Under a clear blue sky, Boeing could finally relax for a moment earlier today and congratulate itself on achieving certification of the world’s most advanced widebody airliner.
Although certainly a bitter-sweet moment for many at Boeing after three years of painful delays and development headaches, there can be no doubt about the true significance of today’s event. With its many advances on so many levels, the 787 clearly marks the start of a new era in commercial aviation and the debut of a true game changer for the industry – just when it needs it most.
It’s been a long time coming, and with so many hold-ups and hurdles to overcome, it is hardly surprising that the sheer magnitude of Boeing’s technical achievement is in danger of being over-looked. But what achievements they are. The advent of the 787’s ‘more-electric’ systems architecture alone represents a significant milestone in the history of commercial air transport. Yet, alongside this the 787 also incorporates a primary structure wholly made from composite materials, advanced three-dimensional aerodynamic design, laminar flow nacelles, variable camber wing control, dual-HUD configured flight deck and 10:1 bypass ratio turbofans, to name but a few.
ZA002 salutes ZA001 and the corwd with a fly-by at Everett (Boeing)
That’s why there’s probably a little more than the usual sense of pre-delivery excitement among the program employees and supplier partners. There is naturally the proud moment of accomplishment compounded, no doubt, by the relief of those who sometimes felt it might never happen. But there’s also the quiet feeling that a tiger is about to be unleashed.
Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 program director Simon Carlisle certainly thinks so. “It will transform the business – there’s no doubt about it. The economics are staggering. I suspect that the reality of all this is about to bite.” The real test comes in the next few weeks and months as it finally enters service, but the legacy of the prolonged development means that no other commercial airliner in history has entered the fray of day-to-day operations so well prepared.
Joint FAA/EASA certification was presented by FAA's Randy Babbitt and EASA's Patrick Goudou in front of ZA001. (Boeing)
At today's event, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt presented the U.S. Type Certificate while Patrick Goudou, executive director of EASA, presented the European ticket. The FAA certificate was presented to program veterans 787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker and 787 Vice President and Chief Project Engineer Mike Sinnett, while the EASA clearance was given to Dan Mooney, vice president of 787-8 Development, and Terry Beezhold, former leader of the 787 Airplane Level Integration Team.
Even as Babbitt handed the plaques over you can bet the minds in the Boeing crowd were already moving on to the challenges of delivery, entry-into-service, production ramp up, Trent Package B certification, GEmx-1B powered 787 ETOPS/F&R and certification, 787-9 design and test, 787-10X………OK, well you get the picture...back to work everyone!