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Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Model 787 is Boeing's newest aircraft type. It is a mid-size widebody aircraft for medium to long ranges and intended as the successor of the Boeing 767. It competes with the Airbus A330 and A350.
A Boeing 787 on the final assembly line in Everett - Photo: Boeing
50 per cent composites
The Boeing 787 is an all-new airplane and Boeing has incorporated lots of new technology in the design. About 50 per cent of the primary structure, including the fuselage and wing, are built of composite materials, like carbon fibre reinforced plastics. For comparison: the Boeing 777 incorporates 12 per cent composites in the primary structure. The use of composites makes it possible to manufacture large one-piece fuselage sections, which eliminate thousands of aluminum sheets and ten-thousands of fasteners. The General Electric GEnx or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 turbofans burn about 8 per cent less fuel than the engines of earlier widebody aircraft. So-called chevrons on the engine nacelles help to reduce noise.
The first Boeing 787 after roll-out on 07-08-2007. - Photo: Boeing
The first flight of the Boeing 787 was initially scheduled for August 2007, but Boeing had to admit delays due to production problems several times. One problem was a shortage of fasteners in the industry and another complication was that sub-assemblies delivered by partners often were not complete so that a lot of unexpected extra work was necessary on the Everett production line. Boeing kept its original schedule for the roll-out on 8 July 2007 (“7-8-7”), but the first flight, which should have happened a few weeks later, took place after two-and-a-half years, on December 15, 2009. The US and European aviation authorities, FAA and EASA, certified the 787 on August 26, 2011.
The futuristic looking Boeing 787 cockpit - Image: Boeing
The first delivery to All Nippon Airways (ANA) was orignally planned for May 2008, but the first production Dreamliner was delivered on 26 September 2011. ANA performed the first commercial flight on 26 October 2011.
Boeing initially wanted to build three versions of the Dreamliner. The 787-8 for 210 to 250 passengers and a range of 15,200 km (8,200 nm), the stretched 787-9 seating 250 to 290 passengers and a range of up to 15,750 km (8,500 nm) and the 787-3 with 290-330 seats, optimized for much shorter flights of 4,650 up to 5,650 (2,500 to 3,050 nm). Because the airlines didn't show much interest in the latter version - JAL and ANA were the only customers - Boeing cancelled the 787-3.
First flight of the Boeing 787-9 - Photo: Boeing
The birth of the second Dreamliner-version, the 787-9, went much smoother than of the 787-8. There were no big problems during the nine-month flight-test programme. The first 787-9 made its first flight from Everett on September 17, 2013. Certification was obtained on June 6, 2014, and the first delivery took place on July 9, 2014, to Air New Zealand. Other early users of this version are United Airlines and All Nippon Airways.
In spite of all problems, the Boeing 787 had a spectacular sales start. Boeing received more orders for the type than for any of its airliners in such an early state of the program. At the moment of the orderbook comprised orders for more than 600 aircraft. Mid-2014 a total of around one thousand Dreamliners were ordered, including 486 787-8s and 413 787-9s. To increase production Boeing opened a second assembly line for the 787 in North Charleston (South Carolina), where labor unions are less powerful than in and around Seattle in the State of Washington.
The first two Boeing 787's for ANA wear a special livery. - Photo: Boeing
ANA - All Nippon
The fourth Boeing widebody