Dreamliner lands in Tucson, calls Air & Space Museum home
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The massive blue and white 787 Dreamliner touched down in Tucson around 11:45 Thursday morning. More than two hours later, it was still be taxied to Pima Air and Space Museum from Davis Monthan Air Force Base just across the street.
This is the aircraft's final resting place. As you might imagine, folks at the Air and Space Museum are extremely happy about that.
From Palmdale, California to Tucson, Arizona, the aircraft's last flight lasted only about an hour Thursday.
The second of three prototypes, this 787 Dreamliner is being retired because it's served its purpose. Boeing's Dreamliner fleet is alive and well, providing commercial service across the globe.
What better place to put it to rest than one of the top aviation museums in the world today.
"The relationship with Boeing and Pima Air and Space Museum goes back decades,” says Mark Gaspers, spokesperson for The Boeing Company.
"It's a milestone aircraft in the way the first Boeing 707s from the early 1950s transformed commercial aviation,” says Scott Marchand, executive director of Pima Air and Space Museum. “This is really one of those once in a lifetime technological leaps forward.”
Made of composite materials, this plane is lighter and more fuel efficient than its commercial counterparts.
It seats nearly as many passengers as a 747. But with two engines -- compared to four -- it's the most cost-effective, long distance airliner money can buy.
"I like Tucson because you never know what you're going to see looking up,” says Troy Tomcheck, aviation enthusiast and long-time member of the Air and Space Museum.
On most days, it's C130s, A10s or maybe an F16. But on this day, there was a new aircraft on the Tucson horizon.
"The fact that it's a brand new airplane in a museum... that's kind of mind-boggling when you think of it,” says Larry Lively, a fellow Pima Air and Space Museum member.
For the next three weeks, the Dreamliner is being decommissioned and prepared for public presentation.
But on April 17, it's formally being introduced and dedicated to the Air and Space Museum.
That's when the public can see for themselves this latest piece of aviation history.
"Every time you come here, you see something new,” Lively says, smiling at the sprawling Boeing aircraft as it crosses Valencia Road onto Pima Air and Space Museum property. “It's always a learning experience.”