Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
The first All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 (JA801A)
Role Wide-body jet airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes
First flight December 15, 2009
Introduction October 26, 2011, with All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Status In production, in service
Primary user All Nippon Airways
Number built 11[1]
Program cost US$32 billion (Boeing's expenditure)[2]
Unit cost 787-8: US$193.5 million (2011)[3]
787-9: US$227.8 million (2011)[3]

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It seats 210 to 290 passengers, depending on the variant. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.[4] The 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized Boeing 767.[5] Some of its distinguishing features include a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour.

The aircraft's initial designation was 7E7, prior to its renaming in January 2005.[6] The first 787 was unveiled in a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007, at Boeing's Everett assembly factory, by which time it had become the fastest-selling wide-body airliner in history with 677 orders.[7] By October 2011, 797 Boeing 787s had been ordered by 57 customers, with ILFC having the largest number on order.[8]

The 787 development and production has involved a large-scale collaboration with numerous suppliers around the globe. Final assembly is at the Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington. Aircraft will also be assembled at a new factory in North Charleston, South Carolina. Both sites will deliver 787s to airline customers. Originally planned to enter service in May 2008, the project has suffered from multiple delays. The airliner's maiden flight took place on December 15, 2009, and completed flight testing in mid-2011. Final Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certification was received in late August 2011 and the first model was delivered in late September 2011. It entered commercial service on October 26, 2011.




During the late 1990s, Boeing began considering replacement aircraft programs as sales for the 767 and Boeing 747-400 slowed. The company proposed two new aircraft, the 747X, which would have lengthened the 747-400 and improved efficiency, and the Sonic Cruiser, which would have achieved 15% higher speeds (approximately Mach 0.98) while burning fuel at the same rate as the existing 767.[9] Market interest for the 747X was tepid, but the Sonic Cruiser had brighter prospects. Several major airlines in the United States, including Continental Airlines, initially showed enthusiasm for the Sonic Cruiser concept, although they also expressed concerns about the operating cost.[10]

Early impression of the 7E7 in blue and white livery
Earlier proposed design configuration of the Boeing 7E7.

The global airline market was upended by the September 11, 2001 attacks and increased petroleum prices, making airlines more interested in efficiency than speed. The worst-affected airlines, those in the United States, had been considered the most likely customers of the Sonic Cruiser, and thus Boeing officially cancelled the Sonic Cruiser on December 20, 2002. Switching tracks, the company announced an alternative product using Sonic Cruiser technology in a more conventional configuration, the 7E7, on January 29, 2003.[4][11] The emphasis on a smaller midsize twinjet rather than a large 747-size aircraft represented a shift from hub-and-spoke theory towards the point-to-point theory,[12] in response to analysis of focus groups.[13]

The replacement for the Sonic Cruiser project was dubbed the "7E7"[14] (with a development code name of "Y2"). Technology from the Sonic Cruiser and 7E7 was to be used as part of Boeing's project to replace its entire airliner product line, an endeavor called the Yellowstone Project (of which the 7E7 became the first stage).[15] Early concept images of the 7E7 included rakish cockpit windows, a dropped nose and a distinctive "shark-fin" tail.[16] The "E" was said to stand for various things, such as "efficiency" or "environmentally friendly"; however, in the end, Boeing claimed that it stood merely for "Eight".[4] In July 2003, a public naming competition was held for the 7E7, for which out of 500,000 votes cast online the winning title was Dreamliner.[17] Other names in the pool included eLiner, Global Cruiser and Stratoclimber.[18]

Design effort

On April 26, 2004, Japanese airline All Nippon Airways became the launch customer for the 7E7 Dreamliner, by announcing a firm order for 50 aircraft with deliveries to begin in late 2008.[19] All Nippon Airways's order was initially specified as 30 787-3, 290–330 seat, one-class domestic aircraft, and 20 787-8, long-haul, 210–250 seat, two-class aircraft for regional international routes such as Tokyo Narita–Beijing. The aircraft would allow All Nippon Airways to open new routes to cities not previously served, such as Denver, Moscow, and New Delhi.[20] The 787-3 and 787-8 were to be the initial variants, with the 787-9 entering service in 2010.[21]

B787 in launch customer All Nippon Airways' blue and white livery. In the background are two assembly halls, with huge doors facing left. Vehicles are parked in front of the halls.
All Nippon Airways launched the 787 Dreamliner program with an order for 50 aircraft in 2004. This aircraft made an emergency landing during a test flight in Texas, on November 9, 2010.

