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Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Gambling Dreams

Plagued by problems from the outset, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner undergoes further testing at the Kona International Airport (KOA) in Hawaii
Dreamliner undergoing further testing at the Kona International Airport

Boeing came back to life after releasing the legendary 747, which, to our taste, is still the ultimate long-haul aircraft. They also struck gold with the 777 and the 737, which is the top-selling aircraft in its class. Now, Boeing brings us the 787 Dreamliner. The first assembled aircraft of a test fleet of six rolled off the line in Everett, Washington, on a beautiful, clear blue July Sunday. A gorgeous and sleek machine with a huge engine, majestically swept wings and sexy winglets, the 787 is a dream come true — for sales anyway, with more than 800 orders from customers in dozens of countries. Production is now at ten planes per month: seven in Everett, WA, and three at Boeing's new plant in Charleston, SC.

All Nippon Airways was the first carrier to begin flying the Dreamliner Very light due to its carbon fiber composite construction, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner requires up to 20 percent less fuel to keep it flying
All Nippon Airway's new Dreamliner
Carbon composite shell

Launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA), which ordered 55 planes, was the first carrier to began flying the Dreamliner. It launched domestic flights in November 2011 and added international routes the following month. On August 31, 2012, Chilean brand LAN airlines announced that its airline would be the first in the Americas to receive the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. United Airlines, the first US carrier to receive the Dreamliner, flew its new jet from Houston to Chicago, touching down at O'Hare International Airport on November 4, 2012. British Airways received its first 787 on June 26; it began regular flights from Heathrow to Toronto on September 1, 2013.

Norwegian announced on May 7, 2014 that it has signed agreements to lease three new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. Two of the aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and the third in 2017. The 787-9 is the newer, larger and more environmentally friendly Dreamliner model, which is scheduled to enter commercial service in late 2014.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the production line in Everett, Washington United Airlines' Boeing 787 Dreamliner arriving at LAX from Japan
Boeing 787 Dreamliner in production
United Arlines' Dreamliner arriving at LAX from Japan

So why the 787, you might ask? Well, it’s all about fuel consumption, efficiency and lower operating costs. Boeing’s new aircraft is very versatile and can access any airport, unlike the A380 that required custom runways and terminals. It is very light due to its carbon fiber composite construction, and therefore requires up to 20 percent less fuel to keep it flying. The aircraft is expected to have a much longer lifespan since corrosion is greatly reduced and cycles are augmented. The passenger cabin comes with a revolutionary design, offering more space and comfort. Cabin pressure will be set so that passengers will experience less fatigue, humidity levels will be increased and air filters will do a better job. All this should improve the quality of life for the weary traveler, whether jet-setting around the globe or waiting patiently — again — to take off from a congested airport.

Now that Boeing has recovered from the disastrous battery fire that grounded its Dreamliners worldwide, it announced on June 18, 2013 the launch of the 787-10. The new 787-10, for which Boeing has already received more than 100 orders, will fly up to 7,000 nautical miles with seating for 300 to 330 passengers, depending on seat configuration. The second member of the Dreamliner family, the 787-9, is in final assembly at Everett, WA, and is expected to make its first flight later this year.

Facts & Figures

General 787 Stats:

  • 8,500 Nautical Mile range
  • First flight July 08, 2007
  • Twin aisle seating configuration
  • Length — 186 feet
  • Wingspan — 197 feet
  • Height — 56 feet
  • Maximum takeoff weight — 484,000 pounds
  • Total Cargo Volume — 4,400 cubic feet
  • Cruising Speed — Mach 0.85
  • First commercial airplane to switch from metal to composite
  • Passenger Capacity — 210-330

For more information, visit Boeing's official website

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