Boeing 787

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Rendering of a Boeing 787-8 in Northwest Airlines colors

The Boeing 787, or Dreamliner, is a mid-sized passenger airliner currently under development by Boeing Commercial Airplanes and scheduled to enter service in 2008. It will carry between 200 and 350 passengers depending on the seating configuration, and be more fuel-efficient than earlier airliners. In addition, it will be the first major airliner to use composite material in the majority of its construction.

Prior to January 28, 2005, the 787 was known as the developmental designator 7E7. On April 26, 2005, one year to the day after the launch of the program, the final look of the external 787 design was frozen [1] (



When 767 sales began to weaken in the face of competition from the Airbus A330-200 in the late 1990s, Boeing began to consider replacement aircraft. As the 747-400 was also beginning to lose traction, the company began to consider two new projects — the Boeing Sonic Cruiser and the 747X.

Originally the  was Boeing's intended choice to replace the . Boeing later reverted to the more conservative, though still advanced, 787
Originally the Sonic Cruiser was Boeing's intended choice to replace the 767. Boeing later reverted to the more conservative, though still advanced, 787

The Sonic Cruiser was intended to achieve higher speeds (approximately Mach 0.98) while burning fuel at the same rate as the existing 767 and A330 products. The 747X, intended to compete with the Airbus A380, would stretch the 747-400 and give it a composite supercritical wing to improve efficiency. The limited potential market for superjumbos was an issue, however; the earlier Douglas DC-10 and Lockheed L-1011 widebodies split of a similarly limited market drove both companies out of their strong positions in the commercial aircraft market.

Market interest for the 747X was tepid; the Sonic Cruiser had brighter prospects. Several major airlines, primarily in the United States, voiced their optimism for the concept. By decreasing travel time, they would be able to increase customer satisfaction and aircraft utilization.

When the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred, the global airline market was upended. The worst-affected airlines were in the United States — those same airlines were the primary proponents of the Sonic Cruiser. Airlines were not able to justify large capital expenditures, and due to increased petroleum prices, were more interested in efficiency than speed. Boeing proceeded to offer airlines the option of using the airframe for either higher speed or increased efficiency. Due to high projected airframe costs, demand continued to evaporate. Eventually, Boeing switched tacks and decided to offer an alternative project, at the same time cancelling the 747X.

The replacement for the Sonic Cruiser project was dubbed the 7E7. The "E" was said to stand for various things, depending upon the audience. To some, it stood for "efficiency," to others it stood for "environmentally friendly," etc. In the end, Boeing claimed it merely stood for "Eight," after the aircraft was eventually rechristened "787" when several Chinese airlines ordered the product, as eight is a lucky number in Chinese numerology. [2] (

The 787 essentially uses the technology proposed for the Sonic Cruiser in a more conventional airframe configuration (see Features). Boeing claims that the 787 will be up to 20% more fuel-efficient than comparable aircraft. Roughly one-third of this efficiency improvement will come from the engines; another third from aerodynamic improvements and the increased use of lighter weight composite materials; and the rest from advanced systems. The most notable system advancement contributing to efficiency is a "more electric architecture" which replaces bleed air and hydraulic power with electrically powered compressors and pumps. This technology is comparable in some ways to the systems used on hybrid cars.

On December 16, 2003, Boeing announced assembly would take place in Everett, Washington, employing 800 to 1,200 people.

On April 6, 2004, Boeing announced that it had selected two engine types, the General Electric (GE) GEnx and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 to power the 787. Significantly, this leaves Pratt & Whitney unable to offer one of their own engines to 787 customers. Boeing may have wished to rely on two evolved versions of existing engines rather than the higher-risk option of an all new Pratt & Whitney engine, particularly in light of Pratt & Whitney's recent failures in the Regional Jet market and failed PW6000 engine for the A318.

The original 787 styling, which has since been abandoned
The original 787 styling, which has since been abandoned

For the first time in commercial aviation, both engine types will have a standard interface with the aircraft, allowing any 787 to be fitted with either a GE or Rolls-Royce engine at any time. Engine interchangeability makes the 787 a far more flexible asset to airlines, allowing them to change from one manufacturer's engine to the other's in light of any future engine developments which conform more closely to their operating profile. The engine market for the 787 is estimated $40 billion USD over the next 25 years.

The launch of a new airliner can be expected to draw scathing comments from competitors, Boeing's doubt over the A380 and Airbus' mocking of the Sonic Cruiser being recent examples. The 787 is no exception, as Airbus' John Leahy has made attempts at refuting all of the claims that Boeing have made for the aircraft, while the company has openly criticized the large scale use of composites for the 787's fuselage "rushed and ridculous" - with Boeing arguing that the technology has already been well-proven on military aircraft. Airbus is not in a position to start development of a comparable aircraft given their commitment to the ongoing development of the A380. However, Airbus has offered a reduced-weight A330 with the 787's next generation turbofans (modified to generate bleed air as with the proposed 747 Advanced). This proposed new jet, the A350, lacks the 787's widespread use of composites and advanced systems, though Airbus says it will almost match the 787's performance and reduced operating costs. Despite the designs' claimed parity, Airbus has sold just 105 A350s to four airlines and two leasing companies.

