Boeing delivered its first stretched-out, wide-body 787-10 Dreamliner jet tonight, scoring yet another first in the process.
The ceremonial handover to Singapore Airlines, attended by thousands of Boeing employees and VIPs, marked the first time that the first commercial jet in a Boeing breed was delivered at the company’s factory in North Charleston, S.C.
Boeing says the stretch 787-10 will be made exclusively in South Carolina because its midbody is too large to be flown to the company’s main wide-body factory in Everett, Wash.
It wasn’t a stunt: When Boeing’s test pilots flew a 787 Dreamliner jet for 18 hours and nearly 10,000 miles, tracing the outline of a 787 Dreamliner in the skies ranging from Michigan and Alabama to Wyoming, they were just adding a noteworthy twist to a routine requirement.
The flight, which began at Seattle’s Boeing Field on the afternoon of Aug. 2 and finished up in the same place at 9:40 a.m. today, served as an endurance test for the 787’s Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine, which is undergoing certification.
“Rather than fly in random patterns, the test team got creative, flying a route that outlined a 787-8 in the skies over 22 states,” Boeing explained in a statement. “The nose of the Dreamliner is pointing at the Puget Sound region, home to Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The wings stretch from northern Michigan near the Canadian border to southern Texas. The tail touches Huntsville, Alabama.”
No one on the ground would have known that the pilots were part of a performance art piece, unless they happened to match up their sighting with the flight plan mapped out for BOE004 (tail number N7874) on tracking websites such as FlightAware or Flightradar24.
The largest breed of its Dreamliner jet series, the 787-10, got a great review today after being put through its aerial paces for the first time in the skies over South Carolina.
“It performed exactly like we thought it would,” 787 chief model pilot Tim Berg said afterward.
Deputy pilot Mike Bryan seconded that opinion: “It was fantastic. … No squawks.”
Bryan gave a shout-out to Boeing’s support team, saying “there were two pilots in the front, but a lot of people behind us.”
The twin-aisle 787-10 is the first of the series to be assembled exclusively at Boeing South Carolina plant, and not at its assembly facility in Everett. It’s 18 feet longer than the 787-9, and 38 feet longer than the 787-8. Carrying capacity can range up to 330 passengers, depending on the configuration, compared to the 290-passenger maximum capacity of the 787-9.
Other than the length, passengers aren’t likely to notice much of a difference between the 787-9 and the 787-10: The two planes have 95 percent of their design in common, which is part of Boeing’s strategy to streamline development, operation and maintenance.
It makes sense that a professional illustrator would win a contest to design a paint scheme for one of Hainan Airlines’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets.
But this isn’t just any paint scheme: The task at hand was to add some Kung Fu Panda razzle-dazzle, using characters from the animated movie series as well as graphic themes from the Chinese carrier.
Looks like Hannah R. Foss, a digital illustrator and CGI modeler at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks aced it.
“We look forward to seeing your design on one of our Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, and we can’t wait to have you onboard on your free business-class trip to China,” Hainan Airlines said today in a Facebook post announcing the winner.
How can you top a Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet painted to look like Star Wars’ R2-D2 robot? How about a Kung Fu Panda Dreamliner? Hainan Airlines is teaming up with the Boeing Co. and DreamWorks Animation to make it so, and give away some sweet trips to China in the process.
The contest, which runs through Sept. 30, makes it easy to design the livery for Hainan’s jet: All you have to do is go to Hainan’s website, arrange a set of online stamps, symbols and paint patterns to fill out the livery on a 3-D plane template. Click a button to submit your design, and you could be a winner.
The design elements have to include the usual corporate branding, but you can also choose from the characters in DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda movies, including roly-poly Po (the panda, of course) plus Tigress, Ox, Rhino, Wolf and so on.
The video, released today, tracks the All Nippon Airways jet from inside and out as it makes high-banking turns that demonstrate wing flex, and side-to-side movements that demonstrate the plane’s handling characteristics. Boeing test pilots Randy Neville, Van Chaney and John Misuradze were at the controls for the flight over Moses Lake in central Washington state.
The ANA airplane will show off similar moves during demonstration flights from July 11 to 13 in Farnborough, which serves as the focus for the world’s aviation industry next week. After the show, it’ll be delivered to ANA, the largest operator of the 787 Dreamliner.