Sigh. I really should have my own photos and video of today’s two flights. But my car had other plans. I was on a camping trip this weekend, with every intention to make it back to the Future of Flight in time for ZA003 Boeing 787 Dreamliner to take flight and then watch the second Boeing 747-8 to take off. However my car broke down and had to be towed 75 miles back to civilization. If this would have happened on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s first flight, I would have ditched the car and taken a taxi! Luckily some other great people were there to cover the action.
Above is a video of ZA003 taking off for the first time today, taken by Liz Matzelle (@ImperfectSense). This is the third Boeing 787 built, but the fourth to take the skies. ZA004 took to the skies beforehand on February 24th. ZA003 is being used to test the interiors,which I was able to tour of back in early February.
If seeing a Dreamliner taking off wasn’t enough, the second Boeing 747-8 also took the sky today after a few delays. The first 747-8 took flight on February 8th. I am currently trying to track down any video or photos taken of the flight, but I did find a photo from Kevin (@TxAgFlyer) showing RC22 waiting to fly.
Boeing recently announced before today’s flight, the Boeing 747-8 has completed 13 flights and 33 hours of flight time. The tests are going as planned — which is a good thing. Five pilots have flown the airplane taking it up to 30,000 feet and up to Mach .65. Boeing has completed initial stall tests and other dynamic maneuvers, and performed an extensive checkout of systems on the airplane. They are hoping to get the third Boeing 747-8 in the sky soon.
There has been so much excitement about seeing the first Boeing 787 take off and even the second. Now it is time for the third Dreamliner to get some attention. This morning I was invited to see the third Boeing 787 Dreamliner up close and personal. Besides Boeing staff and a few guest airlines, this was the first time outsiders have been allowed to see what’s so special on the inside. Boeing has never invited media on a test plane like this before and they made it clear that this was a still a testbed and wasn’t the final product.
Passengers are able to tint the windows using the button below them. This is a middle level tint.
It was exciting walking up the stairs of the third Dreamliner. The first thing I noticed when walking in was space. Yes, many of the seats were missing, but it seemed tall and roomy. I was quick to move over to the windows and try the electronic dimmers. Instead of shades, you are able to push a button and dim the window from clear to very dark. This is something that will likely entertain children (and aviation nerds) for a few hours on a flight. Getting up to see the flight deck was awesome. The display screens were much larger than I thought and the heads up display was an exciting addition. They even had a 787 Dreamliner emblem on the ceiling, which was a nice touch.
Notice how little room the overhead bins take. The white lighting can be programmed with different color options.
This Boeing 787 test plane only had a few economy seats for us to preview, no Business or First class ones. Boeing will provide a catalog of seats for airlines to choose from. Airlines must choose out of the Boeing catalog for economy seats, but do not for Business Class.
Most of the plane was lit in white, although the front had a nice blue glow to it. Boeing will suggest to airlines that they have the lights on blue when passengers load, since studies show it gives the feeling of space . They also suggest airlines go brighter for meal services, since food looks better when well lit (not sure if peanuts do though).
In the front and rear of the aircraft are crew bunk areas. The bunk areas are located above in the ceiling and have some narrow stairs to get access. They make me think of summer camp, but they at least provide an area away from the passengers where the crew can rest.
It was amazing being able to get so close to this Dreamliner. She looked great in her Boeing "light" livery.
One surprisingly neat part of the Boeing 787 was the lavatories. If you wave your hand in front of the sensor, they will flush and the seat will close. They also have a very spacious feel with the ability to customize the lighting.
The Dreamliner is an amazing aircraft. Even non-aviation nerds should feel a stark difference flying on this aircraft versus others. I think most people were impressed even with this pre-production model. I can’t wait to see her fully decked out.
ZA001 Boeing 787 Dreamliner during taxi tests on 12/12/09
This morning I have the wonderful opportunity to check out the inside of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. There will be a few of us there on Twitter putting up live pictures. To follow live check out #787cabin and @AirlineReporter. I will update my blog as the day goes along. If you have been curious about Twitter, this is your excuse to dive in 🙂 — you don’t need an account to watch.