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(Source: Charles Conklin)

(Source: Charles Conklin)
An eager photographer catches the 787 Dreamliner in the buff

It has been a long time coming, but the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner has rolled off the assembly line. Charles Conklin -- an avid aviation enthusiast -- managed to snap some pictures of a fully assembled Dreamliner sans paint.

According to Flightblogger, the official roll-out ceremony for the Dreamliner is on July 8 with the first delivered scheduled to take place in May of next year. The production run of aircraft is completely booked until 2013 at the earliest.

The Dreamliner is the next generation of airliners for Boeing and makes use of composite materials in 50 percent of its body and wings. The use of composite materials has helped Boeing keep the weight down which allows the Dreamliner to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than its closest rivals. Top speed for the aircraft is Mach 0.85.

Business travelers will appreciate the integrated networking capabilities on the Dreamliner. Boeing had initially planned to equip its Dreamliner with wireless networking, but instead decided on a wired networking to save 150 pounds per plane.

As of April, 44 customers have ordered 544 Dreamliners at a cost of $75 billion USD.

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Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By UNCjigga on 6/28/2007 3:57:31 PM , Rating: 3
Please explain this to me. Would the use of wireless require some sort of shielding around the entire passenger cabin or something? I don't understand how thin air weighs more than hundreds of feet of Cat5e.

By Brandon Hill on 6/28/2007 4:02:25 PM , Rating: 3
Read the comments in the old article:

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By Keeir on 6/28/2007 4:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
There are alot of factors at work. One of the factors is shielding for other systems.

Another is that every structure on the aircraft needs to be attached to the aircraft such that the structure is good for 9g loading. A heavy wireless access point (or more likely several heavy wireless access points) may require more and more structure to maintain flight capability which would not be required for a wire installation that may not require any additional structure

I am sure there are many more factors that one only really discovers attempting to create a wireless network that would be of same quality as wired.

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By PrimarchLion on 6/28/2007 4:39:15 PM , Rating: 1
I doubt that the entire structure needs to be able to survive 9g loading. Do you have a source for your information? I just can't imagine this aircraft having a flight envelope any larger that 2.5g, and factor of safety in aircraft design is usually not larger than about 1.2 due to weight constraints.

By HotFoot on 6/28/2007 5:02:49 PM , Rating: 1
The max design load is nowhere near 9G. That 9G figure is for fighter jets. I believe the typical airliner is designed with a max load factor of 4-ish. Add to this the structure must handle 1.5x this load factor without failure (but with permanent deformation).

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By Keeir on 6/28/2007 5:08:35 PM , Rating: 5
Federal Aviation Regulations. In specific FAR Chapter 25 subpart C - 25.591 of which the following is a brief quotation.

(3) The occupant experiences the following ultimate inertia forces acting separately relative to the surrounding structure:

(i) Upward, 3.0g

(ii) Forward, 9.0g

(iii) Sideward, 3.0g on the airframe; and 4.0g on the seats and their attachments.

(iv) Downward, 6.0g

(v) Rearward, 1.5g

(c) For equipment, cargo in the passenger compartments and any other large masses, the following apply:

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, these items must be positioned so that if they break loose they will be unlikely to:

(i) Cause direct injury to occupants;

(ii) Penetrate fuel tanks or lines or cause fire or explosion hazard by damage to adjacent systems; or

(iii) Nullify any of the escape facilities provided for use after an emergency landing.

I read this as saying any structure which has the possiblity to fall within the passenger cabin and hurt passengers must stay attached at a 9g landing situation and other emergency situation such as a 3g sideways evasive action.

I just assumed that some/all of the wirless equipment fell under this category

By Keeir on 6/28/2007 5:11:27 PM , Rating: 2
Oops missed the whole quotation, even with the preview

(2) When such positioning is not practical (e.g. fuselage mounted engines or auxiliary power units) each such item of mass shall be restrained under all loads up to those specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. The local attachments for these items should be designed to withstand 1.33 times the specified loads if these items are subject to severe wear and tear through frequent removal (e.g. quick change interior items).

note that (b)(3) is where I started the quotation

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By PrimarchLion on 6/28/2007 5:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
I was just checking FAR 25 as well =)

I had an aircraft design course this spring, my group designed a military transport aircraft. We didn't take the 9g forward inertia forces into account too much, but it was just a preliminary design course.

