Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner successfully completes first flight

by Devesh Agarwal

The second member of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner family, the 787-9 successfully completed its first flight, beginning a comprehensive flight-test program leading to certification and delivery in mid-2014. The aircraft performed a 5-hour, 16-minute flight, taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington state, at 11:02 a.m. local time and landing at 4:18 p.m. at Seattle’s Boeing Field.

Boeing 787-9, line number ZB001 registration N787EX, takes off for its first flight

The 787-9 has its fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters) over the 787-8 which is flying with many airlines including Air India. The 787-9 will carry 40 more passengers an additional 300 nautical miles (555 kilometres).

787-9 Senior Project Pilot Mike Bryan and 787 Chief Pilot Randy Neville departed to the north. During the flight the reached an altitude of 20,400 feet (6,218 meters) and an airspeed of 250 knots, or about 288 miles (463 kilometers) per hour, customary for a first flight. The two Captains tested the aircraft’s systems and structures, while on-board equipment transmitted real-time data to a flight-test team on the ground in Seattle.

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. The additional airplanes are in the final stages of assembly in Boeing’s Everett factory.

Boeing says it is on track to deliver the 787-9 to launch customer Air New Zealand in mid-2014. Twenty-five customers from around the world have ordered 388 787-9s, accounting for 40 percent of all 787 orders. National carrier Air India has ordered 27 787-8s only, and no 787-9. Jet Airways has 10 787-8s on order with no purchase options (though it can shift these orders to other Boeing products).

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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