Aspiring Sky Writer Plans Boeing Test Flights

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Maximum endurance test flights on highly polished commercial aircraft can be boring—taking the phrase “drilling holes in the sky” to the new flight levels—but Boeing’s flight test team has been making an effort to add some levity to the ordeal. The new Boeing 787-800 needed an 18-hour test flight as part of its ETOPS certification, so the flight planners turned the long-range twin-jet into the world’s most expensive Etch-A-Sketch, tracing an outline of the airplane across the entire country—wings spanning from the southern tip of Texas to the northern reaches of Michigan.

This is not Boeing’s first radar track drawing, but it is the most artistic and the company’s first foray into self-portraiture. Past efforts include spelling out the word “MAX” for the new 737 and an interstate-sized “12” in homage to the Seattle Seahawks. Boeing spokesman Doug Adler Jr. in a statement to the media said, “The nose of the Dreamliner is pointing at the Puget Sound region, home to Boeing Commercial Airplanes.”

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