Starting at about 1pm on 2/9 and ending on the morning of 2/10, Boeing 787 ZA236 created this epic design.

Starting at about 1pm on 2/9 and ending on the morning of 2/10, Boeing 787 ZA236 created this epic design. Click for larger. Image from

The fact that Boeing just spent almost 19 hours flying one of their 787 Dreamliners around the country, creating a “787” and Boeing logo has multiple levels to it. First, it is just frek’n awesome. Even though Boeing made a “747” in the sky recently with a 747-8F and also flew over 48 states with a 747-8I, this one takes the cake. Those other two mostly required straight lines and really the “747” was a bit shaky. Not only were these 787 pilots able to successfully make a “787,” but also the full Boeing logo — what an accomplishment. Not quite sure how a pilot might put that on their resume, but I hope that they do!

Boeing’s goal for the flight was not just to make a cool design in the sky, but to also put the GEnx-1B engines to the test. From Randy Tinseth, vice president, marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, stated this morning on his blog, “It was an 18 hour Maximum ETOPS (Extended Operations) Duration flight test for a 787-8 with GE engines. Our team coordinated with the many air traffic control centers, choosing the routing to avoid restricted airspace. In the end, the flight covered over 9,000 nautical miles.”

ZA236 inside the Boeing factory on 9/25/11. Photo by

ZA236 inside the Boeing factory on 9/25/11. Photo by

Digging a bit deeper, I think this is strong evidence to show how much Boeing has changed over the last few years. I have followed Boeing’s change from being a  company that really did not reach out to fans to one that celebrates the fact that they are loved by so many. From Boeing starting and becoming successful with social media to creating a YouTube channel, they have come a long way and they keep showing their growth.

Boeing had a task to operate a 787 Dreamliner for a long test flight and they could have easily ran a big circle or up and down the coast. Instead, they decided to put in quite a few hours to plan and execute this historic sky-writing flight.

I am sure that Boeing was hoping to keep this a surprise, but I know there are many fans out there who track every movement of every Boeing 787 Dreamliner and it is hard to keep this sort of thing hidden from the internet — especially when it takes almost 19 hours to complete.

So cheers to Boeing for pulling this off and to those eagle eyes who caught it!


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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I like their design now, I think it is much better than the past.

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