North Charleston, SC (AP) - A crew from Boeing has completed the maiden flight of the first 787 manufactured in South Carolina.
The aircraft took off shortly after noon Wednesday from North Charleston and returned shortly after 5 p.m. Six Boeing employees were onboard. The aircraft spent about 45 minutes on the taxiway for several tests, including the brakes.
Pilot Randy Neville called it a beautiful flight. The aircraft flew almost 2,000 miles, mostly off the Atlantic coast and climbed to 41,000 feet.
As the plane returned to the Boeing assembly plant, hundreds of company workers cheered and gathered around the plane as the six-member crew walked down stairs leading from the aircraft.
The plane has been sold to Air India. Its next flight will be to Texas for a paint job before it's flown with representatives of Air India. The plane is to be delivered by the end of July.
It's the first plane manufactured at the $750 million assembly plant that opened last summer.
By the end of this year, the company plans to have four planes completed. Boeing hopes to be producing about three-and-a-half planes a month by the end of 2013. The speedy, light aircraft are made partly from composite material of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic.