Boeing’s first 787-9 has completed its first flight, taking off from Everett at 1102 local time on September 17, before landing over five hours later at Boeing Field, Seattle.
The flight was crewed by 787-9 senior project pilot Mike Bryan and 787 chief pilot Randy Neville. They departed north from Everett, and tested the RR Trent 1000 powered aircraft’s systems and structures during the five hour, 16 minute flight, which reached an altitude of 20,400ft and a speed of 250kt.
“We accomplished a lot in this flight, and it went really well,” said Bryan. “The 787-9 is a great jet and we wanted to just keep on flying.”
Air New Zealand, as the first customer scheduled to take delivery of the 787-9, with 10 on order, welcomed the first flight.
“Air New Zealand congratulates Boeing on what it has achieved today. This is a significant milestone in a program that will enhance the travel experience for friends, families and businesses connecting around the world. We are hugely excited knowing that in less than a year Air New Zealand will be the first airline to take the 787-9 into commercial service,” chief executive officer Christopher Luxon said.
“The 787-9 will be a game changer for Air New Zealand. Not only is it significantly more fuel efficient than the aircraft it is replacing, the 787-9 also represents a significant growth opportunity for our business as it opens up the prospect of expanding our Pacific Rim footprint. We look forward to welcoming the first of our 10 new 787-9s into our fleet mid next year.”
In all, 25 customers have ordered 388 787-9s, with the variant accounting for 40 per cent of all 787 orders received to date. Not included in that customer number is Qantas, which has options and purchase rights for up to 50 787-9s. (Qantas subsidiary Jetstar’s first 787-8 flew on the weekend.)