The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner took to the skies for the first time today, beginning a comprehensive flight-test program leading to certification and delivery in mid-2014.
With its distinctive new Boeing livery, the newest member of the efficient 787 family completed a five-hour, 16-minute flight, taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington at 11:02 local time and landing at 16:18 at Seattle’s Boeing Field.
“Today’s first flight marks a significant milestone for our team, including our partners,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Ray Conner.
“We are tremendously proud to have our customers fly the 787-9 and look forward to delivery of the first airplane to Air New Zealand next year.”
During today’s flight, 787-9 senior project pilot Mike Bryan and 787 chief pilot Randy Neville departed to the north, reaching an altitude of 20,400 feet and an airspeed of 250 knots, customary for a first flight.
While capts. Bryan and Neville tested the airplane’s systems and structures, onboard equipment transmitted real-time data to a flight-test team on the ground in Seattle.
“We accomplished a lot in this flight, and it went really well,” said Bryan.
“The 787-9 is a great jet and we wanted to just keep on flying.”
Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, the first 787-9 will be joined in flight test by two additional airplanes, one of which will feature General Electric GEnx engines.
Those airplanes are in the final stages of assembly in Boeing’s Everett factory.
Over the coming months, the fleet will be subjected to a variety of tests and conditions to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the airplane’s design.