Production delays are over and the first 2 Boeing 787 Dreamliners have been delivered to All Nippon Airways, with 18 more expected to be delivered by the end of FY2012. ANA has a total of 55 Dreamliners on order.
The first commercial flight was a 4½ hour charter from Tokyo to Hong Kong:
Journalists, special guests and representatives from ANA and Boeing
joined Chief Executive and President of ANA, Shinichiro Ito aboard
today’s flight. Business Class seats were also sold in a charity auction
with one passenger shelling out US$30,000 for a ticket.
The carbon fiber composite 787 offers passengers increased overhead
luggage space, 30 percent larger auto-dimming windows, power, USB and
iPod connections, touch panel LCD screens and more comfortable air
The Dreamliner also promises significant fuel savings of around 20
percent, which ANA says will eventually help it save JPY10 billion
(US$130m) a year.
Aeronautics engineer (but non-blogging) Advised by Wolves writes:
The big thing about the 787 is how different it is from previous airliners.
1. The aircraft will have a much higher percentage of composite materials as opposed to 90% metals for all previous airliners. The fuselage tube is carbon-carbon with metal reinforcement. The rudders and elevators are composites, but the wing, vertical and horizontal stabilizers are still aluminum alloy.
2. Aerodynamics is much slicker in this aircraft. That is a function of the greater knowledge of the physics and the composites that allow the minute bends of the slicker shell.
3. It has electrical actuators for the flaps and all control surfaces instead of hydraulics that is the norm for airliners. It has additional and more powerful APUs (auxiliary power units) to provide the additional electrical power. Other aircraft use the main engines to provide hydraulic power.
4. The biggest difference is how the aircraft was designed and built. Partners (i.e. subcontractors) were much more responsible for designing their components and the components were supposed to be completed so that major parts could be assembled easily at the shop floor in Seattle and the new shop in the Carolinas. And that is why the plane was delayed two years.