When the opportunity came along to host 10 readers of Australian Aviation on a close up tour of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Sydney today, I jumped at the chance.
In the first instance it was an opportunity to once again climb over this wonderful aeroplane that I first saw in Seattle last year. Secondly, I had the chance to meet those valuable people who take the time to read the words that I have written each month and listen to who they really are. And who they are became evident almost as soon as we boarded the shuttle bus to be conveyed to the Dreamliner’s parking spot at Sydney Airport.
Their enthusiasm was tangible and their backgrounds diverse. They ranged from a professional in the pharmaceutical industry to student pilots about to embark on their own aviation adventure. Some were studying at the University of NSW while another was about to move onto the airlines. A few had driven from the suburbs, one from Canberra and yet another had flown in from Adelaide to see this new-age flying machine.
The buzz created by this diverse group was audible at a distance as they pointed, photographed and smiled at the Dreamliner. They circumnavigated the aeroplane numerous times, pausing to look at the mammoth engines, or the clean compact undercarriage; always stopping for just one more photograph.
The Boeing team was, without exception, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Always at the ready to answer questions about the pride of their fleet, the Australian Aviation contingent kept them busy, from the flightdeck to the aft galley. All the while I was reminded of the prime reason that I tap away at the keyboard each week for my blog and the magazine. It’s because I’m privileged to have access to a wide range of aviation endeavours and the process of sharing those experiences with like-minded aviators is immensely satisfying. This is even more apparent when the opportunity arises to meet the readers.
Very ably supported by my wife, also a Boeing pilot, we fielded questions as varied as where did we learn to fly, our thoughts on flight instruction and the workings of heads-up displays.
Dreamliner chatter and aviation banter flew thick and fast as the sun started to sit a little lower than the 787’s raked wing-tip. It was time to go and I could fully understand the reluctance to call it a day as Boeing had made it a day to remember.
So a big ‘thank you’ goes to the wonderful team at Boeing and my extended family at Australian Aviation. Personally, I would like to express my gratitude to all of the readers of the magazine, my blog and even my book. The fact that you take the time to read the culmination of a good deal of effort in the process of sharing a passion is enough to keep me tapping away at this keyboard.
Thanks again, but I’d better go. There is still so much more to write…
(This is an edited version of Owen’s personal blog entry. Read the full version here.)