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Frontiers October 2013 Issue

continues … With innovative new technology and other improvements, the 787-9 is much more than just a longer Dreamliner By James Wallace BOEING FRONTIERS / OCTOBER 2013 23 Like proud parents watching their child stand up without help for the first time, this was the day Bruce Kaufman and his team had been waiting for, when the newest member of Boeing’s commercial jetliner family was able to support itself, the airplane’s landing gear holding it up on the factory floor instead of powerful jacks. It was mid-June in the Everett, Wash., factory and Kaufman and other members of the 787 main landing gear team were putting the 787-9 gear through a battery of functional tests before the OK was given to remove the jacks. “Pretty awesome,” Kaufman said, as he stood off to the side and looked at the first-ever 787-9 Dreamliner in final assembly, and at the four large tires of the main landing gear on that side of the plane. “It will be neat to see it out on the runway and think, Wow! I had a part in that.” Weeks later, that first Dreamliner with “9” on its tail left the factory floor late one night and was towed a short distance to be painted, one of the last remaining big tasks before the 787 team officially rolled out the airplane in late August. The 787-9 made its first flight Sept. 17. (See photo on Page 8.) All of Boeing, and not just the 787-9 team, has reason to be excited about the new plane. It’s much more than the next member of the Dreamliner family, a longer version of the 787-8 that will carry more passengers and have more range. Years ago, when some of the brightest aerodynamicists and engineers with Boeing Commercial Airplanes were planning the 787 family, they knew then the 787-9 held great promise. It would take lessons learned from the 787-8 and, with some new technology and innovation added to the mix, raise the efficiency bar even higher. And so would the 787-10 to follow. The 787-10 is a few years away from the start of final assembly. But the 787-9 is here, ready to show what it’s got. And that’s a lot, according to Mark Jenks, vice president of 787 development, with responsibility for both the 787-9 and 787-10. “When you look at the build of the airplane, the supply chain, the performance of the airplane and all the improvements we have made, this really brings home the


Frontiers October 2013 Issue
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