MIAMI — Today in Aviation marks the 10th anniversary of the international debut of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Flight ZA003 landed at the Farnborough Airport in support of the Farnborough International Airshow, FIA 2010.
This was the first international trip made by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The airplane came via a nonstop flight to Farnborough, U.K., from Seattle, U.S. About a dozen people traveled on the airplane to conduct testing during the flight.
With its introduction of the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing hoped to revolutionize both the way commercial airlines were built and improve the way consumers flew.
The Dreamliner was built by an international team with the aim of providing airlines around the world with an efficiency consisting of a 20% reduction in fuel use when compared to similar-sized airplanes.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Design
Apart from exceeding all existing aircraft in comfort and at the time cutting-edge technology, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was unique in its utilization of composite materials.
The Dreamliner was designed to be the first production airliner with the fuselage comprising one-piece composite barrel sections instead of the multiple aluminum sheets and some 50,000 fasteners used on existing aircraft.
While the inclusion of composites in the structure of aircraft was nothing new, the Dreamliner was unique in the amount of composite material that was included.
According to Boeing, as much as “50% of the primary structure including the fuselage and wing on the 787 was made of composite materials.”
Boeing also stated at the time that the wings of the Dreamliner were also composed of up to 50% composite material by weight (80% composite material by volume) and 20% aluminum.
A More Efficient Airliner
In comparison, the previous Boeing 777 was composed of only 12% composite material and 50% aluminum by weight. The use of carbon/epoxy composites on the Dreamliner also offered significant mechanical properties.
For passengers, these developments meant unparalleled functionality and safety with the added resiliency to atmospheric pressure, compared to the aluminum material of the older models.
According to Boeing, the advanced engines of the Boeing 787, manufactured by General Electric and Rolls-Royce, would increase the 787’s efficiency by at least 8%, burning “20% less fuel than the comparably sized 767.”
The Dreamliner Arrives at FIA
Boeing executives and members of the board of directors, dignitaries from the United States, the U.K. and a wide variety of media were on hand to welcome Captains Mike Bryan and Ted Grady as they stepped off the airplane and welcomed visitors aboard.
Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the Boeing 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes said, “It’s an honor to showcase the 787 here at the Farnborough Airshow. I can’t think of a finer stage on which to present this highly anticipated airplane.”
Fancher added, “We took advantage of the flying time to conduct some flight testing on the way. We’re taking every opportunity to complete our testing requirements when we fly.”
On April 26, 2004, Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (NH) became the launch customer for the Boeing 787 when it announced a firm order for 50 aircraft with deliveries to begin in late 2008.
The ANA 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, and could operate routes to cities not previously served, such as Denver, Moscow, and New Delhi.
The Boeing 787-3 and 787-8 were to be the initial variants, with the 787-9 entering service in 2010. By 2007, 29 airlines had ordered 393 Boeing 787, making it then the most successful aircraft launch in Boeing’s history.
At FIA 2010, Boeing and Royal Jordanian, the national carrier of Jordan, signed an order for three Boeing 787-8. The order was valued at approximately US$500m at list price.
Featured image: The Dreamliner lands at the 2010 Farnborough Air Show. Photo: Boeing
Sources: Boeing.com, avionews.it and the Journal of Young Investigators