The plan was for the Boeing 787 to intercept our flight of three with an overtake on our right side with the Boeing 40 in the foreground and 787 Dreamliner in the background of the photo. The Bonanza was lead for our flight of 3. Two conference calls with Boeing flight test were conducted the morning of the flight to confirm details. The Boeing 787 was light and could overtake us dirty at approximately 150 kts and clean at 190 knots. Our flight of 3 was stabilized at 90 knots. This would provide a 3-7 second photo window during each overtake pass.
The shoot took place after departure from Hood River Oregon, 80 miles south of Mt Rainier. We climbed out of Hood River with the goal of reaching the south face of Mt Rainier at 12,000 feet at a prearranged longitude-latitude location at 2:15 PM. A 310 degree heading was selected for a favorable sun line and join up with the Boeing 787 serial number 001. Our flight was composed of 3 aircraft: An A36 Bonanza with both rear doors removed flown by Randy and Julie Ingraham as a photo platform, a Cessna 185 Skywagon flown by Jay Pemberton acting as a weather scout and safety overview, and the Boeing 40C flown by Addison. My son Ryan and his wife Taryn were staged for the photos in the Bonanza with Ryan in a safety harness grasping his Canon 40D cameras.
The weather did not pan out as planned and our weather scout C-185 proved invaluable to find us a last minute update location for a photo run 20 miles south west of Mt Rainer. Also the freezing level that day was 5000 ft and at 12000 feet were we were flying the air temp was -13Â°C. The prolonged exposure to the low temperatures caused camera failures but they were resolved by heating the cameras in the front of the Bonanza between each photo run. We were all dressed in cold weather flying gear (but not enough).
The 787 1st appeared at 12:30 climbing up to meet us through a broken cloud deck. The sight was absolutely breathtaking as Beoing Test Pilot Mike Carriker arced the graceful airplane wide to our left to to set up the 1st overtake on our right side. The four passes were perfect and the skill of Mike Carriker was quickly apparent. He made four passes on us in a matter of minutes with absolute safety leaving us star stuck. The Dreamliner in its element is beautiful and the experience is etched in all of us for ever now. With a brief broadcast from the Dreamliner he was gone as quickly as he had appeared and the images are now a historic record for all of us to enjoy.
Our many thanks to the Boeing company for the vision to make this event take place and there willingness to work with us.