June 2006 
Volume 05, Issue 2  
Commercial Airplanes

Dreamliner becoming reality

787 still going strong, 2 years after launch


Dreamliner becoming realityApril 26, 2004, started the journey of turning dreams into reality with the launch of a new member of Boeing's family of airplanes: the superefficient 787 Dreamliner. In the two years since that day, the hard work of Boeing employees and supplier partners worldwide continues to move the 787 program closer to its world debut and entry into service.

The Dreamliner is the most successful new airplane launch in the history of Boeing. To date, 29 customers have made orders or commitments for 393 airplanes. Of these, 350 are firm orders worth roughly $52 billion at current list prices. The first three years of production are sold out, and demand for subsequent years is high.

"Every way we look at it—the number of customers, the variety of customers in terms of location and business model, the number of orders and even repeat business—we couldn't be happier," said Mike Bair, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "We are bringing the right airplane to the market."

In the past 24 months, the 787 team has demonstrated the composite manufacturing technology that will allow the Dreamliner to be made primarily of this superior material.

Nine composite fuselage sections have been manufactured at facilities in Seattle and Wichita, Kan. A demonstration wing box has also been built in Seattle (see Page 12 of the April 2006 issue of Boeing Frontiers). Extensive testing on systems components is also under way at sites around the world.

The first Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, the launch engine for all three 787 versions, completed its first test run this February at the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby, England. The engine was started electrically with the new IP Power Offtake, which acts as an electric starter and was designed specifically to match the requirements of the more-electric 787. Certification of the Trent 1000 will occur in summer 2007, shortly before it powers the 787's first flight.

In addition, in March the first General Electric GEnx engine for the 787 reached 80,500 pounds of standard day sea-level takeoff thrust at GE's test facility in Peebles, Ohio. GE later inspected the engine hardware and found it to be in excellent condition. That engine is one of seven GE will test this year for the 787 certification program.

Boeing is bringing the best in the business from around the world together to build the Dreamliner. While the team of companies participating directly with Boeing on the 787 is smaller than on past programs (with larger work packages being contracted to fewer companies), the total team including sub-tier contracts involves companies from about two dozen countries.

With more than 3 million square feet of new factory space being built worldwide to support manufacturing of the Dreamliner, the project is the world's largest industrialization effort. There are now 135 sites around the world designing the Dreamliner through the use of new digital design tools provided by Dassault Systemes.

Much has happened in these past two years; and the next two years, Bair said, will be equally challenging and exciting. "Within that time frame," he said, "we will have built our first several airplanes, started our flight test program and be well on our way to certification and first deliveries."



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