A Boeing employee inspects a composite wing spar at the Building 40-02 spar shop
In a big milestone for the program, Boeing officially started production on its new 777x line on Oct. 23. The 777X will feature new GE9X engines, an all-new composite wing with folding tips, longer range, while leveraging technologies from the 787 Dreamliner.
The one-piece composite spars measure more than 100 feet long, and each aircraft requires a total of four spars – two per wing
777X chief project engineer and vice president Terry Beezhold said it’s taken Boeing seven years to get to this point in the project. The current project schedule calls for the first test flight to happen in the first quarter of 2019, and the first delivery about a year after that.
One group of AvGeeks enjoy the American 727 – Photo: Francis Zera
At the end of September we got to enjoy another amazing Aviation Geek Fest. If you follow the site, the name probably sounds familiar. It is a VIP-access event that allows AvGeeks to get together and experience some pretty cool things not typically open to the general public. This year we had people converge from around the world (guests from Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, & USA) to Seattle, WA to partake in this three-day aviation-themed event. How cool is that?
As it has been the last in previous years, the events and activities are amazing, but you cannot beat hanging around a bunch of other like-minded folks for a few days! Everyone gets to tell their airplane stories and everyone actually wants to listen!
Honeywell’s Boeing 757 sits at Paine Field
Honeywell recently reached out and let me know that their Boeing 757 would be parked at Paine Field (north of Seattle) overnight. They asked if I’d like to take a tour before it departed back to Phoenix. Um… yes please!
The third engine on the side of the 757, with a B-52 in the background
The rain partly cleared as I arrived and the first obvious difference between Honeywell’s 757 and the run-of-the-mill 757 is the third engine on the side of the fuselage. The engine mount is used to test different Honeywell engines in the “real world.” During my tour, the Honeywell TFE731 engine was hooked up and it was being tested for vibration issues.
The Paine Field Fire Department, ready for action!
I think many people have a child-like persona that lives inside them. I know I do. When I had the opportunity to hang out with the fine folks at the Paine Field Fire Department, my inner seven-year-old was not only excited, but very jealous of my mid-30s self.
Yes. I am very much having a good time. – Photo: AirlineReporter
I think my initial pitch was to do a story about how the Paine Field Fire Department operates at the airport — and it was very professional-like. When they told me they would love to host me for a story, I couldn’t help but ask if I could turn on the lights and sirens. They told me they could arrange for much more than that. I was down!
Number 24 and 25 of Qatar Airways’ 787 Dreamliners at the Everett Delivery Center
Every plane flying today had its delivery flight at one time or another. Many have been built at Paine Field, in Everett, WA and then flown to each airline’s home base to be put into operation. When the opportunity came up to join Qatar Airways on the delivery of their 24th and 25th Boeing 787 Dreamliners, how could I say no? I didn’t!
The 787 line
Down the 787 line
The 777 line
For most airlines, the whole experience is more than just the flight itself. There are pre-events, meals, speeches, and then the best part: the flight. I wasn’t able to participate in everything, but I was able to enjoy a line tour of the both the 787 and 777. Getting into the Boeing Factory never gets old, and seeing how making building complicated aircraft look easy is a feat in and of itself.
The business class cabin in the Qatar 787-8
These media events are also about the people who attend. The airline media world is not so big and made up of many great folks. Part of my excitement was being able to hang out with people like Jason Rabinowitz, Paul Thompson, Seth Miller, and I got to meet Mark Lawrence for the first time. A bunch of AvGeeks flying in a 787 halfway across the world? Yes, please!