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Boeing's 787 Dreamliner takes-off from Paine Field

  (Source: Boeing)
After a rocky gestation period, Boeing sets off with the 787

It's been a long time coming, but Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has finally made its first flight just days after its taxiing run. After two years of delays, the next generation airliner took to the air at 1:27 pm EST from Paine Field in Everett, Washington.

The flight is expected to last for more than five hours as the pilots test the flight characteristics of the plane and the engineers on the ground crunch the raw data that is streamed back to them. The 787 prototype will land at Boeing Field which is just south of downtown Seattle after the test flight.

This first flight kicks off a nine-month testing phase for the 787 which will conclude with the delivery of the first production aircraft to All Nippon Airways in Q4 2010 – a total of 840 orders have been placed from airlines across the globe.

The 787 prototype is just one of six aircraft that will be used during the nine-month testing period to gain FAA certification.

While Boeing is hoping that most its major hurdles with the 787 Dreamliner are behind it, there will be new competition in the coming years from the Airbus A350 XWB. Like the 787, the A350 XWB's fuselage and wings are made primarily of composites, however, materials like aluminum and titanium materials are also used in the airframe. And also like the 787, the A350 XWB has a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 and promises drastic cuts in fuel consumption.

Airbus has received over 500 orders for its A350 XWB and the aircraft is scheduled to enter service in 2013.

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RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By Jaguar36 on 12/15/2009 2:14:48 PM , Rating: 2
Composites alone shouldn't have any effect on humidity or pressure differences.

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By beerhound on 12/15/2009 2:32:49 PM , Rating: 5
Correct, composite material alone doesn't affect the humidity or pressure. Boeing says the lighter weight of the composites allowed them to build the cabin stronger without a weight penalty and that allowed them to raise the pressure differential. Bottom line is that the 787 will have a lower cabin altitude than any airliner before it and that will contribute to less fatigue for the passengers and crew. Gulfstream is doing the same thing on the upcoming G650. Go to their site to check that one out if you really want to see how to travel in style. LOL

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By blowfish on 12/15/2009 2:55:27 PM , Rating: 3
I think the reason for the higher pressure differential is rather that composites have better fatigue properties than aluminum alloys. You can have higher differentials with a composite structure, more closely approaching its maximum strength. In effect, it's a benefit of using composites, rather than Boeing designing the fuselage to be stronger.

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By lco45 on 12/15/2009 6:24:37 PM , Rating: 3
Correct. Fatigue is the one and only issue with maintaining a higher pressure differential.


RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By Amiga500 on 12/15/2009 2:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
They do. Fatigue isn't so much of an issue when you've a very good idea of the strain field.

So a composite fuselage can undergo many more aggressive pressure-depressure cycles than a traditional aluminium fuselage.

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By RubberJohnny on 12/15/2009 9:49:17 PM , Rating: 4
Thats funny in yesterdays article

You stated:
Talk to any stresser and they will moan about the stupidity of putting composites into wing spars (and even worse - ribs) right now. Or fuselages.

Why the sudden change of opinion? have you done some research in the past 24hrs and realised you were talking out of your rectum?

By mikeyD95125 on 12/16/2009 1:05:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yikes! The BS detective is back on duty.

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By Amiga500 on 12/16/09, Rating: -1
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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