Commercial launch

Missing image
787 in the livery of launch customer All Nippon Airways

On April 26, 2004, the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) became the launch customer for the 787, then still-known as the 7E7, announcing a firm order for 50 aircraft to be delivered beginning in 2008. The order is valued at roughly $6 billion and represents the largest ever single launch order for a new Boeing jetliner, as well as illustrating market acceptance of the concept.

ANA will buy thirty 787-3, 300 seat, one-class aircraft for the domestic market, and twenty 787-8, long-haul, 230 seat, two-class aircraft for international routes such as Tokyo Narita-Los Angeles. The aircraft will allow new routes to be opened to minor cities not previously served, such as to Denver.

On June 28, 2004, Air New Zealand (ANZ) became the second 787 customer, announcing a firm order for two aircraft and options on 16 more. This unusual arrangement was likely precipitated by ANZ's perception that they needed to secure their delivery slots, far in advance. The aircraft will be used to develop new international routes and increase frequency on existing routes. ANZ was the first airline to announce which powerplant would power their aircraft, selecting the Trent in June 2004.

Blue Panorama of Italy and First Choice Airways of the United Kingdom placed orders for four and six examples, respectively, of the 787-8 on July 7, 2004. Primaris Airlines (run by several prominent industry veterans), which caters to business customers in the same vein as Switzerland's PrivatAir, placed an order on October 21, 2004 for 20 787s and options for 15 more. The Primaris order represents the first American customer for the aircraft. On December 22, 2004, Japan Airlines ordered 30 787s with 20 options for close to $4 billion, and on December 29 of the same year, Continental announced an order for 10 787 airframes.

On December 31, 2004, Vietnam Airlines became the eighth airline to signal its intent to buy the 787, with an order for four jets. This was followed on January 28, 2005 with an order from China Aviation Supplies Import & Export Corporation for 60 787s, which will be distributed among six Chinese state-owned airlines. Each airline will have its first 787 in service prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

On April 25, 2005, Air Canada, fresh out of bankruptcy, placed 18 firm orders for the Boeing 787 with options for 60 more, as well as 18 firm orders for the Boeing 777. Air Canada cited the 787's increased efficiency over the Boeing 767, Airbus A330, as well as the 787's competitor, the Airbus A350. The airline subsequently cancelled the orders on June 18, 2005, after failing to agree a package of cost-saving measures with its pilots.[3] (

On April 26, 2005, Air India placed a very large ($6.9B) order for a number of Boeing jets, including eight 777-200LR ultra-long-range aircraft, 15 777-300ER aircraft and 27 787 long-range aircraft. As of the 26th of April, 2005 this order was still subject to government approval.

Orders and options

Date Airline EIS Type Engine
787-3 787-8 787-9 Unknown Options
April 26 2004 Missing image

All Nippon Airways
2008 30 20     50 Trent 1000
June 2 2004 Missing image

Air New Zealand
2008   2     16 Trent 1000
July 7 2004  First Choice Airways 2009   6     6 GEnx
July 7 2004 Missing image

Blue Panorama
2009   4        
October 21 2004  Primaris Airlines 2008   20     15  
December 22 2004 Missing image

Japan Airlines
2008 13 17     20
December 29 2004  Continental Airlines 2009   10        
December 31 2004  Vietnam Airlines 2010   4        
January 28, 2005  Air China 2008       15    
January 28, 2005  China Eastern 2008       15    
January 28, 2005  China Southern 2008       10    
January 28, 2005  Hainan Airlines 2008       8    
January 28, 2005  Shanghai Airlines 2008   4   5    
January 28, 2005  Xiamen Airlines 2008       3    
February 4, 2005  Ethiopian Airlines 2008   5     5  
February 25, 2005  Icelandair 2010   2     5  
April 11, 2005  Korean Air 2010   10     10  
April 26, 2005  Air India ?   20     7  
May 5, 2005  Northwest Airlines 2008   18     50  
Totals: 241 184

Initial sales

Customer announced orders and commitments for the 787 reached 237 aircraft during the first year of sales; the total currently stands at 255, with 70 under firm contract. This makes the 787 the fastest-ever selling Boeing airliner upon launch; by comparison, the 747 sold 92 units during the same time period. Negotiations remain underway with a number of key airlines worldwide. They expect to have 500 orders by entry into service (EIS).

The 787-3 and 787-8 variants will be available first. The 787-9 was expected to be available two years later, but the first 2.5 years production has now been sold out for the initial variants, so the introduction of the 787-9 has been delayed in order to fulfill initial demand.

The 787-8 variant was priced at a list price of $120 million per aircraft, surprising the industry, which was expecting a much higher price tag. Launch customer ANA is rumored to have received a 50 % discount, though that may never be easily confirmed.

Japanese and other foreign program partners

It also underscores the importance of Japanese industrial participation (35 % workshare with Boeing itself holding 35 %) with most of the subcontractors fully supported and funded by the Japanese government. The Japanese participants are no longer junior partners.

