It is just after three in the afternoon when a Boeing 777-X test aircraft rolls onto the runway at Le Bourget Airport near Paris in the oncoming rain. The pilot applies full thrust, the machine spirals into the sky at a frighteningly steep angle, powered by the largest and most powerful engines currently in commercial aviation.
Inside the wide-body jet there is a strange cream-white plastic body with the inscription A350 next to a lot of technology on an outer wall. A Boeing engineer points it out with a grin during a short tour of the aircraft before take-off. The object, which is almost 40 centimeters wide, is here for illustration purposes, he explains.