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Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing 787-8 is a mid-size, dual aisle, twin engine jet manufactured by Boeing, the American aerospace company. The aircraft is 20% more fuel efficient than similar sized commercial jets it is designed to replace, and to date, is Boeing's most fuel efficient aircraft. Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure, including the fuselage and wing. The engine nacelles are made of serrated edges that reduce the noise levels both outside and inside the cabin, by up to 60%. The aircraft also features raked wingtip to further improve the fuel efficiency. The windows are more than 30 percent larger than those on most similarly sized airplanes. Instead of pulling shades up and down, customers can adjust the brightness of windows with a button. Using an electrochromic dimming system, the windows turn from fully transparent to completely dimmed in gradual steps.

In response to the preferences of airlines around the world, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' new airplane is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a super-efficient airplane. The original customer objectives set for the 787 program in 2002 were for a more-efficient airplane that had the seating capacity of a 767 and the range and speed of a 777 or 747. An international team of top aerospace companies is developing the airplane, led by Boeing at its Everett, Wash. facility near Seattle. Several derivatives are being studied to provide additional capabilities of the 787 family of airplanes.

The 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 210 - 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 kilometers), while the 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250 - 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 kilometers). The -9 is a longer-body version of the -8 and is a long-range aircraft with increased passenger count over the -8. Future growth versions could address additional passenger count, cargo capacity, or increased range. One derivatives being studied is the -3, a short-range derivative of the 787-8 with the same fuselage size and passenger count. Several wing configurations and wingspans are also being studied to address increased payload and range requirements.

In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 will provide airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane. It will also travel at speeds similar to today's fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85. Airlines will enjoy more cargo revenue capacity. Passengers will also see improvements with the new airplane, from an interior environment with higher humidity to increased comfort and convenience.

The 787 is 15 inches (38 cm) wider inside at the head and shoulders level of the seated passenger - where it matters most. Airbus often says there isn't much difference between the 787 and their product. They say the difference in the fuselages amounts to only a 4.5 inch (11 cm) advantage for the Dreamliner at the widest place. Airbus is talking about exterior dimensions. And because the two aircraft have differently-shaped fuselages, the widest places on the airplanes - measured from inside the passenger cabin - are not necessarily in the same spot. The Airbus airplane has a single, circular fuselage - which means its widest point falls somewhere nearer the floor in the passenger cabin. What that means to you, the passenger, seated at the window, is a steep slope at the head and shoulders - sacrificing passenger comfort, and airlines' flexibility. With the 787's larger double bubble, there is a straighter sidewall and less of a slope.

The cross section Boeing chose for the Dreamliner provides a 9-abreast configuration - with the same kind of comfort levels found in economy class in today's airplanes such as in the 747 and the A330/A340. Basically, the very same triple seats used in the 747 could be used in a 9-abreast configuration in the 787. But the beauty of the 787 is the built-in flexibility for airlines for the different kinds of markets they serve. Our customers will have the option in the Dreamliner of providing a premium economy arrangement at 8-abreast. This allows for the largest seat available - bigger than you'd find today in economy - a 19 inch seat bottom. Now here's the issue. When it comes to comparing the 787 to the Airbus alternative, there's been some confusion. Should this be an 8-abreast to 8-abreast comparison? Or a 9-abreast to 9-abreast?

The key to this exceptional performance is a suite of new technologies being developed by Boeing and its international technology development team. Boeing has announced that as much as 50 percent of the primary structure - including the fuselage and wing - on the 787 will be made of composite materials.

An open architecture will be at the heart of the 787's systems, which will be more simplified than today's airplanes and offer increased functionality. For example, the team is looking at incorporating health-monitoring systems that will allow the airplane to self-monitor and report maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems.

Boeing has selected General Electric and Rolls-Royce to develop engines for the new airplane. It is expected that advances in engine technology will contribute as much as 8 percent of the increased efficiency of the new airplane, representing a nearly two-generation jump in technology for the middle of the market.

Another improvement in efficiency will come in the way the airplane is designed and built. New technologies and processes are in development to help Boeing and its supplier partners achieve unprecedented levels of performance at every phase of the program. For example, by manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section, we are eliminating 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners.

Regulators grounded the Dreamliner in January after two battery warnings on two separate planes. The battery faults raised fears of a possible mid-air fire. Fifty Dreamliners were in use around the world, but officials grounded them after a battery fire in a parked Japan Airlines 787 in Boston and another incident in which battery smoke forced an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways 787 in Japan. On April 19, 2013 U.S. air safety officials approved changes to the battery systems for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jets, a key step in allowing carriers to resume flying the aircraft. Ethiopian Airlines on April 29, 2013 became the world’s first carrier to resume flying Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, since it was grounded in January 2013 with battery problems.

The newest addition to the Boeing 787 line of passenger jets completed its first test flight September 18, 2013. The U.S.-based aviation company's new 787-9 took off from an airfield in Washington state near the factory where the plane was assembled while several hundred Boeing employees cheered. The 787-9 is six meters longer and can seat 40 more passengers than the original 787-8, which carries between 210 and 250 passengers. Boeing also says the newest version of the fuel-efficient jetliner known as the Dreamliner can also carry more cargo and fly further. After flight tests and certification, the first 787-9 will be delivered in June 2014 to Air New Zealand, the launch customer.

At the Paris Air Show, Boeing announced 18 June 2013 that it has launched the B787-10 Dreamliner. The new aircraft is the third member of what the US airframe manufacturer calls "the super-efficient B787 family". Commitments for 102 of theses airplanes from five customers across Europe, Asia and North America provided a strong foundation to support the development and production of the newest Dreamliner. Customer launch commitments for the B787-10 include Air Lease Corporation (30 airplanes), GE Capital Aviation Services (10), International Airlines Group/British Airways (12 units, subject to shareholder approval), Singapore Airlines (30) and United Airlines (20). The new B787-10 will fly up to 7,000 nautical miles (nearly 13,000 km) — covering more than 90% of the world's twin-aisle routes. The second member of the family, the B787-9, was in final assembly in Everett WA (USA), and is set to make its first flight later this year. Boeing had already started to design the B787-10, and international partners would be involved in detailed design in the months ahead. Final assembly and flight test of the B787-10 were set to begin in 2017, with first delivery targeted for 2018.

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Page last modified: 12-07-2014 18:07:41 ZULU