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Boeing's 787 meets its oldest ancestor, on high

In a bit of aerial promotion, Boeing recently put its newest and oldest planes in the skies.

On May 8, in the skies over Mount Rainier, south of Seattle, Boeing's latest airplane, the 787 Dreamliner, had a brief encounter with the company's first commercial production plane, a Model 40.

When the new kid on the block meets the grizzled old veteran, it can be a beautiful sight to see.

On May 8, in a promotional moment worthy of its setting, Boeing's newest airplane, the 787 Dreamliner, briefly met up in the skies over Washington State's Mount Rainier with the company's first-ever commercial production aircraft, the Model 40.

As seen in the image above, the rendezvous was a serious moment of old meets new. But for Boeing, the chance to put the two planes together in the sky was all about taking a quick moment from months of intensive flight tests on the 787, which is getting ready for commercial deployment, as well as having a little fun.

At 12,000 feet, the 787 Dreamliner, piloted by Boeing chief test pilot Mike Carriker--who was at the controls of the first-ever 787 flight last December--maneuvered his giant aircraft into position just in front of the Model 40, a plane built in 1928 that is today the oldest flying Boeing aircraft on Earth.

The first-ever Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off for its first flight on December 15, 2009, in Everett, Washington. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

According to Boeing, because of its "innovation and efficiency," the Model 40 was the deciding factor in Boeing Air Transport--the company's airline subsidiary--"winning the lucrative Oakland-to-Chicago air mail route in 1927."

Now, as the 787 nears its final hurdles before becoming part of many airlines' fleets, it must prove that, after years of delays and huge expectations, it can make as much of a difference to the company and the entire field of aviation as did its octogenarian relative. Either way, for one moment, at least, a beautiful timeless moment took place in the Washington sky.