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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: Pretty sad for Boeing
By stromgald30 on 12/15/2009 5:37:41 PM , Rating: 4
Boeing has no plans to compete with the A380 any time soon. Boeing's own market analysis has identified that the market for the A380 is too small, and they do not want to compete there.

Boeing's 747-8 (upgrade/enlarging) of the 747 will take some of the A380's thunder if it gets any sales, but the fact is that as the infrastructure/airports develop in the middle east and asia, the need for an A380 will diminish.

Boeing's next major project is to take its lesson learned on the 787 and apply it to the upcoming 737 replacement (rumored to be the 797). This attacks Airbus' A320 cash cow and the biggest segment of the market.

RE: Pretty sad for Boeing
By Amiga500 on 12/16/2009 3:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
All the talk is that Boeings next project will be the 777 upgrade/redo.

The single aisle stuff... well, Boeing recently scrapped the 737RS as it wasn't giving the gains they needed to justify the expense.

Both Airbus and Boeing and the engine manufacturers are currently wrestling with the problem of, geared turbofan, propfan or high bypass conventional turbofan... There is alot of work to be done there yet.

RE: Pretty sad for Boeing
By stromgald30 on 12/17/2009 3:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, Boeing will most likely be updating the 777 since the larger A350XWB's will be competing with the lower end of the 777 passenger range. However, it's not a complete re-design. It's pretty similar to how the 747 was upgraded to minimize the impact of the A380.

However, Boeing's current road map is to replace the 737 first, which is losing badly to the A320, then work on an 777 & 747 replacement.

RE: Pretty sad for Boeing
By Solandri on 12/16/2009 7:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
Boeing has no plans to compete with the A380 any time soon. Boeing's own market analysis has identified that the market for the A380 is too small, and they do not want to compete there.

Just to reiterate this, Boeing has pitched a full upper-deck version of the 747 to the airlines ever since they first made the 747. There never has been enough interest in it from the airlines so Boeing never made it. The fact that the A380 is currently sitting at about half the orders it needs to break even is, I think, ample evidence that Airbus overestimated (maybe vastly overestimated) the market for the plane.

I do see demand for a plane the A380's size filling in in the future, as the rest of Southeast Asia modernizes. But the A380 seems a bit premature.

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