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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 5:43:43 PM , Rating: 2
Boeing is biting the bullet and opening a second line for the 787 out in South Carolina to mitigate the effect of the delays. This should minimize their penalties once they get that production line up and running.

However, one major concern I have (and is also the reason why they didn't plan for two lines in the first place) is what will happen as they finish the back log and demand drops. Then there will be layoffs, bad publicity, and possible plant closures.

Boeing is building the SC plant to help alleviate pressures now, but it remains to be seen if it'll be a good move in the long term.


RE: Pretty sad for Boeing
By Oregonian2 on 12/16/2009 12:14:21 AM , Rating: 2
That won't be unusual. I'm a couple hundred miles south of Boeing's metro Seattle mega facilities, but I've heard stories about how Boeing employment there goes through huge boom/bust cycles (but employees don't mind because they make megabucks during the boom periods).


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