First of Many: 787 Dreamliner Celebrates 10 Years Since First Flight

December 16, 2019 in Commercial

On December 15, 2009 at precisely 10:27 a.m. Pacific on Dec. 15, 2009, the 787-8 Dreamliner took to the skies for the first time and launched a new era of aviation. More than 12,000 employees and guests witnessed the dawn of a new era of air travel when the 787 Dreamliner took off on its first flight.

The three-hour Dec. 15 flight by 787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker and Capt. Randy Neville tested some of the airplane's systems and structures. It began a flight test flight test program in the ensuing months by five other 787s, leading to first delivery to customer ANA in 2011.

The 787 is a groundbreaker in design, build and technology. As the first airplane in which composite materials made up 50 percent of the primary structure, the Dreamliner can achieve 20 to 25 percent greater fuel efficiency and fewer carbon emissions. The 787 fuselage is a one-piece composite sections, eliminating 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 to 50,000 fasteners per section compared to previous airplanes.

The airplane is also a passenger favorite with the largest windows of any jet; air that is cleaner, more humid and at a higher pressure for greater comfort; large overhead bins; LED lighting; and technology that senses and counters turbulence for a smoother ride.

Today, more than 80 customers have ordered more than 1,400 787s, which have so far carried 420 million passengers and enabled more than 250 new point-to- point routes s on the strength of is massive fuel savings and fewer emissions. 787 airplanes are built at the rate of 14 airplanes a month between factories in Everett, Washington, and North Charleston, South Carolina - and it all started with that fateful day in December 2009.

“In the ten years since the 787 first took flight, this airplane program has flourished thanks to our dedicated teams in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina,” said Brad Zaback, Vice President and General Manager of the 787 program. “We couldn’t have reached this milestone without their dedication to safety, quality and delivering on our commitments to our customers. I couldn’t be prouder to work with them every day.”