The 787 was designed to become the first production composite airliner, with the fuselage assembled in one-piece composite barrel sections instead of the multiple aluminum sheets and some 50,000 fasteners used on existing aircraft.[22][23] Boeing selected two new engine types to power the 787, the General Electric GEnx and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000.[4] Boeing claimed the 787 would be near to 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the 767,[24] with approximately forty percent of the efficiency gain from the engines,[25] plus gains from aerodynamic improvements,[26] the increased use of lighter-weight composite materials, and advanced systems.[21] The 787-8 and −9 were intended to be certified to 330 minute ETOPS capability.[27]

During the design phase, the 787 underwent extensive wind tunnel testing at Boeing's Transonic Wind Tunnel, QinetiQ's five-meter wind tunnel at Farnborough, UK, and NASA Ames Research Center's wind tunnel, as well as at the French aerodynamics research agency, ONERA. The final styling of the aircraft was more conservative than earlier proposals, with the fin, nose, and cockpit windows changed to a more conventional form. By the end of 2004, customer-announced orders and commitments for the 787 reached 237 aircraft.[28] Boeing initially priced the 787-8 variant at US$120 million, a low figure that surprised the industry. In 2007, the list price was US$146–151.5 million for the 787-3, US$157–167 million for the 787-8 and US$189–200 million for the 787-9.[29]

Manufacturing and suppliers

After stiff competition, Boeing announced on December 16, 2003, that the 787 would be assembled in its factory in Everett, Washington.[4] Instead of building the complete aircraft from the ground up in the traditional manner, final assembly would employ just 800 to 1,200 people to join completed subassemblies and to integrate systems.[30] Boeing assigned its global subcontractors to do more assembly themselves and deliver completed subassemblies to Boeing for final assembly. This approach was intended to result in a leaner and simpler assembly line and lower inventory,[31] with pre-installed systems reducing final assembly time by three-quarters to three days.[32][33]

Assembly of Section 41 of a Boeing 787

Subcontracted assemblies included wing manufacture (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan, central wing box)[34] horizontal stabilizers (Alenia Aeronautica, Italy; Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea);[35] fuselage sections (Global Aeronautica, Italy; Boeing, North Charleston, USA; Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan; Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita, USA; Korean Air, South Korea);[36][37][38] passenger doors (Latécoère, France); cargo doors, access doors, and crew escape door (Saab, Sweden); floor beams (TAL Manufacturing Solutions Limited, India);[39][40] wiring (Labinal, France);[41] wing-tips, flap support fairings, wheel well bulkhead, and longerons (Korean Air, South Korea);[42] landing gear (Messier-Dowty, UK/France);[43] and power distribution and management systems, air conditioning packs (Hamilton Sundstrand, Connecticut, USA).[41][44] Boeing is considering bringing construction of the 787-9 tail in house; the tail of the 787-8 is currently made by Alenia.[45]

To speed delivery of the 787's major components, Boeing modified several used 747-400s into 747 Dreamlifters to transport 787 wings, fuselage sections, and other smaller parts. Japanese industrial participation was very important to the project, with a 35% work share, the first time Japanese firms had taken a lead role in mass production of Boeing airliner wings, and many of the subcontractors supported and funded by the Japanese government.[46] On April 26, 2006, Japanese manufacturer Toray Industries and Boeing announced a production agreement involving US$6 billion worth of carbon fiber, extending a 2004 contract and aimed at easing production concerns.[4]

Production and delivery delays

While Boeing had been working to trim excess weight since assembly of the first airframe began, common for new aircraft in development, the company stated in December 2006 that the first six 787s were overweight, with the first aircraft expected to be 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) heavier than specified. According to International Lease Finance Corporation's (ILFC) Steven Udvar-Hazy, the 787-9's operating empty weight was around 14,000 lb (6,400 kg) overweight.[47] The seventh and subsequent aircraft would be the first optimized 787-8s and were expected to meet all goals, with Boeing working on weight reductions.[48][49] As part of this process, Boeing redesigned some parts and made more use of lighter titanium.[50]

The Everett Factory Hall's huge door opens as the first 787 is rolled out. Surrounding the aircraft are guests and the public.
The 787 Dreamliner's first public appearance was webcast live on July 8, 2007.

