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Boeing rolling out ‘super-efficient’ 787 Dreamliner

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Seattle : World's leading aerospace company Boeing is rolling out Sunday the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, described as a super-efficient plane that will provide new solutions for airlines and passengers, including those in India.

Developed by an international team of top aerospace companies led by Boeing at its Everett facility near Seattle, the 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 210-250 passengers on routes of 7,650-8,200 nautical miles (14,200-15,200 km), company officials said.

Another version, the 787-9 Dreamliner, will carry 250-290 passengers on routes of 8,000-8,500 nautical miles, while a third, the 787-3 Dreamliner, will accommodate 290-330 passengers and be optimised for routes of 2,500-3,050 nautical miles.

In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 will provide airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance.

The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane. It will also travel at speeds similar to the current fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85. Airlines will also enjoy more cargo revenue capacity.

Passengers will also see improvements with the new airplane, from an interior environment with higher humidity to increased comfort and convenience.

The key to this exceptional performance is a suite of new technologies being developed by Boeing and its international technology development team.

According to Boeing officials, the company has announced that as much as 50 percent of the primary structure – including the fuselage and wing – on the 787 will be made of composite materials.

An open architecture will be at the heart of the 787's systems, which will be more simplified than today's airplanes and offer increased functionality. For example, the team is looking at incorporating health-monitoring systems that will allow the airplane to self-monitor and report maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems.

Boeing has selected General Electric and Rolls-Royce to develop engines for the new airplane. It is expected that advances in engine technology will contribute as much as 8 percent of the increased efficiency of the new airplane, representing a nearly two-generation jump in technology for the middle of the market.

Another improvement in efficiency will come in the way the airplane is designed and built. New technologies and processes are being developed to help Boeing and its supplier partners achieve unprecedented levels of performance at every phase of the programme.

For example, by manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section, Boeing is eliminating 1,500 aluminium sheets and 40,000-50,000 fasteners.

Since Boeing launched the Dreamliner programme in April 2004, 45 customers from six continents, including Air India, have placed orders for 584 airplanes, making this the most successful launch of a new commercial airplane in Boeing's history.

With the 787 programme opening its final assembly plant in Everett this year, the delivery and entry into service of the Dreamliner will begin in 2008.