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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dreamliner unleashed: A closer look at the 787's record-setting trip (Video)


It was a Dreamliner trip for the record books as a 787 test plane did something no mid-size jet has ever done.
"It's really cool," said Mike Carriker, new airplane development chief pilot. "We took off from Seattle, turned left and flew around the world."
That around-the-world flight set records for speed and distance for the plane's weight class.
Two days before, Boeing's history-making team of 12 had packed its gear and saddled up for takeoff.
"Like a thoroughbred horse that's been trapped up in the barn, we're going to let this airplane run," said Carriker
They boarded the plane with an eye on weight, a focus on safety and a goal of testing the plane's state-of-the-art, aerodynamic capabilities.
"It's the most fuel-efficient plane in its class, almost 20-percent more fuel efficient than anything of its size," said Mike Sinnett, vice president and chief project engineer of the 787 program.
On Tuesday, Dec. 6th at 11:02 a.m., the 787 took off from Seattle's Boeing field. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the jet entered European airspace in Spain, went down the Mediterranean, across the Middle East and over India.
The airplane landed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, marking the Dreamliner's distance record of 10,337 nautical miles. Less than two hours after re-fueling, the team was in the air on the way back to Seattle.
Crew members spent their time in a sparse interior -- sleeping on the floor and eating prepared food. Engineers tested systems as six pilots took turns at the helm.
"It was incredible how everything was by-the-plan," said Capt. Rod Skaar. "The fuel burn was spot-on for the duration of the flight."
On Thursday, Dec. 8th at 5:29 a.m., the Dreamliner landed, securing its second world record -- this one for eastbound speed around the world.
It clocked in at 42 hours and 27 minutes. There was no previous record in this weight class.
The team tested the Dreamliner's high-performance capabilities, and now has two world records to show for it

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