Boeing had originally planned for a first flight by the end of August 2007 and premiered the first 787 at a rollout ceremony on July 8, 2007, which matches the aircraft's designation in the US-style month-day-year format (7/8/07).[51] However, the aircraft's major systems had not been installed at that time, and many parts were attached with temporary non-aerospace fasteners requiring their later replacement with flight fasteners.[52] Although intended to shorten the production process, 787 subcontractors initially had difficulty completing the extra work, because they could not procure the needed parts, perform the subassembly on schedule, or both, leaving remaining assembly work for Boeing to complete as "traveled work".[53][54][55]

On September 5, Boeing announced a three-month delay, blaming a shortage of fasteners as well as incomplete software.[56] On October 10, 2007, a second three-month delay to the first flight and a six-month delay to first deliveries was announced due to problems with the foreign and domestic supply chain, including an ongoing fastener shortage, the lack of documentation from overseas suppliers, and continuing delays with the flight guidance software.[57][58][59] Less than a week later, Mike Bair, the 787 program manager was replaced.[60] On January 16, 2008, Boeing announced a third three-month delay to the first flight of the 787, citing insufficient progress on "traveled work".[61] On March 28, 2008, in an effort to gain more control over the supply chain, Boeing announced that it planned to buy Vought Aircraft Industries' interest in Global Aeronautica;[62] the company later agreed to also buy Vought's North Charleston, S.C. factory.[63]

On April 9, 2008, Boeing officially announced a fourth delay, shifting the maiden flight to the fourth quarter of 2008, and delaying initial deliveries by around 15 months to the third quarter of 2009. The 787-9 variant was postponed to 2012 and the 787-3 variant was to follow with no firm delivery date.[64] On November 4, 2008, the company announced a fifth delay due to incorrect fastener installation and the Boeing machinists strike, stating that the first test flight would not occur in the fourth quarter of 2008.[65][66] After assessing the 787 program schedule with its suppliers,[67] Boeing confirmed on December 11, 2008 that the first flight would be delayed until the second quarter of 2009.[68]

Pre-flight ground testing

As Boeing worked with its suppliers on early 787 production, the aircraft design had proceeded through a series of test goals. On August 7, 2007, on-time certification of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine by European and US regulators was received.[69] On August 23, 2007, a crash test involving a vertical drop of a partial composite fuselage section from about 15 ft (4.6 m) onto a 1 in (25 mm)-thick steel plate occurred in Mesa, Arizona;[70][71] the results matched what Boeing's engineers had predicted, allowing modeling of various crash scenarios using computational analysis instead of further physical tests.[72][73] While critics had expressed concerns that a composite fuselage could shatter and burn with toxic fumes during crash landings, Boeing's test data indicated no greater toxicity versus conventional metal airframes.[74][75] The crash test was the third in a series of demonstrations conducted to match FAA requirements, which included additional certification criteria owing to the 787's introduction of wide-scale composite materials.[71]

The first Boeing 787 underwent taxi tests at Paine Field in November and December 2009.

The alternative GE GEnx-1B engine achieved certification on March 31, 2008.[76] On June 20, 2008, the 787 team achieved "Power On" of the first aircraft, powering and testing the aircraft's electrical supply and distribution systems.[15] A non-flight 787 test airframe was built for static testing, and on September 27, 2008, over a period of nearly two hours, the fuselage was successfully tested at 14.9 psi (102.7 kPa) differential, which is 150 percent of the maximum pressure expected in commercial service (i.e., when flying at maximum cruising altitude).[77] In December 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) passed the maintenance program for the 787.[78]

On May 3, 2009, the first test 787 was moved to the flight line following extensive factory-testing, including landing gear swings, systems integration verification, and a total run-through of the first flight.[79] On May 4, 2009, a press report indicated a 10–15% range reduction, about 6,900 nmi (12,800 km) instead of the originally promised 7,700 to 8,200 nmi (14,800–15,700 km), for early aircraft that were about 8% overweight. Substantial redesign work was expected to correct this, which would complicate increases in production rates;[80] Boeing stated the early 787-8s would have a range of almost 8,000 nmi (14,800 km).[81] As a result, some airlines reportedly delayed deliveries of 787s in order to take later planes that may be closer to the original estimates.[82] Boeing expected to have the weight issues addressed by the 21st production model.[83]

