29 JUNE 2009
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BOEING has again delayed the maiden flight of the 787 and also last week lost half of a Qantas commitment which is now down to 15 aircraft. The order book still stands at a very healthy 866. These days a first rotation is a complex business, unlike 27 July 1949, 60 years ago, when de Havilland’s Chief Test Pilot John Cunningham sitting in the cockpit of the prototype Comet (now Comet 1) , noting that Sir Geoffrey de Havilland was visiting Hatfield, got airborne for what tuned out to be a 31-minute maiden mission. Cunningham, extremely professional, and a famous night-fighter pilot of the Second World War, would have fully explored the flight envelope before getting airborne, like his Boeing contemporaries, but at the end of the day it was his judgment, and not a computer and the authorities that said go! A special moment in the history of aviation. Will the 787 fly before 27 July 2009? www.boeing.com
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