The Arrival of Qantas’ first 787-9 Dreamliner

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There are times as an avgeek where you live for the special occasions, to witness those great moments that you might look back on in a few years and think ‘Yes, I was there!’

I have been fortunate enough to have a few of these days under my belt. While I missed the first ever A380 service to Sydney, I was there to welcome Qantas’ first A380 ‘Nancy-Bird Walton’ after completing her delivery flight from Toulouse via Singapore. A momentous occasion for the third launch customer of the world’s largest passenger plane.

So, while the 787 has been in service for quite a number of years by 2017, when word got out that Qantas’ first was going to arrive at Sydney on Friday, 20 October 2017 I made sure I had the day free as this was going to be an event – the arrival of an aircraft that is coined to usher in a new era of travel for the flying kangaroo…

It would turn out to be an early start on a strangely wet day in Sydney. After months of sun and no rain, 20 October decided to make up for lost time. It was a wet and dreary morning and a commute from home that I was dreading as a result (anyone who knows Sydney’s roads will know why!) A 7am arrival limited my spotting options – which runway direction was going to be in operation? Which runway would the 787 ultimately land on?

I had figured out that the 16’s were in use, so decided to go to the newly renovated Shep’s Mound for the shot – I figured Qantas Drive might be a bit difficult to get to with limited time, and to risk heading to the Boat Ramp or Mill Stream Lookout for a 16L shot was too risky – an all or nothing approach (if it landed 16R, you’d see nothing!)

Avgeek’s had come out in numbers for the event so I parked at a packed Shep’s Mound and in the rush I left my phone in the car. I had no flight tracker and no will to leave my spot (and my gear) behind, so had to use the video camera for most of the vlogging and old fashioned eye sight to see where the plane would end up. I got in a number of practice shots on the wet Runway 16R with some great water effects from the reverse thrust – I was primed for an awesome QF 787 shot.

The Dreamliner trolled us all and went for 16L instead and the chance for a spectacular shot evaporated with it – but that’s the way it can go with aviation and at least I managed to get some shots of its approach and taxying past our location. ‘Great Southern Land’ took a long and slow lap of honour of the airport to get to her hangar where the official Qantas festivities would get under way.

Since her arrival, I’ve been out to get some more footage as she has been flying familiarisation flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Perth before the long haul duties to Los Angeles and London via Perth begin.

I hope you enjoy the coverage of the morning in the vlog below 🙂

Author: Abraxas

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