NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner jet touched down for the first time in Charleston on Monday morning. Workers cheered the plane's arrival and will now get a first hand look at the aircraft.
The arrival came just before 11 a.m. and was an exciting time for Boeing and its workers who will soon be building the 787 Dreamliner. Monday marked the first time many workers got a chance to see the plane up close.
Dozens were on hand to watch together as the pilot flew the plane by the new North Charleston plant twice.
About 3,000 Boeing employees celebrated during a welcoming ceremony to christen the 787's arrival in the Lowcountry. The ceremonial event included fire trucks spraying an arc of water over the plane.
After clearing U.S. Customs, the jet and its crew moved to the Boeing facility near the airport terminal. After the celebration, the plane went inside the new assembly plant so workers could get a closer look. Workers got a chance to tour the plane and learn the various parts.
"(Today) we start the tours of this airplane. That's going to be an exciting part," said chief project pilot for the 787 Captain Mike Carriker. "Everybody here at the factory gets to take a chance to walk through the airplane."
The plane that arrived Monday is only a test plane and not a full passenger plane. When complete, this plane will be able to hold anywhere from 210 to 330 passengers.
Carriker says those passengers will be in for a smooth ride.
"It doesn't burn a lot of gas, doesn't make a lot of noise. The cabin on the inside is a 6,000 foot cabin, normally it's 8,000 feet," he said. "We carry more humidity, so after your 14-hour flight, or after your flight from Berlin to Charleston you feel better because you've had more humidity during that 9-hour period."
The windows and lights of the plane have a dimming feature and because of that the pilot says passengers could experience less fatigue.
"You're sound asleep and the person beside you opens the window, all this light comes in and it wakes you up, they can dim them up and down, it's wonderful," he said.
So far Boeing sales have soared with 850 orders for the jet to customers worldwide from 56 countries. Workers in the delivery department are ready for production to ramp up.
"It's awesome. It's great to see what we work on finally come in and be able to see the festivities, the product we put so much pride into working on every day," said Boeing worker David Johnson.
Carriker says customers that he has shown the plane to worldwide have been amazed by what they've seen so far.
Workers are set to start production in North Charleston next month. When the plant is up and running at full capacity Boeing hopes to roll out three 787 Dreamliners a month.
The 787 is en route to Boeing headquarters in Everett, WA from Warsaw, Poland. The plane has been on display at the Paris air show.
The plane will remain in North Charleston until Wednesday, then It will fly back to Seattle.