The green dream machine
Published 16th December 2009 - 1 comments - 1013 views -
Relief all round, especially at Boeing HQ, as the maiden flight of its much-delayed 787 Dreamliner, the company’s first new aircraft in 15 years, took place yesterday outside Seattle.
With air travel very much in the firing line these days because of greenhouse gas emissions, the 787 is sure to be welcomed in Copenhagen when it touches down there next year as part of its test flight program. No doubt about it, the Dreamliner is a radical departure in aircraft design. Where other passenger jets are made mostly from aluminium and titanium, nearly all of the 787's fuselage and wings are made of lightweight composite materials such as carbon fibre, accounting for about 50 percent of the aircraft by weight. And Boeing says the aircraft will be quieter, produce lower emissions and use 20 percent less fuel than comparable planes, while giving passengers a more comfortable cabin with better air quality and larger windows.
The 787 version being tested will be able to fly up to 250 passengers about 9,000 miles (14,485 kilometres). A stretch version will be capable of carrying 290 passengers and a short-range model up to 330. Boeing has spent more than $10 billion in research and development for the Dreamliner. The planes have list prices of between $105 million and $205 million and the company has a record 840 orders on the books, worth more than $140 billion.
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