Captain Heather Ross stands next to ZA003 at the Museum of Flight
(Editor’s note: During the festivities surrounding the recent 787 test model handover at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, NYCAviation was granted an exclusive interview with Heather Ross who is one of the head 787 test flight pilots.)
NYCAviation (NYCA): Before the Dreamliner, what other aircraft did you fly?
Heather Ross (HR): I flew on the 737 program as the production chief pilot for Boeing, but overall I have flown on the 747, 757, 767 and 777. Before I joined Boeing I served in the Air Force in the T-37 and T-38 training aircraft before switching over to the C-5 Galaxy as my main mission plane before I transitioned to the C-141 Starlifter. After that I joined United Airlines flying the 747 and 727 as a flight engineer before getting upgraded to a first officer on the 737.
NYCA: So out of all those airplanes, which has been your favorite?
HR: Oh gosh, that’s a tough one. There is a real tendency under the wing of this airplane (ZA003) to say this airplane. It’s a great airplane; it really is. I love this plane but I love the 737 too, so it’s really a tough choice.
NYCA: How does the Dreamliner compare to other Boeing aircraft, and what’s it like to fly the dream?
HR: It’s named appropriately, for one; the aircraft really is a dream to fly. It’s very easy and makes all of us pilots look good. The flight controls do a wonderful job of basically rejecting turbulence and upset so the ride is very, very smooth. Since we’re standing under the Dreamliner, it’s obvious we’ve flown this airplane all over the world; in fact, a couple times around. I can tell you even on 16- and 17-hour flights I don’t feel as fatigued as I would on any other airplane. The cabin pressure is much lower, and the humidity is much higher so you don’t feel dried out. It’s just a real comfortable plane to fly not only as a crew member and pilot but also as a passenger.
Continue reading On the Flight Deck with 787 Test Pilot Heather Ross on NYCAviation.com
Over the past week I have been receiving many different press releases from Boeing – most of which I wanted to share, but haven’t had the time to give them the attention that they deserve. To make sure that they all get a little attention, I decided to do this round up to touch base on what’s going on with Boeing. There are a few more story lines that I hope to go into a bit more detail over the next few days, but for now…
HI RES (click for bigger): Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8. Photo by Boeing.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES BECOMES LAUNCH CUSTOMER FOR THE 737 MAX
On December 13th, Boeing announced that Southwest airlines placed an order for 150 of the 737 MAX and would become the launch customer the new version of the 737.
“Southwest is a special Boeing customer and has been a true partner in the evolution of the 737,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh. “Throughout our 40-year relationship, our two companies have collaborated to launch the 737-300, 737-500 and the Next-Generation 737-700 – affirming the 737 as the world’s preferred single-aisle airplane. As launch customer for the 737 MAX, Southwest, Boeing and the 737 continue that legacy.”
The firm order is Boeing’s largest in both dollar value and the number of aircraft ordered.
“Today’s environment demands that we become more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, and as the launch Customer of the Boeing 737 MAX, we have accomplished both,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO. “We are teaming up with our friends from Boeing to lead the industry in a way that makes both our shareholders and our Customers proud to associate with Southwest Airlines. Today’s announcement will allow us to maintain our position as a low-cost provider in the years ahead.”
VIDEO: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Max. Computer generated by Boeing. Thanks to Robert for pointing this out.
Air New Zealand's first Boeing 777-300ER at Paine Field. Photo by AirlineReporter.com.
BOEING 777 NOW HAS 330-MINUTE ETOPS
On December 12th, Boeing announced that its 777 received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly up to 330-minutes away from an alternative airport.
“Boeing twin-engine jets have flown more than 7 million ETOPS flights since 1985, and more than 120 Boeing operators fly more than 50,000 ETOPS flights each month,” said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager 777 program. “This is the logical continuation of the Boeing philosophy of point-to-point service. Passengers want to minimize their overall travel time. This is one more step in that direction.”
To date, the 777 has flown more than 2 million ETOPS flights since June 1995 and 93% of 777s are flown on ETOPS routes.
“What this means is that the airplane is able to fly a straighter route between the city pairs and that’s good for the environment,” said Capt. David Morgan, chief pilot for Air New Zealand. “Less fuel is burned and less carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere. It’s also good for customers because flights are potentially shorter and passengers could arrive sooner at their destinations.”
CHECKING IN WITH THE DREAMLINER WORLD TOUR
Boeing’s third Dreamliner, ZA003, is taking a six month journey around the world. Its first stop was in Beijing, China with different stops with-in China from December 4th to 11th.
“This great day demonstrates our partnership with China in pursuing aviation excellence,” said Marc Allen, Boeing China president. “Chengfei, Hafei and Shenfei — as exclusive and single-source Boeing suppliers — have made a great contribution to the success of the 787 program, producing the rudder, wing-to-body fairing, and vertical fin leading edge. We want to thank them for their role in making today possible.”
On the 11th, ZA003 flew over to Africa and became the first time a 787 has landed in that continent. From the 11th to the 14th, the 787 hung out in Nairobi and allowed Ethiopian Airline employees the chance to see the new aircraft they should be taking delivery of soon. ZA003 will remain in Africa until the 16th of December before flying to the Middle East with a stop in Doha to visit Qatar Airways.
