Coming in to land

Boeing's first 787 Dreamliner on final approach for its inaugural landing, at Boeing Field, in Seattle. The plane had lifted off for its first-ever flight hours earlier from Paine Field in Everett, Wash.

The successful first flight was a milestone for Boeing, as the 787 is about two years behind schedule, delayed by a wide range of problems and issues and cost overruns.

Now, the $10 billion plane--of which there are currently six--must go through about nine months of further tests before the first plane can be delivered to a customer.

All told, 55 airline customers have pre-ordered 840 787s. That number has gone up since the roll-out of the plane two years ago, and that may be mainly because it is made from composite materials, a factor that is supposed to make the plane 20 percent more efficient than other planes of its size.
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Touchdown

At 1:33 p.m. on December 15, 2009, the 787 Dreamliner touched down at Seattle's Boeing Field. The first flight lasted three hours and five minutes, and was shortened due to bad weather in the Pacific Northwest.
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Takeoff

At 10:28 a.m. on December 15, 2009, Boeing's first 787 Dreamliner lifted off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., for its inaugural flight.
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Landing with IMAX helicopter

The 787, just seconds after landing, speeds down the Boeing Field runway with a helicopter shadowing it on the east side. The helicopter was carrying a camera being used to make an IMAX film about the development of the 787 Dreamliner program.
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IMAX helicopter

A close-up of the helicopter carrying the huge camera being used to make an IMAX film about the development of the 787 Dreamliner program.
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Ready to rumble

At Paine Field, in Everett, Wash., the 787 turns its engines to full throttle and begins to push forward for takeoff.
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Takeoff

Liftoff! At 10:28 a.m. on December 15, 2009, the 787 took the air for the very first time.
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Hooking on

Minutes after landing, the 787 is hooked up to a pushback tug, which then towed the plane towards a giant tent, where thousands of Boeing employees and other guests were awaiting its arrival.
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Pulling in

The pushback tug pulls the 787 towards the tent, minutes after the plane landed at Boeing Field in Seattle on December 15, 2009. The plane had just completed its first-ever flight.
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In the cockpit

The pilots of the 787, Mike Carriker (in the window) and Randy Neville, look out from the cockpit of the plane.
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Success!

Chief pilot Mike Carriker pumps his arms above his head as he emerges from the plane after its successful first flight.
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Both pilots

Chief pilot Mike Carriker (right) and co-pilot Randy Neville greet a group of Boeing dignitaries at the top of the stairs moments after the two emerged from the 787.
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Press on the platform

Dozens of reporters and photographers awaited the 787 Dreamliner's landing at Boeing Field in Seattle, on December 15, 2009.
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787 with thousands watching

As the 787 Dreamliner taxied out to the end of the runway at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, for its first-ever flight, thousands of Boeing employees look on excitedly.
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Taxiing out

The 787 taxis out for takeoff.
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Instrument

An instrument used during the first flight hangs from the top of the tail of the 787 Dreamliner.
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Rear view

A rear view of the 787 Dreamliner as it taxis out for takeoff at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, on Dec. 15, 2009.
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Airborne

Seconds after liftoff, the first 787 Dreamliner heads for the clouds above Everett, Wash.
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