FARNBOROUGH: VIDEO - Dreamliner makes its Farnborough debut

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It was supposed to be here two years ago, but finally Boeing's air show dream came true yesterday when the 787 touched down at Farnborough.

The arrival, at 09:09, marked the end of the carbonfibre airliner's first transatlantic flight, which had begun 9h 31min earlier from Boeing Field, Seattle. At the controls for the historic flight were Boeing test pilots Mike Bryan and Ted Grady.

Dreamliner ZA003 is one of four Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787s involved in the flight-test programme and equipped with a partial cabin and test equipment.

boeing 787 arrives at farnborough, siva govindasamy/flightglobal.com
 © Siva Govindasamy/Flightglobal.com

"We've had flights that were this long before, but this was the first time we've gone international and the first time we've not ended up back at Boeing Field on a flight of this length," says Tom Sanderson, who is test director ZA003 and was on board the flight.

During the trip - which was the type's first extended twin operations flight - the crew performed a series of tests that did not interfere with the aircraft's flight, says Sanderson. "We did things that didn't involve any manoeuvring or anything of that sort. Primarily we were testing communication functions, especially things at high latitude - working with the sat system, HF system and datalinking system."

Operating as flight "BOE787" with around a dozen crew on board, the jet's great-circle routeing took it north from Seattle across Canada, Greenland, the North Atlantic and Ireland, with the Dreamliner crossing the English coast near Liverpool. Before touchdown the 787 made a low pass, waggling its wings to the large crowd by Farnborough's runway that had gathered to watch its arrival.

The airliner's international air show debut comes shortly after Boeing issued a "cautionary note" that the 787's first delivery to All Nippon Airways could slip "a few weeks" into 2011, although the company maintains that it still plans for a year-end handover of the first production Dreamliner.