By Keeir on 6/28/2007 5:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
Military requirements may be totally different. Due to significantly lower cycles, higher inspection intervals, not caring if a few grunts here or there get smacked on the head...

The FARs are neat and show that in many cases the Margin of Safety for civilian aircraft is significantly larger than 1.2 due to survivability requirements (check out the ditching condition. I have a hard time believing the A380 or B747 are good for those...)

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By Amiga500 on 6/28/2007 6:19:08 PM , Rating: 2
The airframe has to take 3g (with fact of safety of 1.5) - leading to 4.5g IIRC.

Of course, that does not mean the interior of the pressure cabin - but the wings/wing spar/wingbox/fuselage.

By ChronoReverse on 6/28/2007 6:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, which is why when I saw this video I was like =O at the engineering put into the 777 (not 787) that allowed the thing to hit 154%.

That's practically perfect (above 150% and not too much above it).

By themadmilkman on 6/28/2007 4:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
I would venture to guess that it is because most of the wiring for a wired network is already in place. Perhaps the cable that also carries data to the LCD screens and audio to each seat can also handle networking duties? If this were the case, the extra wait would only be from adding the additional ports, etc. to each seat.

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By TomZ on 6/28/2007 4:11:55 PM , Rating: 6
"We're putting in about 50 pounds of wiring and taking out about 200 pounds of other gear" including wireless antennae, wireless access points and thickened ceiling panels, said Sinnett.

By Hawkido on 7/5/2007 4:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
Which airline doesn't paint their planes (they only use clear coat) to save on the weight of the plane. I can't remember the amount of fuel saved per 1000 miles of flight but it was astounding. Paint weighs alot. Also one flight line cut back the number of olives it put on it's salad to reduce costs on both food and weight and they reported a massive annual savings.

I know, no sources, but someone here probably has them on hand, or has the time to look them up.

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By ttnuagadam on 6/28/2007 11:13:04 PM , Rating: 2
actually what i dont understand is why they're worrying about 150 lbs on something that weighs 75 tons. I mean i know every little bit helps, but why gimp wireless networking?

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By oab on 6/28/2007 11:40:32 PM , Rating: 3
Because at $5.6-6.20* a gallon for Jet-A fuel, every little bit helps. If you can get the same functionality, at less weight, then by all means you do it. Besides, wired > wireless anyway.

Boeing is going anal on weight for the 787, its the reason they are using composite materials, for the sole purpose of reducing weight.

Less weight = less power needed by the engines
Less power = less fuel
less fuel = lower costs
lower costs = higher profit
profit = good

* for JFK INT in NY

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By TomZ on 6/28/2007 11:53:47 PM , Rating: 3
Wired is also simpler, less risky, more secure, and more performant than wireless.

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By Treckin on 6/29/07, Rating: -1
By Ringold on 6/29/2007 4:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
They strip them to the bone every couple years as it is for full refurbs of sorts, so not sure how much upgrading and whatnot plays in to it. Sounds like it's every other factor that trumps it.

RE: Wired = less weight than Wireless?
By tarrbot on 7/4/07, Rating: 0
By P4blo on 7/5/2007 9:21:35 AM , Rating: 2
I seriously doubt they would bother with networking redundancy so overpaid execs are assured of 24/7 share prices :) I didn't design the 787 but I would bet my left foot the network infrastructure for passengers bears little resemblance to that of the flight systems!

One other thing about wireless, it seems to me it would really begin to chug with a full planeload of people all on laptops, PSPs, wap phones and PDAs.... Give me gigabit ethernet ANY day over wireless.

Question: anyone know what sort of internet access speed the 787 setup might offer or how it's delivered to the plane?

By TomZ on 6/28/2007 3:29:39 PM , Rating: 3
Anybody know if this is a "prototype" or "production" plane? Have any of these flown yet, or is this the first one that will be flown and tested? I realize that very extensive simulation is performed, but I assume some real flight testing still occurs.

