Boeing 787 Commuter Airplane

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Boeing 787


As the Boeing 787 Dreamliner took to the air from the Boeing Field in southern Seattle for its maiden flight on December 15, 2009, no doubt there was a collective sigh of relief from all those who have been involved in the development of this mid-size, twin-engine jet airliner, which is anticipated to be the company’s most fuel-efficient airliner yet. Making use of composite materials for most of its construction, the Dreamliner was a collaborative project involving numerous suppliers around the globe, and by the time the airplane made its appearance at a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007, the anticipation was so great that Boeing had reportedly secured close to 600 orders.

Unfortunately, a series of unforeseen problems and delays resulted in the scheduled date of delivery being altered several times, with the original date of May 2008 becoming a distant memory and the anticipated date being pushed forward to the fourth quarter of 2010. It would seem that the delays were primarily due to the collaboration of suppliers, with some not being able to meet their commitments in time. Despite the delays, Boeing is confident that the innovative features of the 787 Dreamliner will be well worth waiting for.

These features include an airframe that is 80 percent composite by volume, resulting in lighter weight and improved fuel efficiency. With a cruising airspeed of Mach 0.85, the 787 can cover a distance of between 8,000 and 8,500 nautical miles, allowing non-stop flying between Los Angeles and Bangkok, or Taipei and New York City, to give just two examples. Flight systems feature Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet, to transmit data between the Dreamliner’s flight deck and aircraft systems. The flight deck itself boasts LCD multi-function displays using a GUI widget toolkit with two head-up displays and a yoke.

The Dreamliner has the capacity to seat between 210 to 330 passengers, depending on the variant and seating plan. To enable passengers to maintain a view of the horizon, cabin windows have been made larger with a higher eye level. Moreover, windows make use of “smart glass” technology facilitating a reduction in glare while retaining transparency for viewing. Another feature that has been developed with passenger comfort in mind is the adjustment of cabin pressure from the average equivalent of 8,000 feet to the equivalent of 6,000 feet. The increase in cabin pressure is made possible partly because of the superior properties of composite materials.

There are three variants of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with the 787-8 slated to enter service in 2010, followed by the 787-9 in 2013 and an, as yet, undetermined date for the 787-3.

787-3 Dreamliner

Cruise speed: Mach 0.85
Range: 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles
Ceiling: 43,000′
Length: 186′
Wingspan: 170′
Configuration: Twin aisle
Height: 56′
Maximum weight: 364,000 pounds
Engine(s): Choice of two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines
Crew: Two
Passengers: 290 to 330

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

Cruise speed: Mach 0.85
Range: 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles
Ceiling: 43,000′
Length: 186′
Wingspan: 197′
Configuration: Twin aisle
Height: 56′
Maximum weight: 484,000 pounds
Engine(s): Choice of two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines
Crew: Two
Passengers: 210 to 250

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Cruise speed: Mach 0.85
Range: 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles
Ceiling: 43,000′
Length: 206′
Wingspan: 203′
Configuration: Twin aisle
Height: 56′
Maximum weight: 540,000 pounds
Engine(s): Choice of two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines
Crew: Two
Passengers: 250 to 290

 

 

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