On June 15, 2009, during the Paris Air Show, Boeing said that the 787 would make its first flight within two weeks. However, on June 23, 2009, Boeing announced that the first flight is postponed "due to a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft".[84][85][86] Boeing provided an updated 787 schedule on August 27, 2009, with the first flight planned to occur by the end of 2009 and deliveries to begin at the end of 2010.[87] The company expected to write off US$2.5 billion because it considered the first three Dreamliners built unsellable and suitable only for flight tests.[88] On October 28, 2009, Boeing announced the selection of Charleston, S.C. as the site for a second 787 production line, after soliciting bids from multiple states including Washington.[89] On December 12, 2009, the first 787 completed high speed taxi tests, the last major step before flight.[90][91][92]

Flight test program

The first 787 built taking off on its maiden flight

On December 15, 2009, Boeing conducted the Dreamliner's maiden flight with the first 787-8, originating from Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Washington at 10:27 am PST,[93] and landing at Boeing Field in King County, Washington at 1:35 pm PST.[94][95] Originally scheduled for four hours, the test flight was shortened to three hours because of bad weather.[96] Boeing's schedule called for a 9-month flight test campaign (later revised to 8.5 months).[97] The company's previous major aircraft, the 777, took 11 months with nine aircraft, partly to demonstrate 180-min ETOPS, one of its main features.[98]

The 787 flight test program was composed of 6 aircraft, ZA001 through ZA006, four with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines and two with GE GEnx-1B64 engines. The second 787, ZA002 in All Nippon Airways livery, flew to Boeing Field on December 22, 2009 to join the flight test program;[99][100] the third 787, ZA004 joined the test fleet with its first flight on February 24, 2010, followed by ZA003 on March 14, 2010.[101] On March 24, 2010, testing for flutter and ground effects was completed, clearing the aircraft to fly its entire flight envelope.[102] On March 28, 2010, the 787 completed the ultimate wing load test, which requires that the wings of a fully assembled aircraft be loaded to 150% of design limit load and held for 3 seconds. The wings were flexed approximately 25 ft (7.6 m) upward during the test.[103] Unlike past aircraft however, the wings were not tested to failure.[104][105] On April 7, Boeing announced that analysis of the data showed the test was a success.[106]

The first 787 to visit Europe, ZA003 at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow

On April 23, 2010, Boeing delivered the newest 787, ZA003, to the McKinley Climatic Laboratory hangar at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida for extreme weather testing in temperatures ranging from 115 to -45 °F (46 to -43 °C), and prepare it for takeoff at both temperature extremes.[107] Dreamliner ZA005, the fifth 787 and the first with General Electric GEnx engines began ground engine tests in May 2010.[108] ZA005 made its first flight on June 16, 2010 and joined the flight test program.[109] In June 2010, gaps were discovered in the horizontal stabilizers of test aircraft, due to improperly installed shims; all aircraft produced then were to be inspected and repaired.[110] That same month, a 787 experienced an in-flight lightning strike, allowing engineers the opportunity to examine the aircraft's design tolerances.[111] Since composites can have as much as 1,000 times less electrical conductivity than aluminum, Boeing engineers had added conductive material to ameliorate potential risks and to meet FAA requirements.[74][112][113] FAA management was also planning to adjust requirements to help the 787 show compliance.[114] Inspections following the 787's first recorded lightning strike showed no damage to the aircraft.[111]

The 787 made its first appearance at an international air show at the Farnborough Airshow, UK on July 18, 2010.[115] On August 2, a Trent 1000 engine suffered a blowout at Rolls-Royce's test facility during ground testing.[116] The failure caused Boeing to reevaluate its timeline for installing Trent 1000 engines, and on August 27, 2010 the manufacturer confirmed that the first delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways would be delayed until early 2011.[117][118] That same month, Boeing faced compensation claims from airlines owing to ongoing delivery delays.[119] On September 9, 2010, it was reported that a further two 787s might join the test fleet, making a total of eight flight test aircraft.[120] On September 10, 2010, a partial engine surge or runaway occurred in a Trent engine on ZA001 at Roswell.[121] On October 4, 2010, the sixth 787, ZA006 joined the test program with its first flight.[122]

Front/side view of white 787 on static display. Stairway is positioned ahead of the right engine for access into cabin.
The third 787 built on static display

On November 5, 2010, it was reported that some early 787 deliveries may be delayed, in one case some three months, to allow for rework to address issues found during flight testing.[123][124] On November 9, 2010, Boeing 787, ZA002 made an emergency landing after smoke and flames were detected in the main cabin during a test flight over Texas. A Boeing spokeswoman said the airliner landed safely and the crew was evacuated after landing at the Laredo International Airport, Texas.[125][126][127] The electrical fire caused some systems to fail before landing.[128] Following this incident, Boeing suspended flight testing on November 10, 2010. Ground testing was performed instead.[129][130] On November 22, 2010, Boeing announced that the in-flight fire can be primarily attributed to foreign object debris (FOD) that was present in the electrical bay.[131] After electrical system and software changes, the 787 resumed company flight testing on December 23, 2010.[132][133]

