Two years after the official rollout of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner--and a seemingly endless series of delays--the plane finally made its first flight Tuesday in Everett, Wash. Before Boeing employees, press, and aviation fans, the plane took to the air at 10:28 a.m., soaring into the sky while thousands cheered.
The plane is vital to Boeing's plans to keep ahead of its archrival, Airbus, which had its first commercial flight in 2008. Boeing must now put the 787 through about nine months of tests--assuming there are no more delays--before delivering the first plane to a customer--expected to be All Nippon Airways--in 2010.
One of the last tests that had to be completed before the first flight was the so-called taxi test, in which the 787 Dreamliner taxied down the runway at high speed, lifting its nose into the air, before hitting the brakes.
The first 787, as seen at the official rollout event for the Dreamliner, on July 8, 2007 (07/08/07). Thousands were on hand for the event. But while the first flight was originally supposed to take place later in 2007, the program has suffered two years of frustrating delays.
Before the official 787 rollout event on July 8, 2007, Boeing staged a unique photo opportunity, lining up one of each of its existing 7-series planes, the 707, the 717, the 727, the 737, the 747, the 757, the 767, and the 777. There are, as yet, no public plans for a 797.
A view of the other side of the mockup 787 crew quarters, where six crew can rest during flight, as seen at the Dreamliner Gallery, in Everett, Wash., where Boeing shows customers the different options they can choose for their 787s.