Boeing will assemble the aircraft and manufacture its forward fuselage, tail fin, ailerons, flaps, and slats. For its entire history, Boeing has jealously guarded its techniques for designing and mass producing commercial jetliner wings. Due to economic realities, the wings will be manufactured by Japanese companies in Nagoya, while the horizontal stabilizers will be manufactured by Alenia Aeronautica in Italy, and the fuselage sections by Vought in South Carolina, Alenia in Italy, Kawasaki in Japan, and Boeing in Wichita.

Messier-Dowty will build the landing gear. This highlights the French participation in the Boeing program. Honeywell and Rockwell-Collins will provide flight control, guidance and other Avionics systems. The 787 will be the first aircraft in history with standard dual head up guidance systems. Future integration of forward looking infrared is being looked at by Flight Dynamics allowing improved visibility using thermal sensing as part of the HUD system, allowing pilots to "see" through the clouds.

The final assembly will consist of attaching fully-completed subassemblies, instead of building the complete aircraft from the ground up. This is a technique which Boeing has previously used on the 737 program, which involves shipping fuselage barrel sections by rail from Boeing's Wichita, Kansas facility to their final assembly plant at Renton, Washington. Airbus has also used this technique in the past, which in their case is more a political necessity as a result of having to divide workshare between partner nations.

The 787 will undergo wind-tunnel testing at Boeing's Transonic Wind Tunnel, QinetiQ's five-metre wind tunnel based in Farnborough, UK, and NASA Ames Research Center's wind tunnel, as well as at the French aerodynamics research agency, ONERA.

The first composite section rolled out in January of 2005, and final design was set in April 2005.


  • Twin aisle seating.
  • Cruise speed: 0.85 Mach (903 km/h or 561 mph at altitude)
  • Range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km), enough to cover the Los Angeles to London or New York to Tokyo routes.
  • Construction materials (by weight): 61 % composite, 20 % aluminum, 11 % titanium, 8 % steel. Composite materials are significantly lighter and stronger than traditional aircraft materials, making the 787 a very light aircraft for its capabilities. By volume, the 787 will be 80 % composite.
  • The 787 production line will be able to finish an aircraft in as little as three days, compared to 11 days for the 737.
  • Larger windows than any other civil air transport, with a higher eye level, so passengers can see the horizon, with liquid crystal display (LCD)-based "auto-dimming" to reduce cabin glare and maintain transparency.
  • Light-emitting diode (LED) cabin lighting will be used instead of fluorescent tubes.
  • Cabin air provided by electrically driven compressors (no engine bleed air).
  • A version of Ethernet (AFDX) will be used to transmit data between the flight deck and aircraft systems.
  • Bleedless turbofans, allowing elimination of superheated air conduits normally used for de-icing, aircraft power, and other functions. These systems are to be replaced with an all-electrical system.
  • Higher humidity in the passenger cabin because of the use of composites (which don't corrode).
  • The internal pressure will be increased, to the equivalent of 6000 feet (1800 m) altitude versus 8000 (2400 m) on conventional aircraft. This will significantly improve passenger comfort.

Early concept images of the 787 included rakish cockpit windows, a dropped nose, and a distinctive "shark-fin" vertical stabilizer. The final styling of the aircraft was more conservative, with the fin less radical than on earlier images.


The 787 is currently being sold in three variants:

  • The 787-3 will be a 296 seat (two class) short-range version targeted at high density flights, with a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km). EIS is 2010.
  • The 787-8 will be the "baseline" model, with 223 seats in three classes and a range of 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km). EIS is 2008.
  • The 787-9 will be a stretched variant, seating 259 in three classes. The targeted EIS is set at 2010[4] (


787-3 787-8 787-9 767-300
(for comparison)
(for comparison)
Length: 55.5 m 55.5 m 62 55.0 m 61.4 m
Height: 16.5 m 16.5 m 16.5 m 15.9 m 16.8 m
Wingspan: 51.6 m 58.8 m 60.0 m 47.6 m 51.9 m
Cross section: 5.75 m 5.75 m 5.75 m 4.50 m 4.50 m
MTOW: 163,500 kg 216,500 kg 226,800 kg 156,500 kg 204,120 kg
Seats: 296
two class
three class
three class
three class
three class
Cargo: 16 tons 16 tons 16 tons 10 tons
Engine: GE GENX or
Trent 1000
Trent 1000
Trent 1000
GE CF6-80C2 or
Pratt & Whitney
GE CF6-80C2
Cruising speed: 0.85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.80 Mach 0.80 Mach
Range¹: 6,500 km 15,700 km 15,400 km 7,400 km 10,454 km
Service ceiling: 13,000 m 13,000 m 13,000 m 13,000 m 13,000 m
EIS: 2008 2008 2010 1986 2000

¹ With full load (passengers and cargo)

Related content

Related development

Similar aircraft


External links

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

de:Boeing 787

fr:Boeing 787 he:בואינג 787 ja:ボーイング787 no:Boeing 787 zh:波音787


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools