Series: When a Dreamliner Comes to Washington
Boeing 787 at Reagan: Conclusion
As the Boeing 787 touched down at Washington’s Reagan National Airport (DCA) on Monday, there was a collective gasp from the members of the media positioned on the balcony outside of DCA’s Historic Terminal. With it’s swept back wings and distinctive Boeing blue paint job, the 787 Dreamliner doesn’t look like other airplanes. It looks like it’s in a league of its own.
Boeing designed the 787 in response to the needs of its customers, specifically so it could serve long-haul routes that didn’t need the high-capacity of other aircraft. With an order backlog sometime in the ballpark of 850 planes, it seems like Boeing’s hit a home run with the Dreamliner.
“We’ve been thinking about this airplane for ten years,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh. “This is the first departure from how airplanes are built,” said Albaugh, referring to the airplane’s use of almost exclusively composite materials as well as it’s efficiency and fuel-conservation features.
Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was equally excited about the aircraft. “The 787 is proof that America still has the knowledge and the skill that…planted the stars and stripes on the moon,” said LaHood.
Michael Huerta, acting FAA Administrator, praised Boeing for their “proactive” work in identifying problems and allaying concerns that may have arisen from Boeing’s heavy use of composite materials. The 787 Dreamliner is the first aircraft to make use of such materials in an overarching capacity.
There’s something majestic about the 787, something that evokes the feeling of a bygone era. Perhaps it’s just the media configuration, or the fact that we viewed it from DCA’s historic terminal, where we were allowed out on a balcony (!) just yards from taxiing planes, and the TSA was a mere afterthought. Anyhow, it’s hard to believe that, at one point, the 787 will be filled with screaming babies and underwhelming plane-food meals.
While that is bound to happen one day, at least let us have our moment. For now.
In the next few days, we will post exclusive photo galleries of both the exterior and interior of the 787 as we viewed it at DCA. Stay tuned!
Photos by Taylor Michie / Racing Winds Media.