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Boeing 787 was here during a test run

My office has several large windows that look out over the south end of the Medford airport runway. On Tuesday afternoon around 3:15, I saw a Boeing 787 (The Dreamliner) zipping down the runway for takeoff. I was excited to see such an amazing airplane here in Medford but was left wondering what the heck it was doing here. I have read several recent articles about this aircraft. It is my understanding that production and testing are well behind schedule and commercial delivery has not yet occurred. What gives?

— Brian W., Jacksonville

Sure was hard to miss that one on the runway, with a big ol' "787" stamped on its tail, wasn't it?

While most locals were too busy dodging raindrops on Tuesday, Brian, you had a room with a view to the future.

As you correctly point out, Boeing's latest commercial wunderkind is still being put through its paces before airlines take delivery.

Airport Director Bern Case said it's fairly common for test pilots to land in Medford when they're taking planes out for a spin.

"It's random ... ," Case said. "We've had some military tests, but it's been a while for a civilian craft."

Case said the Dreamliner pilots gave airport firefighters a look at the plane, so they could familiarize themselves with a 787 for one of those unlikely emergency landings.

Medford's runway and terminal are plenty big enough for 787s, which are smaller than 747s and Russian-built Antonov AN-124-100 cargo planes.

The plane spent a little more than an hour in Medford, Case said, before heading back into the gray skies.

"They like to test in all conditions," Case said. "If anything, the rain was a plus."

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