RE: Prototype?
By Brandon Hill on 6/28/2007 3:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
Most likely an early prototype to be used for flight testing.

RE: Prototype?
By jak3676 on 6/28/2007 3:33:00 PM , Rating: 2
according to wiki, the first flight tests will be Sep 07

RE: Prototype?
By omnicronx on 6/28/07, Rating: -1
RE: Prototype?
By Hoser McMoose on 6/28/2007 4:19:12 PM , Rating: 5
Actually the 787 has been rather remarkable due to it's LACK of delays! While I'm sure there were some minor setbacks here and there, and the design did change somewhat from the original plan in the 90's vs. the new plans after 2001 (pretty much all of the airline industry changed then), but it's been essentially 100% on-schedule.

Are you sure you aren't confusing this plane with it's competitor, the Airbus 350? That plane has seen multiple delays, though to be fair, most of them had little to do with designing the plane itself so much as changing the focus of the design and dumping resources into the seemingly bottomless pit that is the Airbus A380.

RE: Prototype?
By Misty Dingos on 6/28/2007 10:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
Just a question? Do you work for Airbus?

RE: Prototype?
By Keeir on 6/28/2007 3:38:29 PM , Rating: 3
I would say "production"

I believe there will be a total of 7 planes used in certification testing program. Some planes will be broken/destroyed for actual use by Static and Fatigue testing.

Other planes will be used for systems, airflow, and in-service simulations. Usually an aircraft manufacturer will deliever some of the flight test aircraft to a customer (at a discount)...

But aside from some minor updates (which always occur during the lifespan of aircraft production) this 787 is identical to the planes which will be delivered to customers starting next year

RE: Prototype?
By timmiser on 6/28/2007 5:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
Boeing stopped building prototypes many years ago. All of the prototype work is now done completely on the computer therefore not requiring a prototype and thus saving big bucks.

And here is the main reason for wired ...
By Boney on 6/28/2007 4:19:44 PM , Rating: 5
" Boeing learned that some countries would not give it permission to use frequencies necessary for wireless networking. "Knowing that the regulatory issues were basically insurmountable, it just did not make sense to apply those resources there," said Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter. "

Reason #1.

RE: And here is the main reason for wired ...
By walk2k on 6/28/2007 5:19:21 PM , Rating: 3
So, wireless networking all over the plane is not a problem but if you forget to turn your Gameboy off it will cause the plane to EXPLODE?

RE: And here is the main reason for wired ...
By Goty on 6/28/2007 6:49:39 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, into a giant, flaming ball of destruction. It will be very tragic.

By hyperbolicparody on 6/28/2007 10:50:36 PM , Rating: 5
Yet your wifi-enabled PSP is perfectly safe for in flight use, and about a dozen laptops attempting to create a zero-config connection to just about every radio component on the aircraft.

Where will the Internet come from?
By timmiser on 6/28/07, Rating: 0
RE: Where will the Internet come from?
By SexyK on 6/28/2007 6:23:27 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Where will the Internet come from?
By danrien on 6/28/2007 9:13:42 PM , Rating: 5
really long wires.

RE: Where will the Internet come from?
By oab on 6/28/2007 11:43:06 PM , Rating: 3
I heard it was sea turtles.

RE: Where will the Internet come from?
By johnsonx on 6/29/2007 12:59:13 AM , Rating: 4
via a series of tubes, of course!

By mndeg on 7/1/2007 5:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
will it be like a dump truck?

By Screwballl on 7/3/2007 10:14:06 AM , Rating: 2
spotty satellite connections that will start somewhere around $30 per flight... it will likely cover the main US and certain paths overseas, I would think more coverage over the Pacific as they are much longer flights...

By Devenish on 6/28/2007 5:31:39 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe if they started charging flight fares by ones weight airliners wouldn’t have to worry over 150lbs for luxury services, after all TSA already inspects just about everything else about you. Just remember that when the next fat person sits next to you and begins to occupy his/her and part of your seat while chomping down peanuts.

