It’s been 13 years since Boeing last flew an airliner in the flying display at a major international air show, but the 787-8’s spirited performance at Farnborough makes the long wait worthwhile.
Even better for those of us gathered at the Boeing chalet today was a running commentary on the display from Mike Carriker, the original test pilot for the program. Carriker, who is now chief project pilot for Boeing’s new airplane product development group, described the 787’s display profile as it was being flown by 787 chief pilot Randy Neville and Boeing test pilot Mike Bryan.
The aircraft on display is destined for Qatar Airways and is one of 30 787-8s ordered by Akbar Al Baker in 2007. The aircraft is also powered by General Electric’s GEnx-1B, marking the first appearance of the engine at the Farnborough show.
Taking off into a squally-looking sky, the 70,000 lb rated engines thrust the 787 skyward at a 40 degree nose-up attitude and 170 kt climb to begin the routine. Banking around at angles up to 70 degrees, the aircraft performed a flaps up fly-by at 280 kts. Carriker commented that the A380, which has wowed the crowds at air shows for years now, does not fully retract its flaps during the display sequence as it does not have enough air space to accelerate to the appropriate speed.
The routine included a touch-and-go-landing to demonstrate the 787's low-noise characteristics and position for a downwind landing.
Carriker also commented that the crew were experiencing more than 2g during the routine. “That's nothing the aircraft isn’t built to take….though I can’t say the same for the passengers.”