In January 2011, Boeing announced that the first 787 delivery was rescheduled to the third quarter of 2011 due to software and electrical updates following the in-flight fire.[134][135] On February 24, 2011, Boeing announced that the 787 had completed 80% of the test conditions for Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine and 60% of the conditions for the General Electric GEnx-1B engine.[136] On July 4, 2011, All Nippon Airways began a week of airline operations testing using a 787 in Japan.[137] As of August 15, 2011, the 787 test aircraft have flown 4,828 hours in 1,707 flights combined.[101] During testing the 787 has visited 14 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America to test in extreme climates and conditions, and to perform route testing.[138] Boeing completed certification testing for Rolls-Royce powered 787-8s on August 13, 2011.[139] The FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency certified the 787 on August 26, 2011 at a ceremony in Everett, Washington.[140][141]

Service entry and operations

Regulatory certification of the 787 has cleared the way for deliveries to begin.[141] With the first deliveries at hand, Boeing began preparations to increase 787 production rates from two to ten aircraft per month over the next two years.[141] Production is taking place at assembly lines in Everett and Charleston. The Charleston site's contributions have been clouded by legal difficulties; on April 20, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board alleged that Boeing's second production line in South Carolina violated two sections of the National Labor Relations Act, in an ongoing dispute.[89]

The first 787 was officially delivered to All Nippon Airways on September 25, 2011, at Boeing's facilities in Everett, Washington. A ceremony to mark the occasion was also held the next day.[142][143] On September 27, the Dreamliner flew to Haneda Airport.[144][145] The airline took delivery of the second 787 on October 13, 2011.[146]

On October 26, 2011, the 787 flew its first commercial flight from Narita to Hong Kong on All Nippon Airways.[147] The airliner was planned to enter service some three years prior. Tickets for the flight were sold in an online auction, with the highest bidder paying $34,000 for a seat.[148] ANA expects to take delivery of 7 Dreamliners by the end of 2011 and 9 by March 2012.[147]


A planform view of a Boeing 787-8 taking off from Boeing Field.

The 787's design features lighter-weight construction. The aircraft is 80% composite by volume.[149] Its materials, listed by weight, are 50% composite, 20% aluminum, 15% titanium, 10% steel, and 5% other.[150][151] Aluminum is used on wing and tail leading edges, titanium used mainly on engines and fasteners, with steel used in various places.[151] External features include raked wingtips and engine nacelles with noise-reducing serrated edges. The longest-range 787 variant can fly 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (15,000 to 15,700 km), enough to cover the Los Angeles to Bangkok or New York City to Hong Kong routes. It has a cruising airspeed of Mach 0.85[152] (561 mph, 903 km/h at typical cruise altitudes).

Flight systems

Among 787 flight systems, the most notable contribution to efficiency is the new electrical architecture, which replaces bleed air and hydraulic power sources with electrically powered compressors and pumps, as well as completely eliminating pneumatics and hydraulics from some subsystems (e.g., engine starters or brakes).[153] Another new system is a wing ice protection system that uses electro-thermal heater mats on the wing slats instead of hot bleed air that has been traditionally used.[154][155] An active gust alleviation system, similar to the system used on the B-2 bomber, improves ride quality during turbulence.[156][157]

Boeing 787 flight deck

The 787 flight deck features LCD multi-function displays, all of which will use an industry standard GUI widget toolkit (Cockpit Display System Interfaces to User Systems / ARINC 661).[158] The 787 flight deck includes two head-up displays (HUDs) as a standard feature.[159] Like other Boeing airliners, the 787 will use a yoke instead of a side-stick. The future integration of forward looking infrared into the HUD system for thermal sensing so the pilots can "see" through the clouds is under consideration.[4] The Lockheed Martin Orion spacecraft will use a glass cockpit derived from Honeywell International's 787 flight deck systems.[160]

