On August 2, a Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner departed Seattle on a 2,000 mile journey to Michigan. Upon reaching its destination, the plane then banked south. The Dreamliner would ultimately change direction several times before it landed back in Seattle on the morning of August 3. Flight tracking sites like Flightradar24 noted that the Dreamliner’s route had traced the outline of the plane itself over a significant portion of the United States.
Flight trackers were quick to catch on and pondered the meaning of the unique flight on social media. While some commenters jokingly wondered if the pilot had been drinking, others accurately guessed that the plane was on a test flight. Boeing confirmed that the unique route was the result of an 18-hour endurance test.
““Rather than fly in random patterns, the test team got creative, flying a route that outlined a 787-8 in the skies over 22 states,” Doug Alder, Jr., a Boeing spokesman, told The Washington Post. He went on to elaborate on the significance of the Dreamliner’s position, which not only spanned the northern and southern United States but pointed the plane’s nose toward Puget Sound where Boeing’s Commercial Airplanes headquarters are located.
This is not the first time that Boeing’s test team has gotten creative with a route. In fact, the Dreamliner logo has been traced before, all the way back in 2012. At the time Boeing was quick to point out that the test was not a “joy ride.” They’ve since loosened their collars a little, accommodating questions from flight trackers on their social media accounts. Earlier this year another Boeing plane, the new 737 MAX, traced its name across 3400 miles of the western United States.
Not everyone’s a fan of test flight fun though. The Quartz news site posted an article criticizing the flight’s estimated 300,000kg carbon dioxide dump while the plane was still in the air.