Obviously aircraft manufacturers have to do a lot of test flights, not just before they introduce a plane, but before they introduce any updates. At the moment Boeing is testing the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 TEN engines on their 787s, which will reduce fuel burn due to an improved pressure compressor. This also gives airlines more options as to the engine types they want with the plane, since up until now a vast majority of 787s have been equipped with General Electric engines.
In order to certify these engines they first need to do a lot of test flying, including doing some very long flights. So last night a Boeing 787-8 took off from Boeing Field for a nearly 18 hour flight, to test out the engine performance on an ultra longhaul flight. While it might seem logical to fly it on a longhaul journey to Europe and Asia so they can fly in a straight line, it’s a lot easier to fly it domestically in terms of permissions, and also in terms of easily diverting in the event that something goes wrong.
But rather than just flying it back and forth, they decided to have a bit of fun with this, and decided to “draw” a 787 in the sky, with their 787.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) August 3, 2017
Here’s a timelapse of the flight:
They've done it! I have no idea why they've done it, but @BoeingAirplanes has painted a 787 in the sky.
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) August 3, 2017
The 787 has now finished the 787 drawing formation, and has just over 90 minutes remaining until it arrives back in Seattle. It’s just entering Montana airspace.
How cool is that?! You can track the plane live here.
This isn’t the first time Boeing has done something like this. They did something similar for their 737 MAX, where they drew the “MAX” logo in the sky.
Because the @BoeingAirplanes 737 MAX’s ‘MAX’ needed a gif too.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) February 12, 2017
However, I’d say the 787 drawing is a bit more impressive. 😉
This is totally unrelated, but is anyone familiar with how these test flights work in terms of crewing? I know they have Boeing test pilots, but is it like a longhaul international flight where you have four pilots and two sleep at a time, or is there more excitement on these test flights, and everyone just has a really long day/night? Do they even have crew bunks on these test planes? I’d be fascinated to learn how this all works.