After a wait of nearly 8 years, and 2 years after the first 787 took to the skies, Boeing is all set to deliver the first Dreamliner to its launch customer, ANA (All Nippon Airways). The aircraft was delayed six times and cost Boeing billions of dollars to show that their new creation is ‘fly-safe’. Several orders were cancelled and airlines demanded compensation from Boeing. Even our airline, Air India asked Boeing to pay upto 1.5 Billion Dollars as compensation for the delays. Air India, by the way, has placed 27 orders and the first delivery is expected later this year. The aircraft known for its fuel economy and sleek interiors will be operated first as a charter flight between Tokyo and Hong Kong by ANA. When it was announced, it raised many eyebrows because of its revolutionary innovations like using lighter composite materials for most of the frame work and other parts which make the aircraft extremely light and durable and weather proof.
Whats with all the fuss?
You might wonder, “Whats the big deal? It’s just another aircraft that’s gonna fly up there.” But Dreamliner isnt just a typical aircraft. First of all since it is made of lighter materials it reduces fuel consumption. Boeing says that its the most fuel economic aircraft that it has ever made and says it will consume 20% less fuel than similar sized and ranged aircrafts. That reduction in the fuel consumption is primarily is credited to the advanced materials used for construction and also to the fuel efficient Rolce-Royce Trent 1000 Engines. And the engines are reportedly really quiet compared to other aircraft that use similar sized engines.
The 787 also incorporates some useful and revolutionary aerodynamic designs. The visible features include the slightly down pointing nose that makes the jet more aerodynamic. The other feature that Im really excited about is the “Flex Wings”. If you have an experience of flying through clouds and facing turbulence, then you would know how the aircraft behaves. It almost frightens you to death, unless you’re a frequent flier. The aircraft takes small and sudden dives and suddenly it lifts up and you hear noise of glasses and bottles rattling (lol), the wing shakes and you feel its gonna break and life returns only after the aircraft moves clear of the clouds. Boeing promises you would not face such horrors aboard the 787. The reason for this is the incredibly flexible wings can bend upto 26 feet upward which is equivalent to 150% of the maximum load faced by a commercial airliner. The plane will look literally like a bird flapping its wings. This results in a much smoother flying experience. Take a look at the photo which was taken during the stress tests carried out on the wings. Its incredible!
The 787 also has some really good features. The Dreamliner will have more space and leg room that any other aircraft and will have LED mood lighting for all cabin classes which Boeing claims will reduce effects of Jet lag. The Dreamliner will have large windows which wont have the usual window shades. Instead the light will be controlled electronically with the touch of a button. The dreamliner will have the usual 3-class cabin configuration (Economy, Business and First) with the number of sears ranging from 220 to 310. The Dreamliner’s sleek interiors will surely be one of the biggest selling points. Here are some photos of ANA’s 787 interiors.
This is just ANA’s configuration. Wait till Singapore airlines or Etihad or Qantas reveal their interior configurations. Our national carrier Air India which has 27 firm orders, has also promised attractive looking interiors. Lets see what they come up with!
ANA’s liveries are not the best. I thought it would be nice if the 787 had a launch parter with a better livery like Virgin Atlantic or even Jet Airways! They do have a very nice livery now. But ANA revealed a different painting scheme for the dreamliner. I must say, Im impressed! Here’s some photos of the ANA Dreamliners exteriors.
Ive never been a fan of the Boeings but I really love the way the 787 has been designed by the American aerospace giant. But Boeing wont be taking over the market entirely with this aircraft, because Airbus has announced a similar aircraft, the A350, which according to Airbus will be 8% more efficient than the B787. The first flight of the A350 is scheduled for 2012 and Qantas will be the launch customer for the aircraft which will also use Carbon fiber extensively for its construction.
We might see the this flying in our country very soon…
Take a look at the registration number (VT-ANA). Hmmm… Interesting! Anyway looking forward to seeing this one and the A380 flying with Air India. The purchase of the A380 looks very certain now with the government announcing a Rs. 1400 crore project for the Airline. After that I assume the government will remove the ban on foreign A380s in Indian airports. Anyway, the Dreamliner is sure to make an impact in the airline industry for atleast a decade.