NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Pilots said the first flight of Boeing's newest Dreamliner, built entirely in South Carolina, was "about as perfect as it gets for a test pilot."
Two pilots said they tested the 787-10 every way they wanted and said it flew every way they expected. Pilots went through a 50-page checklist in a flight designed to gauge the plane's performance.
The first flight took off at approximately 9:38 a.m., more than 20 minutes ahead of its scheduled departure and landed around 2:30 p.m., ahead of expected arrival time.
The flight totaled four hours and 58 minutes, according to Boeing spokesperson Elizabeth Silva.
Piloted by Boeing Test & Evaluation Capt. Tim Berg and Capt. Mike Bryan, the airplane performed tests on flight controls, systems and handling qualities, Silva said. The 787-10 will now undergo comprehensive flight testing before customer deliveries begin in the first half of 2018.
"From takeoff to landing, the airplane handled beautifully and just as expected," said Berg, chief 787 pilot. "The 787-10 is a fantastic machine that I know our customers and their passengers will love."
The plane, a Dreamliner 787-10 was unveiled on Feb. 17 during a visit from President Donald Trump.
"What an amazing piece of art, what an amazing piece of work," President Trump said in front of the new aircraft at his first return to the Palmetto State since his win in the Republican primary, a visit he called a celebration of American engineering and jobs.
The 787-10 Dreamliner is built exclusively in South Carolina and has received 149 orders from nine customers across the globe, including 30 from Singapore. The 787-10 completes the Dreamliner family.
According to Justin Hale, 787 Product Marketing Leader, it's an exciting time for Boeing, a "point of transition."
"We've gone through a lot of development in recent years." Hale said. "We've done exactly the right thing in the design of this airplane."
The 787-10 is a long haul airplane, featuring brand new engine and system designs as well as a better cabin experience for passengers. The plane has a high entry way, wide passenger cabin and larger overhead bins for baggage.
More than 2,300,000 parts were used to build the 787-10. The 787-10 is the third plane in the Dreamliner fleet. It is longer and lighter than its predecessors and seats 330 people.
According to Ken Sanger, Vice President General Manager of 787-10 General Development, the new Dreamliner is the most fuel-efficient of the family. Sanger said the program is on track though had an early roll out in February and early first flight Friday from North Charleston.
Approximately 3,000 people, including Boeing employees, joined Friday's take off.
"I've seen the -8, the -9 and now the -10 fly out.," longtime Boeing employee Donna Rivera said. "The team itself, everybody's excited. All their hard work, their time, days in and days out we've spent. it's a very rewarding thing."