Boeing 787-9 departs on first flight

The Boeing 787-9 left this morning on its first flight at 11:02 AM PDT. We discussed the implications of this first flight on Sept. 13.

We were at the first flight departure at Paine Field, Everett (WA), for what was essentially a photo-op (this isn’t a complaint); no Boeing officials were made available to talk with. The flight departed an hour later than schedule. As we write this, the flight is still airborne, due to land at Boeing Field at 4pm 3pm (back to original schedule) PDT. A press conference with the pilots follows, though we will miss this.

While waiting, a LAN 787-8 also prepared to depart on a test flight. Compared with the 787-9, the 788 is a stubby little airplane and the 789 much sleeker. We only imagine what the even longer 787-10 will look like next to its siblings.

Here are some videos we shot. We’ll start with the take-off, followed by other videos shot while waiting for first flight.

Note the noise level of the 787 as it flew by; it’s compromised by the chase photo planes and TV news helicopters. Compare this with the Boeing 777-300ER test flight that preceded the 789.




26 Comments on “Boeing 787-9 departs on first flight

  1. More than four hours and a half in the air already.

    Now it seems heading back west to the coastal area.

  2. looks like a photo op circle around mt rainer- prior to lining up for approach to Boeing Field ( King county airport south side of seattle )

  3. Just flew a full circle around Mt. Rainier, heading northwest to BFI for landing now.

  4. overflew BFI at 10K feet now over bainbridge and starting to turn looks like will land going south at BFI

    • Weren’t you the one who said something like this back in April?

      “On the first flight of the 787-9 in Aug/Sep, if you really believe that, after all we have seen on the 787 over the last 8 years, well, what can I say? .. Boeing PR is still is convincing for some? Or their are Boeing supporters that are easy to seduce with happy forecasts?.”

      We should probably not be inventing things to “read between the lines”.

      • Mike, I’ve got to give Boeing that, they lived up to the promise for an August/Sept flight. They’ll have to meet a dozen more deadlines/ promises to restore the damaged credibility they have in this area.

        I and probably you too were watchingstreaming video of the first flight yesterday. The crew boarded, aircraft taxied to the runway and then it stood there for sometime To my growing surprise the presenter obviously didn’t notice, kept spreading nice to knows (though you heard his voice going up), Boeing copied in a background video and after sometime the aircraft started moving again. No-one said a worth about th pause. Until today.

        “He said there were some small “setting up” messages that were present before the flight, but these were not new issues. The messages don’t prevent the flight but need to be checked before take off, Boeing later said.”

        My interpretation: Some old system warnings came up again just before take-off & it took some checks / 20 minutes to convince the test pilots to clear the flight.

        • We were there an figured there was some final checks going on. But what also happened was they were waiting for the chase planes to show up from Boeing Field.

      • keesje, the 787-9 first flight is not the only deadline/promise that Boeing has met in the last 2 years. There have been several deadlines/promises met on the 787-8 as well. You just choose not to acknowledge them.

        It seems as if you are searching pretty hard to dredge up negativity on a day of program success. Reading between the lines is by no means reliable, as has been demonstrated over and over in this forum. Also, criticizing the production quality of the webcast is a nice touch.

        So what if some systems warnings came up and they took their time getting them corrected. It’s a first flight and they are required by SOP to exercise an abundance of caution.

      • “No-one said a worth about th pause. Until today.”

        What? Do you really think you are breaking significant news here?

        So what if there is a pause. I’ve participated in numerous test programs involving tests and demos in front of important customers. Pauses happen! They are part of the life of people who test stuff for a living.

      • Mike, I consider the 787-9 first flight yesterday a successful milestone for a promising aircraft.

        But I have learned that if something goes wrong Boeing will absolutely be the very last to confirm.

    • Hmmm not reading between lines

      1) weather delay earlier
      2)paine field is an active runway- other planes usinbg
      3) t-33 took off from boeing field in seattle- its 35-40 airmiles- yet it was about 15 to 20 minutes before they wrere overhead- probably checking weather ( which Mike b mentioned at news conference they made a few extra turns to avoid shortly after takeoff- they overflew whidbey island air station ( navy )- not really normal- but no big deal

      4) on way back- did photo op loop around mt rainer

      5) on way back they had to detour to let a few other planes land ahead- per mike bryan

      6) So why does a 10 to 15 minute delay at start- which may have been to seattle weather ( t-33 takeoff) and also near seatac( commercial airport ) etc seem to be significant and cause a ‘ read between the lines’ comment ? Probable due to ATC.???

  5. This is how a jettimer should look – a real Boeing, long and sleek, Beautiful!
    Looking very much forward to se it by my self. The 788 is too short – like the A332.
    The 777-300ER has indeed the right dimensions as well.
    (I have been on the 777-300ER numerous times, and have not really been thinking of the actual sice of this aircraft – until recently I was on one of the last flights with SK on a MD-82/87 from LHR to CPH – sitting in a MD-82/87 and looking UP on the 777-300ER – I have to say it looked MIGHTY)

    • If everything goes right I see a majority of the 787 backlog becoming 787-9. Mainly because the 787-8 has few advantages over the -9. The 777-200LR/A330-200 can do things in terms of e.g. payload-range their longer sisters can’t. But this doesn’t seem to be the case for the -8.

    • “”This is how a jettimer should look – a real Boeing, long and sleek, Beautiful!
      Looking very much forward to se it by my self. The 788 is too short – like the A332.
      The 777-300ER has indeed the right dimensions as well.””

      The 788 and the a332 are too short? Please give us a technical explanation as to why that is so. I can’t wait to read it.

      • How should I give a technical explanation of “beautiful”???
        I guess you misunderstood my statement.
        I am talking about how it looks, – not how it works

  6. This is a nice accomplishment by Boeing. Props to them and a beautiful plane. If some choose to be perpetually negative about one or the other of the manufacturers, then it is their right to do so. However, it seems awfully petty to be that way since both manufacturers are working hard to deliver new advanced products. For those who have never done research or produced something new…breaking news: It’s hard to do! As enthusiasts, it shouldn’t be too hard to applaud accomplishments as well as examine missteps
    As enthusiastsI think it is better to applaud the positiveegative… my 2cents of course

    • It appears Boeing learned a thing or two about the 787 family with the painfully slow EIS of the 787-8. I look forward to the 787-9 production and delivery being on time and perhaps beating expectations. The 787-10 should also enjoy the same success in bringing this latest version of the 787 family to the world’s airlines.

  7. Sorry… examine missteps in a reasonably objective manner…politeness and courtesy are nice too ;0)

    The little box trips me up…

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