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  (Source: Boeing)

  (Source: Boeing)
Boeing glides along with Dreamliner development

Boeing has a lot riding on its 787 Dreamliner program, and after a two-year delay, things appear to be panning out nicely for the Seattle-based company. The first 787 Dreamliner made its maiden flight on December 15, 2009 and stayed aloft for roughly three hours.

The second 787 Dreamliner took to the air a week later featuring the markings of the first customer which will receive the new planes: All Nippon Airways (ANA). In total, 15 flights (totaling nearly 60 hours) have been made so far using the first two aircraft.

Another milestone was reached late last week; the 787 Dreamliner achieved "initial airworthiness" status. This milestone allows Boeing to open up the testing phase to more aircraft. Boeing flight engineers will also be allowed on the flight deck now according to the Associated Press.

"This is an important step forward," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP Scott Fancher. "We are very pleased with the results we have achieved so far. The airplane has been performing as we expected."

The previous test flights have seen the 787 Dreamliners reach a top speed of Mach 0.65 and an altitude of 30,000 feet. In the coming weeks, Boeing test pilots will take the aircraft to Mach 0.85+ and in excess of 40,000 feet.

"The pilots have told me the results we are seeing in flight match their expectations and the simulations we've run. That's a real tribute to Boeing's expertise and the international team that helped develop and build the airplane," Fancher added.

ANA is expected to receive its first 787 Dreamliners during the fourth quarter of 2010. The Japanese airliner has ordered 55 of the aircraft.

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RE: Conventional looking now
By Calin on 1/19/2010 2:15:46 AM , Rating: 2
The use of composite materials is not a breakthrough that allows something new - if the optimal fuselage for a commercial aircraft looks one way when made of aluminium, it looks the same when made from composites (but it's lighter, corrosion proof, and so on).
So, the Dreamliner is the same plane as the previous Boeings, and as the Airbus 330, and so on. The differences are only under the hood (bonnet)

RE: Conventional looking now
By blowfish on 1/19/2010 8:58:07 AM , Rating: 1
absolutely. Most airliners have a round fuselage cross-section for that reason. (the A380 has an "8" section, hence the designation)The compromise is between structural simplicity and efficiency. For a different balance between those, check out the old Lockheed Constellation, which had a fuselage both tapered and cambered, giving an improvement in aerodynamic efficiency, but making the fuselage more expensive to build.

My point was simply that the initial visualizations of the Dreamliner looked quite different - a bit like the first prototypes of the Chevy Volt, which as you know morphed into a more conventional one-box Prius type body style.

It doesn't surprise me at all that the 787 looks like any other current twinjet, despite the swoopy paint job.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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