787-9 Dreamliner flying over Mt. Rainier – Photo: Boeing
We don’t feature a lot of writers on our “Blogroll” section of the site, but All Things 787 has been a mainstay. Started by Uresh Sheth (@ureshs) in 2008, the site digs in to the nitty gritty of 787 production and delivery details. As a data geek, I’ve spent many hours delving in to the spreadsheets on All Things 787, and as a frequent flier, I’ve often looked at delivery positions, hoping for a future flight to be serviced by a new-build Dreamliner. The site has had over 5.3 million views since its inception, which means many others share my same interest.
What has always impressed me the most about All Things 787 is the amazing detail (which, translated, means Uresh has to have exceptional access and sources). As Uresh is a friend of Airline Reporter, I recently reached out to him for an interview about his site, the 787, and the readers that help fuel his enthusiasm.
An example of the detailed delivery status of the Boeing 787 – Image: All Things 787
BONUS: Interview with an Airline Reporter
Blaine Nickeson (BN): How did the site get started?
Uresh Sheth (US): I’ve been on Airliners.net
for a long time and met Jon Ostrower
(virtually of course) through the forums. He had just started his FlightBlogger blog (Editor’s note: Jon will always be the FlightBlogger to us!
) and I was thoroughly impressed with the level of information he had. I enjoyed talking to him over time and over time I developed more contacts through the forums on the site. Some of these contacts gave me information on the development of the 787, which I would pass on to Jon. Later, though, I decided that I also wanted to contribute; thus, I started the blog around 2008. I felt I had something to say and wanted to add to the discussion. Later on I tried enhancing the site with spreadsheets; the first one tracked the flight test hours of the 787-8 test fleet.
787 Dreamliner ZA001 taxing before its first-ever flight in 2009 – Photo: David Parker Brown
BN: Why the 787?
US: When Boeing announced the 787 (or 7E7, as it was originally known) I was automatically intrigued by what they were trying to do. The technology and the production system were something that had never been attempted by a major aircraft manufacturer at that level. I realized that if they could pull it off, that this would be a game-changer on so many levels. Of course, we now see what the results were.
BN: What about your background/experience motivates you to write about the 787, in such detail?
US: Well, I’ve never worked in the aerospace industry but I do have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia as well as a huge interest in aviation and space that I’ve had since I was a kid. So I guess you can call me an AvGeek!
After college I went on to Wall Street but I think I have a pretty good idea of the basics of aerospace and aerostructures. I’ve also learned a ton through participating in online forums, reading blogs, as well as reading media reports. I have a desire to report and I find it enjoyable, though sometimes I have trouble putting together the occasional coherent sentence!
Bernie’s favorite 787 pic – Jetstar’s first Dreamliner at Paine Field – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter.com
BN: How do you compile/access such specific data?
US: A fairy sends me an email every now and then! Seriously, I’ve developed contacts over time and I’ve tried to nurture them. Part of it is knowing when you can ask for information from someone on the inside, and when you should hold back. I try to get my information from public sources like photographer-spotters who take pictures at Paine Field (Editor: such as our own Managing Correspondents Mal Muir and Bernie Leighton
You can learn a lot about what’s going on from those pictures. Matt Cawby has a particularly good blog
from which I can glean information but I also use Flightaware.com
to know when deliveries and test flights are occurring. Lastly, there are people who are not directly connected with Boeing who have sent me information as well (which has all been spot on). There are many pieces of the puzzle, with lots of different sources and pieces of information. I try to put it all together so that people can see what is actually going on.
Uresh’s first-ever view of an actual 787 (over his house) – Photo: Uresh Sheth | All Things 787
BN: Have you flown on any 787s?
US: Funny thing is no!!! I didn’t even get to see my first 787 until earlier this year when LOT Polish replaced the ancient 767-300ER on their Warsaw-JFK route with the 787. Since I live in central Long Island, my house is right under the main final approach path to JFK, and I knew it would fly close by. In fact, it flew right over my house and I got a picture with my iPhone. Would I love to fly in one…absolutely.
BN: What have been the hardest, and best, parts of running the site?
US: Hardest – finding time to actually put together a post. The blog obviously is not my full-time job. I work in the securities industry analyzing and evaluating residential mortgage-backed securities, so most of my time is spent on that. Trying to find an hour to put together post is hard. Once I start writing though, things just flow out. The best part is getting the information and sharing it with people. I actually try to keep the spreadsheets updated on a real-time basis. This is not hard as I can do it through a Google Docs App on my iPhone. I think my readers love to see the spreadsheets and want to see the progress the program is making.
Mal’s favorite 787 pic – Qatar’s first Dreamliner at its delivery celebration
US: Hah, my wife would also like to know that! I’ll continue to do the blog as long as I have something to add and I can continue to get information that I can share. I always worry that I’ll lose sources, and it’s not easy to replace a source who can provide a lot of details, like the firing order. I’d like to continue writing the blog, and have a full record of the 787 production until Boeing stops building it. But, for now, I continue to run the blog and do my regular full-time job as well as be a husband and parent. I am hoping to win the Powerball or Megamilions (or both) and not have to worry about a job, letting me focus on the things that I enjoy like the blog…or sleeping!
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