Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Fighting its way through more than two years of delays, Boeing’s latest aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner, took off on its maiden flight today in cloudy skies over Everett, Washington.
“We think it’s a game changer because it provides so much value to the customer,” Jim Albaugh, Boeing executive vice president and CEO, said in a CNN interview. “We think this is going to be a very efficient airplane. It’s going to change the way people travel…”
“It’s more environmentally friendly, it’s more efficient, uses less fuel, it’s going to cost the operator less to fly, it’s going to allow the passengers to pay less and feel better when they land.”
Boeing’s claims of the Dreamliner’s much-touted efficiency are tied to its design. It’s the first major airliner to be made of mostly composite materials. Boeing has staked its reputation on claims that the aircraft’s relatively lighter, faster body will save airlines up to 20 percent in fuel costs.
The company also says the new material will hold up better to the wear and tear of flight than traditional aluminum. Boeing says it has orders for more than 850 of the planes, which officially sell for around $150 million each.
Depending on the configuration, the Dreamliner can seat between 200 to 300 passengers and can travel more than 2,500 nautical miles. The target market is carriers traveling point-to-point international routes.
Click the story link for a video. Another 9-10 months of shakedown testing and they can start delivering these critters.
The motorheads in this crowd who follow F1 and really high performance racing know about composite construction. I doubt the aircraft industry will spring for a McLaren-level safety bathtub for each passenger; but, the strength of materials is demonstrated numerous times each racing season.