On the 787, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins provide flight control, guidance, and other avionics systems, including standard dual head up guidance systems,[4] while Thales supplies the integrated standby flight display and electrical power conversion system.[4] A version of Ethernet (Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) / ARINC 664) will be used to transmit data between the flight deck and aircraft systems.[161] The airplane's control, navigation, and communication systems are networked with the passenger cabin's in-flight internet systems.[162] In January 2008, Boeing responded to reports about FAA concerns regarding the protection of the 787's computer networks from possible intentional or unintentional passenger access by stating that various hardware and software solutions are employed to protect the airplane systems. These included air gaps for the physical separation of the networks, and firewalls for their software separation.[162][163] These measures prevent data transfer from the passenger internet system to the maintenance or navigation systems.[162]

Composite materials

Disassembled composite fuselage section of the Boeing 787

Each 787 contains approximately 35 short tons (32,000 kg) of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), made with 23 tons of carbon fiber.[164] Carbon fiber composites have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than traditional aircraft materials, and help make the 787 a lighter aircraft.[151] Composites are used on fuselage, wings, tail, doors, and interior. Boeing had built and tested the first commercial aircraft composite section while studying the proposed Sonic Cruiser nearly five years before;[165][166] the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey military transport uses 50% composites,[167] and the company's C-17 transport has over 16,000 lb (7,300 kg) of structural composites.[168]

Carbon fiber, unlike metal, does not visibly show cracks and fatigue, prompting concerns about the safety risks of wide-spread use of the material;[74][169][170] the rival Airbus A350 was later announced to be using composite panels on a frame, a more traditional approach, which its contractors regarded as less risky.[75] In addition, the porous properties of composite materials, which may cause delamination as collected moisture expands with altitude, is a potential issue.[171] Boeing has responded by noting that composites have been used on wings and other passenger aircraft parts for many years without incident, and that special defect detection procedures will be instituted for the 787 to detect any potential hidden damage.[172]

In 2006, Boeing launched the 787 GoldCare program.[173] This is an optional, comprehensive life-cycle management service whereby aircraft in the program are routinely monitored and repaired as needed. This is the first program of its kind from Boeing. Post-sale protection programs are not new, but have usually been offered by third party service centers. Boeing is also designing and testing composite hardware so inspections are mainly visual. This will reduce the need for ultrasonic and other non-visual inspection methods, saving time and money.[174]


The toothed exhaust duct covers on the first 787, shown here with thrust-reversers deployed

The 787's engines use all-electrical bleedless systems, eliminating the superheated air conduits normally used for aircraft power, de-icing, and other functions.[4] As part of its "Quiet Technology Demonstrator 2" project, Boeing adopted several engine noise-reducing technologies for the 787. Among these are a redesigned air inlet containing sound-absorbing materials and redesigned exhaust duct covers whose rims are tipped in a toothed pattern to allow for quieter mixing of exhaust and outside air. Boeing expects these developments to make the 787 significantly quieter both inside and out.[175]

The two different engine models compatible with the 787 use a standard electrical interface to allow an aircraft to be fitted with either Rolls-Royce or General Electric engines. This aims to save time and cost when changing engine types; while previous aircraft can have engines changed to those of a different manufacturer, the high cost and time required makes it rare.[176][177] In 2006, Boeing addressed reports of an extended change period by stating that the 787 engine swap was intended to take 24 hours;[177] engine interchangeability, it is reported, makes the 787 a more flexible asset to airlines, allowing them to change easily from one manufacturer's engine to the other if required.[4]


787 mock-up. It demonstrates the 787's spacious cabin. Above the brown seats are overhead bins.
Mockup of early Dreamliner cabin concept

The 787-8 is designed to seat 234 passengers in a three-class setup, 240 in two-class domestic configuration, and 296 passengers in a high-density economy arrangement.[178] Seat rows can be arranged in four to six abreast in first or business (e.g., 1–2–1, 2–2–2), with eight or nine abreast in economy (e.g., 3–2–3, 2–4–2, 3–3–3). Typical seat room ranges from 46 to 61 in (120 to 150 cm) pitch in first, 36 to 39 in (91 to 99 cm) in business, and 32 to 34 in (81 to 86 cm) in economy.[178]

Cabin interior width is approximately 18 feet (550 cm) at armrest,[178] 1 inch (2.5 cm) more than originally planned,[179] and 15 inches (38 cm) more than that of the Airbus A330 and A340,[180] while 5 inches (13 cm) less than the A350[181] and 16 in (41 cm) less than the 777.[182] In an industry where economy seats range from 16.3 in (41 cm) to 20.6 in (52 cm) in width;[183] 787 economy seats are 17.18 inches (43.6 cm) and 18.5 inches (47 cm) wide in nine- and eight-abreast arrangements, respectively.[184] Most airlines are expected to select the 3–3–3 maximum passenger density configuration.[184] Boeing engineers designed the 787 interior to better accommodate persons with mobility, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. For example, a 56-inch (142 cm) by 57-inch (145 cm) convertible lavatory includes a movable center wall that allows two separate lavatories to become one large, wheelchair-accessible facility.[185]

Interior mockup photo showing windows and LED mood lighting options for the 787 Dreamliner.

