You can watch the Boeing 787 Dreamliner First Flight Live, estimated take-off time 10:00am PST (18:00 GMT), Dec 15, 2009.
I used to read Aviation Week when I was working in the Canadian Automated Air Traffic System (CAATS) project and the insightful trade magazine has some backgrounds and news coverage (and very worth watching video). Read the maiden flight as reported by MarketWatch, Wired, and Seattle pi.
Here is an excerpt from AW’s “After A Long Wait, The 787 Is Poised To Fly” (emphasis added),
“Boeing will cover just the basic flight envelope when its 787-8 takes to the skies for the first time. But this jet, the first conceived and built in the 21st Century, is anything but basic.
It first appeared as the airline industry was struggling through a post 9/11 slump and dared to question the accepted wisdom of markets, manufacturing and materials. Its answer to the first was the biggest home run in aviation history; its response to the second has been troubled at best and its selection of the third is still to be proven.
With three passenger models, and (later) discussion of a possible fourth, the 787 has been gaining attention from before its launch in 2004.
The design uses a composite airframe, advanced engines and a distributed electric architecture to make a lighter, “smarter,” more fuel-efficient aircraft. Boeing is promising an airplane with 20% lower operating costs than current models through a combination of improved aerodynamics, a lighter airframe and fuel savings from either the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx-1B engines being offered.”
Here is another excerpt from AW (emphasis added),
“Pilots Mike Carriker and Randy Neville lifted the 390,000 lb. test airplane flying north from Paine Field on the start of a nominal five-hour flight that is to end with a landing at Boeing Field in Seattle.
The takeoff rotation was at 140 knots. Carriker climbed the 186-ft. long 787 to 2,500 feet initially to assure its flight stability. The flight plan calls for him and Neville then to gradually proceed through a series of reduced flap settings while flying east over Moses Lake toward Coer d’Alene, Idaho.”