Se­crets of the Boe­ing 787 Dream­liner re­vealed


New Idea - - News - By Jenny Brown

With only seven weeks un­til dead­line, it seemed to be a mis­sion im­pos­si­ble to de­liver the first new Boe­ing 787 Dream­liner on sched­ule for its in­au­gu­ral Qan­tas flight to Aus­tralia.

It was a race against time at Boe­ing’s Seat­tle fac­tory as de­sign­ers, en­gi­neers, fit­ters, train­ers and crew read­ied the ma­jes­tic air­craft – dubbed ‘Great South­ern Land’ – for its ground-break­ing jour­ney. In the highly-reg­u­lated avi­a­tion in­dus­try, this was a gamechanger – not least for Qan­tas pi­lots Lisa Norman and Alex Passerini, who were charged with bring­ing the air­line’s de­but B787-9 Down Un­der.

‘Land­ing the first Dream­liner into Syd­ney and re­al­is­ing my dream came true is a mo­ment I will never for­get,’ says Lisa, who has been fly­ing for 32 years, 28 of them with the na­tional flag car­rier. ‘It’s a beau­ti­ful air­craft.’

Just what makes this jour­ney so special is re­vealed in a new doc­u­men­tary – First Flight: Se­crets Of The Dream­liner – which gives an un­prece­dented fly-on-the-wall peek inside the Boe­ing fac­tory.

‘View­ers will be im­pressed how quickly Boe­ing can put to­gether the Dream­liner, from 18 days to 14 days, which is amaz­ing for such a tech­no­log­i­cally-ad­vanced air­craft,’ says 50-year-old Lisa, who first flew solo in a tiny Piper Chero­kee War­rior. ‘They will also be sur­prised by the amount of peo­ple across Qan­tas that came to­gether as a great team to make this one of the most suc­cess­ful de­liv­er­ies in Qan­tas’ 97-year his­tory.’

The Dream­liner boasts the most ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing in the skies, built to fly fur­ther and with less fuel than any other air­craft. But Qan­tas plans to push it fur­ther than other air­lines, link­ing Aus­tralia to Europe in a sin­gle hop from Perth to London.

‘Over­all, it’s a great trav­el­ling ex­pe­ri­ence with larger win­dows, spa­cious cabin feel and light­ing that is sci­en­tif­i­cally proven to as­sist with jet lag,’ says Queens­lan­der Lisa, who shares two chil­dren with her part­ner Wendy.

‘The love for fly­ing is in my blood. My grand­fa­ther served in the RAAF dur­ing WWII and one of my un­cles was an Ansett cap­tain. I have al­ways been fas­ci­nated by any­thing in the space and aero­nau­ti­cal field. I have li­cences for cars, bikes, boats and fly­ing.

‘The first time I ever took the con­trols as a pi­lot was ex­hil­a­rat­ing and sur­real, but there were many hur­dles... Some gen­tle­men ini­tially did not think women could or should fly and we were not wel­come.

‘The big­gest chal­lenge was hav­ing to prove I could fly ev­ery time I stepped onto the flight deck.’

Sea­soned pi­lot Lisa shakes hands with Qan­tas CEO Alan Joyce be­fore the Dream­liner’s maiden voy­age.

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