First S.C. Dreamliner flies again
The first South Carolina Boeing 787 Dreamliner flew for the fourth time Monday afternoon, completing a three-hour voyage over the Atlantic Ocean before returning to the North Charleston plane- making campus.
“All went as expected,” Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger wrote in a message a half-hour after the 6 p.m. touchdown at Charleston International Airport and the jet’s subsequent taxi to its parking spot next to the South Aviation Avenue delivery center.
In an email, Eslinger described the trip as “another round of flight testing, coming one step closer to completion and customer delivery” to Air India.
A photo attached to that email was labeled “FAA Flight” with Monday’s date, but Eslinger would not confirm a Federal Aviation Administration pilot was aboard.
“We usually don’t go into that level of detail,” she said.
The plane rolled out of the North Charleston factory April 27 and first took to the sky May 23. It flew to Fort Worth, Texas, on May 30 for painting by a Boeing contractor and returned June 10 sporting the red, white and gold stylings of India’s national carrier.
Its tail, a rendition of the chariot wheel of the Hindu sun god, Surya, shimmered in the late afternoon sun Monday.
Boeing officials have said delivery to Air India is expected by the end of the month, but they have not given a date.
Air India, which has struggled financially since merging with Indian Airlines in 2007, has accepted Boeing’s undisclosed compensation offer for more than three years of 787 delivery delays but has yet to take delivery of any of the 27 planes it ordered in 2005. And hundreds of its pilots have been on strike since early last month.
Boeing South Carolina officials have said they expect to deliver the first four locally made 787s to Air India by the end of the year.