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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 sxr7171 on 12/15/2009 2:25:19 PM , Rating: 3
It's just an upgraded HVAC system. But they did cite that the lack of so much metal allows them to increase humidity in the cabin in operation without worrying about oxidation of metals.

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By blowfish on 12/15/2009 3:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but fundamentally upgraded! Instead of taking engine bleed air, which inevitably contains traces of (toxic) lubricants, my understanding is that they are using a separate system.

There have been several cases of passengers and crew getting sick from substances leaking into the cabin air - and it's more of a problem for air crew, who obviously get much longer term exposure than the average passenger. Since they banned smoking on planes, airlines get away with not changing the air so much which makes things worse too.

I can't wait to experience the better quality cabin air for myself, and I hope it forces Airbus and the rest to follow suit with all of their fleet.

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By sxr7171 on 12/15/2009 5:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
I believe they moved away from engine bleed to electric heaters.

RE: A350 XWB passenger experience
By Amiga500 on 12/16/2009 3:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
That is for the de-icing systems.

The air supply will come from an electric compressor.

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