17 December 2009

Aviation coolness

As was widely reported, the Boeing 787 finally took flight the other day, only two years behind schedule.  I was lucky enough to watch live on Boeing's web broadcast as the Dreamliner took off from 34L at KPAE.  I used to live in the traffic pattern for that runway, and I still kinda miss all the planes flying over my house.

One thing really caught my eye watching the plane in silhouette, flying off into the misty sky:


Seriously, check this out:

Boeing 787 Dreamliner First Flight

and this

787 wing flex

Wowie.  The wingtips appear to be elevated above the top of the fuselage.  As amazing as they are, these screen grabs understate the degree of flex that was apparent in the initial video.

According to this, the wingtips can flex up as much as 26 feet!  (though that's at 150% of max load.)

The visual effect was elegant, graceful and beautiful, to be honest.  It looked very much like a bird soaring.  But I wonder how comfortable passengers will be looking out the windows and seeing the unmistakable upwards curve in the wing?  (Note: conventional airliners' wings also flex, but the effect is not as noticeable.)  I guess that's what happens when you build a plane out of plastic.  Also, the linked blog speculates that if they do a wing-break test, the wings might be so strong/flexible that the wingtips could actually meet over the top of the fuselage.  How cool would that be?


  1. http://vodpod.com/watch/1183260-boeing-787-dreamliner-wing-break-test

    The money shot is at 1:16.

  2. I noticed the same thing! It looked like it would start flapping it's wings any minute.

  3. Awesome post. I have to show my son your pictures. My sister lives outside of Pittsburgh by the flight patterns and her family is used to the overhead noise, but we never sleep good there!

    Enjoy your weekend.

  4. Remember--when the plane is on the ground, they wings hang from the plane. When the plane is in the air, the plane hangs from the wings.

  5. Impressive but I don't think my stomach or nerves could handle photos of the thing in TURBULENCE.


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