History made as Boeing rolls out first SC-made 787 Dreamliner

Boeing rolls out the 787 Dreamliner on Friday.
Boeing rolls out the 787 Dreamliner on Friday.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner in production.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner in production.

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - History was made in the Lowcountry as Boeing rolled out its first North Charleston made 787 Dreamliner on Friday.

Thousands came out to watch the unveiling of the Dreamliner 787, a plane that took almost 6,000 people to build. It's been years in the making. From getting Boeing to South Carolina, to building the plant and to finishing the plane.

"This is the proverbial tip of the iceberg with what I believe is yet to come," former governor Mark Sanford said."From the standpoint of economic impact and employment impact."

Sanford and his administration got the wheels turning on bringing Boeing. Now that they've arrived, they brought jobs, planes and inspiration.

"Remarkable workers here in North Charleston are producing a world class product that's literally the envy of the world as it stacks up with competitors across both the country and the world," Sanford said.

"The roll out is an event that symbolizes the fact that the aircraft is complete. It's ready for what we call flight line activities, flight line systems and the types of testing we do prior to flying it," Boeing South Carolina General Manager Jack Jones said.

Like a knight in shining armor, the 787 Dreamliner came through the mist Friday afternoon ready to rescue the local economy. The first South Carolina made 787 Dreamliner made its debut.

"To those who are wanting a job, to those in South Carolina who are hurting, help is on the way," Sen. Lindsey Graham said during a ceremony at the North Charleston Boeing plant on Friday.

The history making ceremony marked the debut of the first large commercial airplane ever built in the south.

"When I look at this 787 Dreamliner, I see the power of the human spirit and camaraderie amongst co-workers," a Boeing worker said."Co-workers who left behind stereotypes of gender, age, race, religion and political views."

When Boeing announced it would build a plant in North Charleston two years ago, the company immediately got slapped with criticism from its workers in Washington state. Then came the complaint from the National Labor Relations Board alleging the company chose to build a non union South Carolina plant as payback for past union strikes in Washington.

Lawmakers celebrated victory over it all on Friday.

"The NLRB couldn't be here with us today," Sen. Graham said.

Hard feelings aside, Friday marked a new frontier for South Carolina aviation.

"Today, what I'd like to do is welcome the South Carolina team into a very small and elite fraternity," Boeing CEO Jim Albaugh said.

The first Dreamliner will go to Air India. North Charleston's Boeing plant should produce three more 787's by the end of the year.

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