Recently I got to see two pretty amazing sights courtesy of a generous member of our local Project User Group. In a sense what I saw were project deliverables, but they're both too darn cool to frame that way.
I got invited to see firsthand the first flight of the new Boeing 747-8 intercontinental passenger jet on March 20. The airplane itself is described here, and today's first flight has some good news coverage and photos here and here.
If, like me, you don't know what the -8 is, here's my very quick summary. The -8 (which the Boeing folks pronounce as "dash eight") is a new generation of the venerable 747 that's been stretched, given new wings, engines and additional seating for moving more people very long distances. The elongated "hump" of the upper deck is immediately noticeable. Here's a photo snapped just as she lifted off:
What impressed me about seeing the big bird take off was that it was not nearly as loud as I expected, and it just seemed to want to fly. It really just popped right up and gained altitude very quickly.
I've been fortunate through my past work on Microsoft Project and my involvement with the Project User Group and PMI to frequently chat with Boeing engineers, project managers and other Boeing employees. From my perspective, Boeing is undoubtedly the most mature large organization I know of with regard to project management methodology. I have this thought every time I step onboard a Boeing aircraft when I fly.
I was not surprised at all that the -8 maiden flight occurred pretty much exactly as scheduled. What did surprise me, and apparently everyone else watching (including a lot of Boeing folks spending their Sunday morning watching this) was repeated touch-and-go flybys by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner #1 just before the big -8 got rolling. Yep, the Dreamliner just swooped right in, said hello to the runway and then was up up and away just like that. Then it flew around and back in low two more times. Here's the one decent photo I managed to snap (click to enlarge):