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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 jonmcc33 on 1/19/2010 8:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
What were you expecting? Some reverse wing design with thrust vectoring or something? Maybe an airliner with VTOL capability?

RE: Conventional looking now
By Flunk on 1/19/2010 8:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, that's exactly what we want. A commercial version of the osprey would be just great... until the 5 or so software related crash.

RE: Conventional looking now
By nafhan on 1/19/10, Rating: -1
RE: Conventional looking now
By ksherman on 1/19/2010 9:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
what? That has nothing to do with the 787/7E7. The 7E7 was ALWAYS about producing a plane that aimed to use technological breakthroughs to design a more efficient plane, not to produce the next version of the Concord... Did you read the text on your own link?

RE: Conventional looking now
By nafhan on 1/19/2010 2:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
I actually didn't mention the Concorde or efficiency... I was only talking about how it looks, because I was responding to someone talking about how it looks. It's been a while now, but at the time when the final design for the 787 was unveiled quite a few people were surprised by how normal it appeared compared to the 7E7 concepts.
I used the link I did because it had a pic of the Sonic Cruiser/7E7 concept, and the wiki article didn't.

RE: Conventional looking now
By Chernobyl68 on 1/20/2010 3:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sonic Cruiser and the Dreamliner were always two different concepts. Sonic cruiser was trying to get there faster (.95 Mach) than the average passenger liner today. Fuel prices basically ended that concept, as it was about 20% less fuel efficient than current aircraft. The Dreamliner was always about efficiency (both in fuel and reduced maintenance.)
A much more interesting concept is the blended body wing design (seen now in the X-48) which has the potential for even greater fuel efficiencies, but will likely have issues with passenger confort.

RE: Conventional looking now
By johnsonx on 1/19/2010 1:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
Neat idea, but didn't pan out.

As the first reply pointed out, the Sonic Cruiser didn't really have anything to do with the 787, except that the 787 is what Boeing finally came out with INSTEAD of the Sonic Cruiser. Also perhaps some technology envisioned for the Sonic Cruiser was applied to the 787.

RE: Conventional looking now
By blowfish on 1/19/2010 11:37:04 AM , Rating: 1
What were you expecting? Some reverse wing design with thrust vectoring or something? Maybe an airliner with VTOL capability?

Hardly! I merely suggest you look back at the early visualisations from Boeing, and compare them with the (more or less) finished product. It just strikes me as odd that Boeing would have gone with stuff from the marketing people initially, overriding what the engineers must have been telling them all along.

RE: Conventional looking now
By jonmcc33 on 1/19/2010 4:20:45 PM , Rating: 1
OMG! You mean the final product looks a bit different than the artists concept design? YOU ARE FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!

Never seen concept art of cars before the final product is released? Sheesh! Talk about being anally retentive!

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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