The 787's cabin windows are larger in area than all other civil air transports in-service or in development,[186] with dimensions of 10.7 by 18.4 in (27 by 47 cm),[186] and a higher eye level so passengers can maintain a view of the horizon.[187] Electrochromism-based "auto-dimming" (smart glass) instead of window shades reduces cabin glare while maintaining transparency.[187] These are to be supplied by PPG Industries.[188] Standard for the first time on a jetliner, cabin lighting uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs)[189] in three colors instead of fluorescent tubes,[189] allowing the aircraft to be entirely 'bulbless' and have 128 color combinations.

The internal pressure will be increased to the equivalent of 6,000 feet (1,800 m) altitude instead of the 8,000 feet (2,400 m) on older conventional aircraft. According to Boeing, in a joint study with Oklahoma State University, this will significantly improve passenger comfort.[156][190] A higher cabin pressure is possible in part because of more favorable properties of composite materials.[23] Higher humidity at 15% instead of the current 4%[191] in the passenger cabin is possible because of the use of composites, which do not corrode. Cabin air is provided by electrically driven compressors using no engine-bleed air.[192] An advanced cabin air-conditioning system provides better air quality: Ozone is removed from outside air; HEPA filters remove airborne particles; and a gaseous filtration system removes odors, irritants, and gaseous contaminants.[151]


Diagrams of outlines of three different aircraft imposed over one another.
Size comparison of the Boeing 787–8 (black outline) with the Boeing 737–800 (green), 767–300 (cyan), and 777–300 (grey).

Boeing has offered three variants of the 787 from the program launch in 2004. The 787-8 is the first variant produced and is to be followed by the 787-9.


The 787-8 is the base model of the 787 family, with a length of 186 feet (57 m) and a wingspan of 197 feet (60 m) and a range of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 km), depending on seating configuration. The 787-8 seats 210 passengers in a three-class configuration.[193] The variant was the first of the 787 line to enter service, entering service in 2011. Boeing is targeting the 787-8 to replace the 767-200ER and 767-300ER, as well as expand into new non-stop markets where larger planes would not be economically viable. Two thirds of 787 orders are for the 787-8.[8]


The 787-9 will be the first variant of the 787 with a "stretched" or lengthened fuselage, seating 250–290 in three classes with a range of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 km).[194] This variant differs from the 787-8 in several ways, including structural strengthening, a lengthened fuselage, a higher fuel capacity, a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW), but with the same wingspan as the 787-8.[195] The targeted entry into service (EIS) date, was originally planned for 2010,[196] but by October 2011 deliveries were scheduled to begin in early 2014.[197] Boeing is targeting the 787-9 to compete with both passenger variants of the Airbus A330 and to replace their own 767-400ER. Like the 787-8, it will also open up new non-stop routes, flying more cargo and fewer passengers more efficiently than the 777-200ER or A340-300/500. The firm configuration was finalized on July 1, 2010.[198]

Artist's impression of the stretched 787-9, designed with greater range and payload capability

When first launched, the 787-9 had the same fuel capacity as the other two variants. The design differences meant higher weight and resulted in a slightly shorter range than the 787-8. After further consultation with airlines, design changes were incorporated to add a forward tank to increase its fuel capacity, so it has a longer range and a higher MTOW than the other two variants.[194] Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the 787-9 and the second customer for the 787 after ANA.[199]

Other variants


This variant was designed to be a 290-seat (two-class) short-range version of the 787 targeted at high-density flights, with a range of 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles (4,650 to 5,650 km) when fully loaded. Its design used the same basic fuselage as the 787-8. The wing was derived from the 787-8, with blended winglets replacing raked wingtips. The change decreased the wingspan by roughly 25 feet (7.6 m), allowing the 787-3 to fit into more domestic gates, in particular, in Japan. This model would have been limited in its range by a reduced MTOW of 364,000 lb (165,100 kg).[200][N 1]

An artist's impression of the 787-3, which would have featured a shorter wing with winglets.

