Paris Air Show teasers show off Boeing’s ballet … and Neva’s flying car in Seattle?

Jun 19, 2017 Issues: Transportation & Infrastructure

Geek Wire: Paris Air Show teasers show off Boeing’s ballet … and Neva’s flying car in Seattle?

  • Alan Boyle

If you like airplanes, you’ll love Boeing’s teaser video for the Paris Air Show, which puts a 787-10 Dreamliner and a 737 MAX 9 jet through a series of moves worthy of a ballet.

The video preview has become a tradition for Boeing’s presence at the big show, which plays out next week. In the video, the planes take off at dizzyingly steep angles and fly in close formation with Pacific Northwest peaks serving as a backdrop.

Don’t expect those kinds of aerobatics in Paris – but do expect the 737 MAX 9, which made its first flight in April, to participate in a flying display. (Lockheed Martin’s controversial F-35 fighter jet will also take to the air.)

The 787-10 flight-test plane will be on view in Paris, along with a Qatar Airways 777-300ER, a P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft, Apache and Chinook helicopters and a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Boeing says the stretch model has won 149 orders from nine customers, including launch customer Singapore Airlines. The first deliveries are due to be made in the first half of 2018.

Between now and then, Boeing is putting the first three 787-10 planes through a series of flight tests to fine-tune the design and build up the data that’s needed for certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. Today’s flight marked the start of that process.

Takeoff from Charleston, S.C., came just after 9:30 a.m. ET (6:30 a.m. PT), sparking a round of cheers from the crowd at the airport. For about five hours, the jet traced a back-and-forth route over the state, ranging from Columbia to Myrtle Beach.

Today’s test was limited to an altitude of 20,000 feet and a speed of 250 knots. Bryan marveled that the airplane was as quiet as a whisper as he and Berg tried out the landing gear, flaps and spoilers.

“We really gave it a thorough wring-out, and it’s a beautiful airplane,” Bryan said.

The focus of the test program will shift to Seattle’s Boeing Field as early as next week. “We have a good plan laid out for the remainder of the year,” Berg said.

Ken Sanger, Boeing’s vice president and general manager for 787 development, said he was gratified to see how smoothly the plane went from design to assembly to first flight. “I think we nailed it,” he said.

Boeing’s South Carolina operation has come into the spotlight over the past couple of months for a couple of reasons. In mid-February, the 3,000 workers at the plant voted resoundingly against unionizing after a hard-fought campaign between the company and the International Association of Machinists.

Just a couple of days after the vote, President Donald Trump visited the plant for the 787-10’s unveiling.  Trump called the plane “an amazing piece of art.”

“The name says it all,” the president told thousands of workers and VIPs at the hangar. “Dreamliner, great name. Our country is all about making dreams come true.”

After an initial tiff, Trump has been working with Boeing executives on the replacement plan for Air Force One and the potential purchase of upgraded F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets.