This afternoon, Boeing will put the new model of its Dreamliner jet in the air for the first time.
The 787-9 is 20 feet longer than the current version (the 787-8), holds 40 more passengers, and can fly 300 nautical miles farther on a full tank of gas.
A successful test flight would help Boeing get over the seemingly endless problems that have plagued the original Dreamliner.
Most seriously, the FAA issued a rare emergency order in January following two battery malfunctions, grounding the planes for several months.
Since the order was lifted, the 787 has not encountered battery problems, but it continues to stumble. Monday, Norwegian Air Shuttle had to kick 70 passengers off a flight, after a hydraulic pump problem limited the weight the plane could carry, according to Reuters.
But Boeing is determined to move past those issues (and possibly steal some thunder from Bombardier, which put its own new jet in the air for the first time on Monday). Good news is especially welcome, since Airbus began flight testing its Dreamliner competitor, the A350 XWB, in June.
Boeing has already booked 388 orders for the 787-9.
Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren of Airchive.com is in Everett for the maiden flight, and snapped these exclusive photos on Monday of the 787-9 going through its pre-flight taxi testing. Airchive kindly shared the photos with us:
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