Dreamliner Test Flight

December 15, 2009 by USA Post 

Dreamliner Test Flight,Boeing’s new 787 jetliner takes off on first test flight from Everett, Wash.,  more than two years late.

UPDATE (1:35 p.m. ET): “Pilots Michael Carriker and Randall Neville lifted off at about 10:30 a.m. PST from Everett’s Paine Field on a four-hour flight over Washington state to perform a variety of basic tests and systems checks before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field,” AP writes.

UPDATE (1:23 p.m. ET): The Dreamliner is taxiing and preparing for flight. Watch live here. (Click the Webcast tab.)

Today is the day aviation buffs have been waiting for since 2007, when Boeing’s Dreamliner aircraft was originally scheduled to fly its test flight. The long-awaited test flight of the 787 is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET today. The aircraft will take off from Everett’s Paine Field and land at Boeing Field in Seattle.

“The test aircraft completed its ground tests during the weekend, including a 150-mph dash down the runway at Everett’s Paine Field during which its nose gear briefly lifted off the pavement,” The Associated Press writes. “Tuesday morning, pilots Michael Carriker and Randall Neville hope to take the 787 on a four-hour flight over Washington state, beginning the extensive flight test program needed to obtain the plane’s Federal Aviation Administration certification.”

WEBCAST: Boeing’s website is now live streaming the flight

Boeing Commercial Airplanes spokesman Jim Proulx told AP that several factors are key for test-flight day:  good visibility, no standing water at the two airports and gentle or no wind. Proulx added that it was raining 15 years ago when Boeing’s 777 took its first flight.

According to AP, National Weather Service meteorologist Ted Buehner said “Tuesday’s forecast called for rain, 10 mph winds and a cloud ceiling at about 1,500 feet,  said — nothing to prevent a modern jetliner from flying.”

Today’s scheduled first flight will mark the beginning of the test flight program that must be completed to obtain FAA certification. Today’s aircraft is one of six that will be used in testing which is expected to last nine months.

Boeing has 840 orders for the new aircraft which can hold up to 330 passengers and has previously announced plans to deliver the first one by the end of 2010.

“Our pilots told me the airplane performed beautifully,” said Mike Delaney, vice president and chief project engineer for the 787, in a statement. “We’re going through andanlyzing the data to ensure we’re ready for first flight. From evaluations we’ve done so far, everything looks good.” Stay tuned for updates… –Rebecca Heslin

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