At this point, Boeing has not announced future destinations, but I would imagine that ZA003 will continue to head west.
Graphic showing the record breaking Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight. Image is from GE. Click for larger.
THE 787 DREAMLINER BREAKS WORLD RECORDS
While ZA003 is traveling the world, ZA006 went and set some new world records. The 787 Dreamliner recently established two new records for speed and distance for the aircraft’s weight class.
From Boeing’s press release, “The sixth 787, ZA006, powered by General Electric GEnx engines, departed from Boeing Field in Seattle at 11:02 a.m. on Dec. 6 and set the distance record for its class (440,000-550,000 lbs.) with a 10,710 nmi (19,835 km) flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh, with credit for 10,337 nmi (19,144 km). This record had previously been held by the Airbus A330 based on a 9,127 nmi (16,903 km) flight in 2002.”
“Following an approximately two-hour stop for refueling in Dhaka, the airplane returned to Seattle on a 9,734 nmi (18,027 km) flight. The airplane landed at 5:29 a.m. on Dec. 8, setting a new record for speed around the world (eastbound) with a total trip time of 42 hours and 27 minutes. There was no previous around-the-world speed record for this weight class.”
Go Dreamliner go!
OTHER BOEING HEADLINES RECENTLY:
* FedEx announced order for additional 767 and 777 Freighters
* Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Receives FAA Certification
* Ethihad Airways Orders 10 787-9 Dreamliners
* Boeing to Build New Everett Delivery Center at Paine Field
Boeing's third 787 Dreamliner ZA003 arrives in Dubai. Photo by Boeing.
Previously, Boeing’s third 787 Dreamliner, called ZA003, was a test bed for certifying the aircraft and only contained a partial interior. Now that the first two 787s have started operations with All Nippon Airways, Boeing decided to transfrom ZA003 from a testbed into a show horse. ZA003’s first stop is the Dubai Airshow, where she recently landed and showed off her new paint scheme containing 56 tail icons representing all the current Dreamliner customers.
HI-RESOLUTION (click for larger): The bar area, inside ZA003's entrance. Photo by Boeing.
Back in October, when Boeing reveled ZA003’s new livery in an updated Dreamliner livery, it was not clear what Boeing had in mind for the aircraft. Many assumed it would be used to promote the 787 and that is exactly what Boeing had in mind. ZA003 will be on display at the Dubai airshow from November 13th to 16th to drum up additional orders from airlines or heck, even private buyers — this is the middle east after all.
HI-RESOLUTION (click for larger): The new interior of ZA003. This is the first time seeing a 3-3-3 layout in the Dreamliner. Photo by Boeing.
Boeing has released some photos of ZA003’s new interior and I figured they were worth sharing. This is the first time seeing a real Dreamliner interior in a nine-abreast layout in economy. Both of ANA’s 787s have eight abreast in a 2-4-2 layout and ZA003 is set up in a 3-3-3 configuration.
Randy Tinseth, who is the Vice President, Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, stated on his blog, “For the first time that I’ve ever seen, the group turned right as they entered the door instead of turning left for the cockpit. That’s how excited they were to check out the interior of the airplane that we recently installed to highlight the passenger experience.”
Whoa, how things have changed. This is the inside of ZA003 taken in February 2010.
This is a huge improvement versus what the interior looked like previously. At the time, I remember thinking how great that ZA003’s interior first looked during my visit tour inside. Now, it looks quite lame, compared to it’s updated interior and that of ANA’s 787s.
So, where will ZA003 go next? Boeing is not quite saying. “As we’ve mentioned we have big plans for this airplane but we’re not quite ready to spell them out at this time,” Boeing spokesperson Scott Lefeber explained to AirlineReporter.com. “Planning for large events is complex and requires a great deal of integration. When we’re ready to make an announcement and provide you with meaningful details, we certainly will do that.”
On the right is ZA003 in the old livery and to the left is ZA003 in the new. But why? Both photos from Boeing.
This is the same Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ZA003 / N787BX), but in two different paint schemes. Previously, there was only one aircraft with the “Dreamliner livery’ — ZA001. All the rest were painted either in a “light” or ANA livery. Then a few days ago, Boeing unveiled ZA003 in and updated “Dreamliner livery,” but why? I am not exactly sure and Boeing is not currently saying.
ZA003, in its new livery, landing at Boeing Field (BFI). Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.
It is possible that Boeing will use ZA003 to promote the 787 around the world. I thought maybe they were using ZA003 at the Seoul Air Show, but ZA001 arrived instead. According to Boeing’s Flickr page: “ZA003, the third 787 Dreamliner built by Boeing, just got a new paint job. We’ve got big plans for this airplane. It’s too early to provide details, but stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks.” That does not really give any clues.
ZA003 at Boeing Field (BFI). Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.
So what do you think? Why did Boeing spend the money to paint over a perfectly good paint scheme? I am sure they must have a plan.
Thanks to Jeremy for sharing his photos.