RE: Obesity
By mcturkey on 6/28/07, Rating: -1
RE: Obesity
By Goty on 6/28/2007 6:52:24 PM , Rating: 4
Sure it is. The heavier your payload (including people), the more fuel you'll have to use to get to the same destination.

RE: Obesity
By blaster5k on 6/29/2007 9:36:39 AM , Rating: 3
If I remember correctly, at least one airline talked about making excessively large passengers purchase two seats. In a lot of ways, it makes sense. Nobody wants to get wedged in next to them and their weight does increase fuel consumption. I'm all for financial incentives to make people get in shape.

RE: Obesity
By iNGEN on 6/30/2007 10:16:46 AM , Rating: 2
Plane tickets sold by the pound...I'm gonna start a new airline!

I can picture the ticket counter attendant sarcastically saying to a customer, "You want to check a bag?"

RE: Obesity
By Black Rainbow on 7/4/2007 5:30:14 AM , Rating: 2
Actually you already pay more if you have more weight with you. If the bag you check in is over a specified maximum weight (usually 20 kg) you have to pay extra to be allowed to check it in.

By colonelclaw on 6/29/2007 7:36:55 AM , Rating: 2
i'd be interested to know more about how boeing develop the software that runs this aircraft. i would imagine the entire thing runs fly-by-wire and uses thousands of incredibly sophisticated systems that all have to talk to each other. how do they write the systems, and more importantly how do they debug them?
when one single line of dodgy code has the potential to kill hundreds of people there must be a totally different mind-set needed to regular software coding, where "get it out the door and patch it later" seems to now be the accepted norm

RE: Software
By SLI on 6/29/2007 8:41:50 AM , Rating: 1
Hmm. Wonder if the black box is now composite. Or better yet, 2 cups and a string with a talking rat inside that has been taught six languages. Think of the savings!!

RE: Software
By Ringold on 6/29/2007 3:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
Well, unless it's truly 100% fly by wire, a software failure causing serious mayhem can always be solved by flipping off the avionics and/or master switches and man-handling the controls without the aid of powered assist. That's the sort of thing they train for in simulators; total power failures during a power-off approach to a short field that's technically too short to land at during a good day, all while a hurricane is blowing. Getting hundred-plus pound ailerons to budge isn't easy though.

But if it's 100% computer controlled, then yeah, a blue screen and they'd be screwed. I hope that's not the case, though. We've got pilots with Mark I Eyeballs and steak-and-potato-fueled hands and feet precisely to be a backup and they hopefully continue to get used. Maybe it's because of or inspite of being a GA pilot myself I'm not anywhere near ready to hand over airliners to HAL -- or Garmin.

RE: Software
By geddarkstorm on 6/29/2007 4:03:49 PM , Rating: 2
Here here. There should always be manual backups for every critical part. It'd be insane to rely on computers for everything. Has Battlestar Galactica taught them nothing?

RE: Software
By tacticusv2 on 7/3/2007 6:22:57 AM , Rating: 2
see what you would do is design a system running only the core components of a realtime os (OS,networking stack)
and nice small apps that do 1 thing really well so getting other people to look at the code is nice and easier

with small industrial specced boards and having several of them for each task

software based solution would probably be more reliable and cheaper to service than say your average mechanical setup

it would be harder to make multiple redundant mechanical systems than multiple redundant electrical based systems

Wireless heavier?
By phattyboombatty on 6/28/07, Rating: 0
RE: Wireless heavier?
By hunter44102 on 6/28/2007 4:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
I read on a previous thread that the Wireless is heavier because in order to keep the signal strength low and bandwidth higher, they would need to put access points above almost every set of rows. So more (heavier) wireless equipment would be needed.

RE: Wireless heavier?
By phattyboombatty on 6/28/2007 4:19:33 PM , Rating: 1
That seems like a good explanation. So, in effect, the "wireless" solution would have been 98% "wired" with the last meter or so to the end user being wireless.

RE: Wireless heavier?
By PrimarchLion on 6/28/2007 4:22:03 PM , Rating: 2
They could already have CAT5 run through the aircraft for other features.

The weight might be from shielding required for more sensitive components. I'm sure that these would be shielded even without wireless though, due to other EMI sources.

