Would you send a postcard of Boeing’s new Dreamliner?

December 16, 2009

BOEING/787

For some fans, Boeing’s first test flight of its new 787 Dreamliner this week was apparently a virtual postcard.

The aerospace company says people sent about 25,000 postcards electronically of the lightweight commercial plane made primarily from carbon-based plastics and titanium.

About 1 million people logged in to watch the take-off and landing, observing the long-delayed first flight from about 13,000 cities and about 200 countries, the company says.

Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive officer of Boeing Defense Systems, watched from St. Louis — about 2,000 road miles from Seattle where the flight happened — in a Webcast meeting with about 100 employees who had a live feed from the event.

“I can tell you we all took great pride in seeing that first airplane get into the air. And I’ve been working in this business for 20-some years and one of the best things about this business is being able to witness a first flight. There’s nothing else like it,” Muilenburg said in a telephone interview at a Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit.

“And yesterday’s event just reinforced one of the great aspects of our business, and that’s being able to see a first flight. I saw it virtually yesterday, but I can tell you we all paused to enjoy the moment,” he said.

“The environment was one of celebration and excitement about the future,” Muilenburg said.

So did the champagne corks pop? Were there glasses clinking around the room?

“No,” he said.

A Boeing spokesman enlightened us: “We don’t allow alcohol on Boeing facilities anyway.”

There’s always non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice…

Photo credit: Reuters/Robert Sorbo (Boeing Dreamliner takes off on first test flight)

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