The −3 variant was designed to operate on Boeing 757–300/767–200-sized regional routes from airports with restricted gate spacing.[201] Boeing projected that the future of aviation between very large, but close cities of five million or more people may stabilize around the capacity level of the 787-3.[202][203]

Forty-three 787-3s were ordered by the two Japanese airlines, but production problems on the base 787-8 model led Boeing to postpone the introduction of the 787-3 in April 2008, following the 787-9 but without a firm delivery date.[64] By December 2009, all 787-3 orders had been converted to the 787-8.[204] At the time, it was likely the 787-3 variant would be shelved entirely following the lack of interest by potential customers caused by its being designed specifically for the Japanese market.[205] On December 13, 2010, Boeing did cancel the 787-3, since it was no longer financially viable after its orders were canceled.[206]


Boeing has stated that it is likely to develop another version, the longer 787-10, with seating capacity between 290 and 310.[207][208] This proposed model is intended to compete with the planned Airbus A350-900.[209] The 787-10 would supersede the 777-200ER in Boeing's current catalog and could also compete against the Airbus A330-300 and A340-300/500. Boeing was having discussions with potential customers about the 787-10 in 2006 and 2007.[210][211][212] In March 2006 Mike Bair, the head of the 787 program at the time, stated that "It's not a matter of if, but when we are going to do it ... The 787-10 will be a stretched version of the 787-9 and sacrifice some range to add extra seat and cargo capacity."[213] Boeing has not yet officially launched the -10, but it remains under consideration as of 2011.[214][215]

Further proposals

Although no date has been set, Boeing expects to build a 787 freighter version, possibly in 10 to 15 years.[216] Boeing is reported to be also considering a 787 variant as a candidate to replace the 747-based VC-25 as Air Force One.[217]

Orders and deliveries

The 787 was first officially delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways in September 2011.[218] ILFC (International Lease Finance Corporation) is its largest customer with orders totaling 74 Boeing 787s, comprising 33 -8s and 41 -9s.[8][219]

Net orders and deliveries (cumulative by year)
Data through end of October 2011.[8][220][221][222]
Boeing 787 total firm orders
787-8 787-9 Total firm orders[8][220]
561 266 827
Orders and deliveries by year
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total
Net orders 56 235 157 369 93 −59 −4 −20 827
Deliveries 2 2[223]


Model 787-8 787-9
Cockpit crew Two
Seating, typical 242 (3-class)
264 (2-class)
280 (3-class)
Length 186 ft (56.7 m) 206 ft (62.8 m)
Wingspan 197 ft 0 in (60.0 m)
Wing area 3,501 sq ft (325 m2)
Wing sweepback 32.2 degrees
Height 55 ft 6 in (16.9 m)
Fuselage dimensions Width: 18 ft 11 in (5.77 m) / Height: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
Maximum cabin width 18 ft (5.49 m)
Cargo capacity 4,822 cu ft (137 m3)
28× LD3
or 9x (88x125) pallets
or 8x (96x125) pallets + 2x LD3
6,086 cu ft (172 m3)
36× LD3
or 11x (88x125) pallets
or 11x (96x125) pallets
Maximum takeoff weight 502,500 lb (228,000 kg) 553,000 lb (251,000 kg)
Maximum landing weight 380,000 lb (172,000 kg) 425,000 lb (193,000 kg)
Maximum Zero-Fuel Weight 355,000 lb (161,000 kg) 400,000 lb (181,000 kg)
Operating empty weight 242,000 lb (110,000 kg) 254,000 lb (115,000 kg)
Cruising speed Mach 0.85 (567 mph, 490 knots, 913 km/h at 35,000 ft/10,700 m)[224]
Maximum speed Mach 0.89 (593 mph, 515 knots, 954 km/h at 35,000 ft/10,700 m)
Range, fully loaded 7,650–8,200 nmi (14,200–15,200 km; 8,800–9,440 mi) 8,000–8,500 nmi (14,800–15,700 km; 9,210–9,780 mi)
Maximum fuel capacity 33,528 US gal (126,920 L) 36,641 US gal (138,700 L)
Service ceiling 43,000 ft (13,100 m)
Engines (×2) General Electric GEnx or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000
Thrust (×2) 64,000 lbf (280 kN) 71,000 lbf (320 kN)

Sources: 787 brochure,[195] 787-8 Airport report,[178] 787 fact sheets[193][194][200]

See also

External images
Boeing 787 cutaway
Boeing 787–8 cutaway from Flight International
Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


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