Everett, Washington: Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jet passenger aircraft finally took to the skies for its maiden flight on Tuesday, making a three-hour trip that was described as a success.
"Today is truly a proud and historic day for the global team who has worked tirelessly to design and build the 787 Dreamliner -- the first all-new jet airplane of the 21st century," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 programme, in a news release. "We look forward to the upcoming flight test program and soon bringing groundbreaking levels of efficiency, technology and passenger comfort to airlines and the flying public."
The flight was watched by more than 12,000 employees and guests. The plane took off into the air from Paine Field in Everett and landed more than three hours later, and about 40 miles away, at Seattle's Boeing Field. It flew at a speed of 207 mph at 15,000 feet, which the company described as being typical for a maiden flight.
In the course of the flight, some of the aircraft's systems and structures were tested and flight data was transmitted electronically to a team of engineers at Boeing Field.
"The flight marks the beginning of a flight test program that will see six airplanes flying nearly around the clock and around the globe, with the airplane's first delivery scheduled for fourth quarter 2010," Boeing's news release said.
With the aircraft, Boeing has promised passengers "a better flying experience" which will include cleaner air and bigger windows, more luggage space and better lighting. For airline operators, it has promised greater efficiency ads the aircraft will burn 20 per cent less fuel than current models of comparable size and provide as much as 45 per cent more space for cargo.