Summer 2015

Flying on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner: ‘A powerful feeling’

Roderick Waaijenberg is flying on a Boeing Dreamliner. TenCate Advanced Composites supplies composite materials for this type of aeroplane. 'Thanks to the high cabin pressure, I remain fitter during the flight.'

Roderick Waaijenberg is flying on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a sustainable and innovative plane. Where each flight begins The crew room of Arkefly in the WTC at Schiphol is the place where each flight begins. It’s where the crew assembles and the members of the flight team get to know one another. ‘Here we get the flight plan and prepare for the flight. Then it’s off to the crate, naturally via the Marechaussee and security control. Preparations continue in the aeroplane: in the cockpit we enter the route into the navigation system, while the cabin crew see to the boarding of passengers. Once they’re on board, we’re ready for departure.’ Every time that Roderick is at the head of the runway, the little boy in him rises to the surface again. ‘It’s fantastic to open the throttle. What a wonderful sound! You’re pressed back in your seat and then it’s up and away in the air with a machine of approximately two hundred thousand kilos. The powerful feeling this gives is truly fantastic.’ He still clearly remembers the first time he did it … with an empty plane. ‘Tremendously exciting! As was the first flight with passengers. Then I was extremely conscious of the responsibility you bear as pilot.’ 

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The Dreamliner, the plane that Roderick Waaijenberg (picture) has been flying since the end of last year, is an innovative aircraft, partly because of the application of composites. ‘These are incredibly strong materials and through their application in the Dreamliner’s fuselage the difference between the outside air pressure and the inside cabin pressure can be higher. This means that the so-called cabin altitude – the perceived height in the cabin – is lower. Consequently the journey is less demanding for both passengers and crew.’ Moreover, an inbuilt air humidity system on the Dreamliner ensures that the relative air humidity on board is somewhat higher than on other planes. ‘The higher cabin pressure and better air humidity create a better climate on board, so our passengers arrive more refreshed at their destination. And it contributes to the wellbeing of the crew. I really notice this: I feel fitter since I’ve been flying on the Dreamliner. Our frequent flyers say the same too.’ Other advantages are that the applied materials are resistant to corrosion and fatigue, thus reducing maintenance costs. ‘This is chiefly an advantage for Arkefly,’ he continues, ‘but I find it reassuring to know that the best materials currently available have been used. It contributes to a feeling of safety. The control system of the Dreamliner is also innovative and in my view highly intuitive.’

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A Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Arkefly

‘My work gives me great satisfaction. The crew, which is different on every flight, the changing destinations and the sometimes unpredictable weather conditions ensure that it remains fascinating. And it’s a pleasure to be able to take people to their holiday destinations. When they step aboard the Boeing Dreamliner into the spacious cabin, you can see they find it a fine and extremely attractive aircraft. In one way or another they’re much happier on board.’ 

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Although he has been flying professionally for eight years, Roderick Waaijenberg feels he is still at the beginning of his career. He dreams of further advancement. ‘I would like to continue developing and gain promotion: to become a captain – if possible on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.’ 

See the Dutch video.

txtures 2 summer 2015 cover