RE: Wireless heavier?
By bobdeer1965 on 6/28/2007 4:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
The answers to your questions are posted above.

RE: Wireless heavier?
By JimFear on 6/29/2007 11:40:53 AM , Rating: 1
The higher the altitude the heavier the wireless frequencies are ;)


Monty Python Hommage
By Misty Dingos on 6/28/2007 7:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
An NSA microphone in the Airbus Board Room picked this up when these pictures hit Europe.

“Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person! Ah don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food-trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!!”

Crying can be heard in the recording after this.

RE: Monty Python Hommage
By Ringold on 6/29/2007 5:05:31 AM , Rating: 3
Hours later, an NSA wiretap picks up a call from an Airbus Executive to EU President Angela Merkel:

"Help! Help! I'm being repressed!"

Simultaneously, an NRO satellite snaps a photo of the newly installed pro-American pro-capitalist French President Sarkozy drunkenly singing and dancing on a private yacht owned by an EADS executive in the Mediterranean, with another microphone recording:

Sarkozy: Brave Sir Airbus ran away
Exec: No!
Sarkozy: Bravely ran away away
Exec: We haven't!
Sarkozy: When danger reared its ugly head, they bravely turned their tail and fled.
Exec: We never did!
Sarkozy: Yes, brave Sir Airbus turned about, and valiantly, they chickened out.
Exec: Oh, you liar!
Sarkozy: Bravely taking to their feet, they beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Airbus.

RE: Monty Python Hommage
By Misty Dingos on 6/29/2007 6:07:54 AM , Rating: 1
If it were possible I would vote for your post. It was much funnier than mine.

7/8/07 ?
By stburke on 6/28/2007 8:24:27 PM , Rating: 4
July 8th 2007, 7/8/07.
Oh wow, what a coincidence.

Aside, I'm still waiting for US legacy carriers to order the 787 as a 767 replacement (Other than CO, and NW). But 679 orders before its first flight is impressive considering the 767 after 20+ years is almost near 1000.

Just in case you were wondering, yes Airbus has an answer to the 787 which started as a warmed over A330 and after 5 revisions is now the A350XWB.

Captain obvious
By Treckin on 6/29/07, Rating: 0
RE: Captain obvious
By TomZ on 6/29/2007 8:51:47 AM , Rating: 2
The reason they stated for choosing wired over wireless was weight, not cost. Makes things a bit more interesting.

RE: Captain obvious
By Treckin on 6/29/07, Rating: 0
RE: Captain obvious
By TomZ on 6/29/2007 7:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
Asinine or not, that's what Boeing said:
Boeing had initially planned to equip its Dreamliner with wireless networking, but instead decided on a wired networking to save 150 pounds per plane.

Also, if you google for other news sources, this statement is backed by lots of other stories stating the same.

I agree 150lbs. doesn't sound like a lot, and the decision may not have been entirely about the weight - there may have been other considerations as well.

By bdot on 6/28/2007 3:51:51 PM , Rating: 1
How do they save 150 pounds by using wired over wireless connection?

The only thing i could think of would be shielding for interferance purposes, but that would be solved by using different channels. Never mind that airplane communications and operations i would imagine should be operating at frequencies not used by normal retail hardware.

So how is hooking up wireless router eual out to 150lbs

RE: 150Lb?
By Samus on 6/28/2007 4:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
simple, 75 or so access points at 2lbs each. I'm sure they're cisco AP's in metal cases.

Boeing 787
By Richardito on 6/28/2007 4:02:44 PM , Rating: 3
As a Manager in a company key to the composites market I am very delighted that new technologies are being used to give cost savings for everyone. Fuel economy is even very important because of petroleum prices and the hydrocarbon's impact on planet climate change. Very good for everyone indeed.

By honeg on 7/6/2007 2:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone else find it ironic that the country that invented, championed, and has the largest fleet of gas-guzzling 2-3 ton SUVs on the planet is building a plane that is lighter and more advanced than the competition, which comes from a continent that gave the world Lotus, the (original) Mini, the 2CV, the Cinquecento...

Maybe Boeing should take Chrysler off Daimler Benz's hands, and apply the same thinking?

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