Boeing Launches the Maiden Flight of the Fuel-Efficient 787 Dreamliner
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The Boeing 787 Dreamliner took to the sky for the first time in mid-December, successfully completing the maiden flight of the new fuel-efficient airplane. The new airliner uses 20% less fuel per passenger than other similarly sized airplanes, thanks to an innovative combination of fuel-efficient engines, aerodynamic design, and lightweight composite materials. By weight, half of the airplane is composed of composite materials, including the fuselage and wings. The aircraft will also provide passengers with innovations that include a new interior environment with cleaner air, larger windows, more stowage space, improved lighting, and other conveniences.
The flight marks a turning point for Boeing, as the Dreamliner's maiden voyage was delayed by more than two years due to issues with parts supplies, software, and system integration, as well as the need to replace certain fasteners and to reinforce a section of the aircraft. But the company is now moving ahead full speed and has already completed the first flight of its second 787 Dreamliner. The company will employ six of the aircraft in its flight-test program, leading to the first commercial delivery in the fourth quarter of this year. Boeing has 840 orders for the 787 Dreamliner, and in October 2009, the company announced plans to build a second assembly line for the aircraft in North Charleston, South Carolina.