First 787 delivered by Boeing, 4 years late. Ouch.

Boeing delivered (not tested, flew, etc.) the first of its new aircraft, the 787 this week to Japanese carrier All Nippon Air, or ANA. Here's a history of the craft to this point.

One could scoff at the delays given that the plane looks like, well, a plane. The shape masks some pretty big changes. First, the shape is not a classic Boeing shape. Rather, it looks like the Cessna Citation with a downturned nose that is more prevalent in newer designs.

Second, you can see in the photo above that the wings don't have winglets- the upturned bits at the end. Actually, that's not so much a lack of appendages that reduce wind disturbance at the tip, but a complete redesign of the wing from a basically flat slab to an arched design that more closely resembles the organic shape of a bird's wing in flight.

Third, see the squiggly back end of the engines? That feature reduces noise and eases airflow on a set of engines that were redesigned (twice actually) from the ground up to be 30% more efficient.

All good. If you want to be a cynic though, I have to permit it. After all, Boeing managed to roll out its newest 747, the 8F between the start and end of the 787 project, borrowing a lot of the tech. And, of course, the 747 project was in part Boeing's response to the Airbus A380 megajumbo (it's 2 stories). I saw an A380 land at LAX. I just stood there and watched. It's so big it looks a little impossible. That airframe also has curved wings, composite body components, and upgraded engines. It took less time than the 787 even though it required airport retrofits to accommodate the number passengers getting on and off.

Oh well. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Flipper said...

In addition to the engine redesigns, they also had to repaint the plane... it was decided that ANA's first two B787s should have a special livery. The photo above is the old design, here's the new: http://news.bioscholar.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/boeing-787.jpg