airport actually has two fire departments; the one we toured that is operated by Snohomish County and a second that is operated by Boeing. They work together to insure proper airport operations.
The Snohomish County’s main duty is to take care of the airport and private operators, while Boeing’s department is to watch after all the new 777, 767, 787 and 747-8 aircraft.
Planes and fire trucks -- what more could you want?
Although there were so many questions that one could ask about an airport fire operation, my big question was if I could turn on the fire truck lights — and I did. A life long dream was finally accomplished.
Seth Miller, who was also on the tour, put on all the fire gear that a person would need during an emergency situation. It make me hot just thinking about sporting all the gear while fighting a fire.
At the end of the tour, one of the fire rigs pulled outside and showed off its two water cannons on the front of the engine. The largest cannon on the roof is capable of pumping out around 1500 gallons of water per minute, which is sure to help put out most fires.
Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-8F sits next to Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental.
As we headed back to the Future of Flight, we had some additional opportunities to plane spot and enjoy our drive around Paine Field. Although it is a bit sad to see so many aircraft waiting to be delivered, it provides photo opportunities that will soon no longer be possible.
After everyone returned from their separate tours, we received a presentation from a team of the Boeing Moonshine group who specialize in making production lines as efficient as possible. They are a MacGyver-like team that will build tools and equipment on the spot to help the productivity of supply lines around the world. Their accomplishments has allowed Boeing and their suppliers to become more efficient and able to do more with the same or less space.
Teams of eight got a lesson in supply line management, while building souvenirs.
After their talk, we were taken to another room where the avgeeks gathered eight to a table and were given the task of building an unknown item in a short amount of time. At first it was not so clear what the items were, but after fiddling around, it started to become obvious that they were customized business card holders.
When they completed the first round, they had to take them all a part again, the Moonshine team gave them better instructions and explained that they wanted eight of them built in 1minute and 50 seconds. The first team, who celebrated their quickness, completed theirs in less than a minute. An impressive feat, but they did not end up winning the competition.
It was a lesson in how a supply chain successfully functions. You cannot be late, but you also cannot be too early. It is about delivering your product right on time and the team that was closest to the delivery schedule of 1min and 50 seconds became the actual winner.
Members of the Boeing Moonshine team give a presentation to the aviation geek fest.
Once our supply chain tasks were completed, it was time to head to the Future of Flight Cafe to enjoy pizza, soda and beer while handing out prizes that were donated by United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and the Future of Flight. Luckily there were enough that everyone received at least one thing, but I was so into the socializing and talking about airplanes that I managed not to take one photo of this part of the event — oh well.
I think overall, it was an amazing event and I always love getting around others that share my passion of aviation and airlines. A huge thanks to the Future of Flight and Boeing for working to make this event unforgettable and to United for donating gifts and for Southwest to not only donating gifts, but also having one of their bloggers attend.
You better believe there will be another in the future and I hope that you will be able to join us.
OTHER PHOTOS OF AVIATION GEEK FEST:
Rest of my photos of #AGF12
Seth Miller – aka Wandering Aramean
Kevin Frysinger – aka @TxAgFlyer
If you attended and have photos you are willing to share, either leave a link in the comments or email them to me – email@example.com
From December 6th to the 9th, one of Boeing 747-8 Intercontinentals, RC021, was flown to Frankfurt Germany, so that Lufthansa could complete pre-delivery testing at the Frankfurt Airport. Three Lufthansa and two Boeing pilots made the nine hour journey from Seattle to Frankfurt. The aircraft will be the fifth 747-8I that Lufthansa will take delivery of and the first delivery is expected sometime in “early 2012.”
Luckily, Lufthansa took quite a few photos of the Intercontinental’s visit and it is time to share:
HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). Lufthansa's 5th Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, RC021, in front of their Technik Repair facility in Frankfurt. Photo by Lufthansa.
HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). Lufthansa's 5th Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, RC021, inside the Technik Maintenance facility in Frankfurt. Photo by Lufthansa.
HI-RES PHOTO (click for larger). The Boeing 747-8I rocks the GEnx-2B67 engine. Photo by Lufthansa.
HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental has one sexy backside. Photo by Lufthansa.
- HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). Nose shot of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental in Frankfurt. Photo by Lufthansa.
HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). Lufthansa's Technik facility in Frankfurt is HUGE and has a way of making large aircraft look small. Photo by Lufthansa.
HI-RES IMAGE (click for larger). The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on the tarmac in Frankfurt. Photo by Lufthansa.
OTHER GOOD RELATED STUFF:
* Photos of Boeing 747-8I in full Lufthansa livery
* My tour of the Technik Maintenance facility and an Airbus A380
* Reveal, first flight and more of the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental
* Photo of two Lufthansa Airbus A380s and one Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter in the Technik facility