The Boeing Company completed its sixth and final test flight of the controversial new 787 jetliner yesterday, Sunday, 17 October 2010. According to flightaware.com, the 787 flew roundtrip from Boeing Field in Seattle to Moses Lake, Wa., and took approximately two and a half hours to complete the mission. This event was one and a half hours longer than the last flight of the 787 (specifically the ZA006) on 4 October 2010; its planned two hour flight was cut short, and spanned just one hour, allegedly due to a coolant leak.
It’s good to see these flights FINALLY taking place (and doing so successfully). The latest estimates indicate that the delivery date of the first 787 has been pushed out to the middle of the first quarter of 2011—nearly three years after its original scheduled service entry date of May 2008.
As 787s come flying out (pun intended) of the Mukilteo/Everett Washington assembly plant, where does one go about “parking” one of these behemoths? Boeing has the world’s largest building by volume, which at one time created its own weather, but even that only has so much room as the production lines for the 747, 767, 777, and 787 are all contained within. Next to the world’s largest building, over a private bridge that straddles a four-lane highway (imagine seeing a huge plane leisurely taxiing past during your commute to work), and next to the Future of Flight Museum (I highly recommend a visit), Boeing has had to park three of its new 787s (two for Royal Air Morac and one for Japan Airlines Corp.). This happy happenstance has provided visitors the opportunity for a close-up view of the new Dreamliner as they are ferried in buses to the factory tour. These aren’t the only 787s out and about at the Boeing facility and the adjoining airport Paine Field (KPAE); two more 787s sit outside the hangar awaiting parts.