This morning I decided to head over to Boston Logan International Airport armed with my camera and iPhone to try and catch the Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8 “Dreamliner” as it landed for the first scheduled flight into Boston (and the US for that matter), turned around, then took off back to Tokyo Narita Airport. The weather was looking iffy so I made sure to go with a jacket that was both insulating and had some measure of water repellence to it. When I arrived at Boston Logan, I got off the Blue-Line MBTA shuttle at Terminal B and made my way to the top of the parking garage. This is a GREAT place to plane spot as you can see all the runways at BOS as well as many of the taxiways and ramps. When I approached the spot I planned on viewing I saw about 30+ other plane spotters standing at the railing to the parking garage, all anxiously waiting the arrival of the beautiful bird from Boeing.
A few of the spotters had radios tuned into the public broadcast of the Logan Control Tower so we knew when the Dreamliner was on final. The flight from Tokyo Narita Airport was running a few minutes late so this was helpful. Boston Logan was using runway 4R for landing today, which would put touchdown right in front of us:-) The only thing that was unfortunate was the cloud ceiling level was 600 feet so we would only see the plane a few moments before it landed. After seeing a few planes come through the clouds which we thought were the Dreamliner, we finally say JAL flight 8 appear as if from a dream.
We all had our eyes and cameras glued onto the heavy as it made its way back to Earth, taking picture after picture of this historic event.
The Boeing 787-8, after a 13 hour flight from Tokyo Japan, touched down in Boston at 11:37 am EDT making it the first scheduled commercial passenger flight on the new Dreamliner to land in the United States. In addition, it is the first direct scheduled service to Asia from Boston.
The plane then taxied to Terminal E where it received a water canon salute from a Boston Logan fire truck as it pulled into the gate. Unfortunately the Terminal E building blocked us from seeing this, though some media outlets like NECN had access to the ramp for it’s arrival. A few of the spotters and I then went down to the arrivals area outside US Customs to try and catch the flight crew as they made their way from the terminal. We saw lots of people waiting on the arrival of passengers from Tokyo. Japan Airlines also had a nice little display with signs, brochures, and a promotional video playing to commemorate the day.
After a short while the Japan Airlines Pilots and Flight Attendants appeared and graciously posed for photos while we welcomed them to Boston.
We also saw many Japanese tourists groups, excited to have just been on the first Dreamliner flight to the US. JAL gave everyone a little bag of swag which contained, in addition to other items, an inflatable JAL Dreamliner which some passengers had the flight crew sign.
At this point we decided to head back to the top of the Terminal B parking garage to catch the departure back to Tokyo, scheduled for 1:10 pm. On the way, I got an alert on my phone from my flight tracking app that the 787-8 departure was delayed. I then texted a friend who was on the BOS-NRT flight to text me when they pushed back from the gate so we could all be ready with our cameras. I kept getting text’s and alerts of delay after delay due to the small ceremony they had at the gate with the departing passengers, executives from JAL and Boston Logan, and the press. They finally boarded and pushed back from the gate at about 2:15 pm. In the meantime we were spotting other planes on the runway, including a great shot of a British Airways Boeing 747-400 landing after its flight from London.
Eventually the Dreamliner appeared from around Terminal C and we made our way out into the rain and wind from inside the terminal to see it. It had a nice long taxi towards us, giving us plenty of photographic opportunities.
It made its way past us and towards the end of runway 4R and holding short as a few planes that were cued up, had to land before JAL flight 7 could take off back to Japan. Finally at 2:51 pm the 787 made its way onto 4R, spooled up its engines, lumbered down the runway with a full tank of fuel, rolled back, and disappeared back into the clouds from whence it came and onwards to Tokyo.
At the time of posting this, JAL Flight 7 is flying over Russia with 4 hours to go before touching down at Tokyo Narita AIrport. I am so glad I headed out to Boston Logan today as it turned out to be a great day spent seeing this historic aviation event with fellow aviation enthusiasts. Now I can’t wait to get myself onto a Dreamliner flight, maybe even the one from BOS-NRT:-)