Browsing Tag: First Flight

Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner pictured at YVR

With the Dreamliner typically stuck on international duty, it’s been hard to fulfill my Dreamliner Quest. In January, on a trip to Montreal, I finally succeeded! – Photo: John Jamieson

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by commercial aircraft. When I was a kid, I tried my best to learn everything about my two favorite jets: the Fokker F28 and the Boeing 747. Supposedly, when I was in grade one, my teacher found me on Cathay Pacific’s website trying to book a flight to Hong Kong. As I remember it, I was looking up facts about the airline’s new triple-7 fleet.

When Boeing announced plans to build the 7E7, I remember receiving a newspaper clipping from my grandmother. The article, plucked from the pages of the Vancouver Sun, described the aircraft as a “Long-Haul Gamechanger.” With its largely composite design, this aircraft was reportedly going to revolutionize fuel consumption.

Bonus: Dreamliners Going the Distance: New Ultra-Long-Haul Routes For Boeing’s 787

Despite having only flown on a few commercial aircraft (at the time), Boeing’s new jet captured my attention more than any other plane I had yet to encounter. Maybe it was the fancy name or all the marketing hype at the time… it didn’t matter! When the 787 took to the skies in 2011, I needed to fly on it. Little did I know that my Dreamliner Quest would last almost 10 years. On a recent cross-Canada trip to Montreal, I finally succeeded!

It was time to find out what I’d been missing and see if it lived up to all the hype…

After a series of technical and weather delays, Boeing's 777X finally took off for it's inaugural flight at 10:09 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020

After a series of technical and weather delays, Boeing’s 777X finally took off for its inaugural flight at 10:09 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020

Things in the world of Boeing haven’t been going so great lately and the company needed a win. A few weeks ago, on a cloudy Saturday, there was finally something for the airplane manufacturer to cheer about: The Boeing 777-9 took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on its inaugural test flight. Once airborne, one of the two pilots reported, “All flight controls are good. Very solid.” A crowd of two hundred or so stood in awe as the big bird took off, then erupted in applause, high-fives, and hugs. For many, the excitement might have been as much about the new aircraft as it was for the company itself.

Boeing's 777X taxies out on Friday, Jan. 24, for what would be five hours on the taxiway before the attempt was scrubbed due to poor weather

Boeing’s 777X taxies out on Friday, Jan. 24, for what would be five hours on the taxiway before the attempt was scrubbed due to poor weather

“This major milestone for the #777X airplane program begins the next critical phase of testing as we work towards certification and then delivery to customers in 2021,” Boeing tweeted after takeoff. And thus began what is hopefully a more positive direction for the Chicago-based company.

The new 737 MAX 7 departs from Renton on its first flight.

The new 737 MAX 7 departs from Renton on its first flight

Boeing’s newest offering, the 737 MAX 7, took to the skies on March 16, an uncharacteristically sunny, blue-sky day for a Boeing first flight — most all of them in recent memory have taken place on truly miserable days.

Crews prepare the jet for departure.

Crews prepare the jet for departure

The new jet is the smallest of the MAX family, has a seating capacity of 138-172, and a range of 3,850 nautical miles, which is the longest reach of any of the MAX models. Southwest Airlines, with its famously all-Boeing 737 fleet, is listed as the launch customer, with a scheduled entry in to service of 2019.

The first Boeing 737, seen at the Museum of Flight

April 9, 1967 was a special day in aviation history. Capt. Brien Wygle and First Officer Lew Wallick took the Boeing 737 prototype on its maiden flight. Fast forward 50 years to April 9, 2017 and we found ourselves at the Museum of Flight in Seattle to celebrate the Boeing 737’s 50th birthday.

The festivities kicked off in the theater with a panel discussion moderated by Mike Lombardi, Boeing Company historian. The other members on the panel were Peter Morton, Boeing 737 marketing, Capt. Brien Wygle, Captain of the 737’s first flight, and Bob Bogash, a 737 engineer. With nearly a full theater, the lively discussion lasted for nearly 90 minutes.