(Source: Boeing)

(Source: Boeing)
Boeing takes the fight to Airbus with the 787 Dreamliner

Boeing rolled out the first fully-assembled 787 Dreamliner in late June. Photos of the plane were captured by Charles Conklin, an avid aviation enthusiast. The photos showed the Dreamliner in the buff (without its final paint scheme applied).

The Dreamliner had its war paint on for its official roll-out on Sunday (July 8, 2007, aka 7-8-7) to a crowd of 15,000 people. There were also another 30,000 onlookers via a two-way satellite feed from locations in the United States, Italy and Japan. Boeing estimates that as many as 100 million people were able to view the 787 Dreamliner Premiere.

"This has been a wonderful and exciting day to celebrate this breakthrough airplane with our customers, employees, supplier partners and our communities," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Scott Carson. "We are gratified that the 787 has been so strongly validated in the marketplace by our customers. Their response is proof that the Dreamliner will bring real value to our airline customers, passengers and the global air transportation system."

"Our journey began some six years ago when we knew we were on the cusp of delivering valuable technologies that would make an economic difference to our airline customers. In our business, that happens every 15 or so years, so we have to get it right," said Mike Bair, Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP and GM for the Dreamliner program.

The Dreamliner is constructed of 50 percent composites, 20 percent aluminum, 15 percent titanium and 10 percent steel. The uses of composite materials allowed Boeing to keep the weight down on the Dreamliner resulting in 20 percent greater fuel economy than the Airbus A330.

The Dreamliner is crucial to Boeing’s hopes of regaining first place from Airbus in the $60 billion USD jetliner market. Airbus is fully aware of the initial successes of the Dreamliner program and is countering with its own A350 XWB. The A350 XWB, however, isn’t due to enter service until 2013.

Boeing has accumulated 677 orders for its Dreamliner from 47 customers worldwide totaling $110 billion USD. The most recent customer was Air Berlin which ordered 25 787-8 Dreamliners at a cost of $4 billion USD. Air Berlin also secured 10 options and 15 purchase rights for additional planes.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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