Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing 787 is a wide-body twin-engine jet passenger aircraft developed by the American company Boeing. A maximum number of passengers (in a single-class configuration): from 250 to 330, depending on the version. Boeing claims that the Dreamliner will be more economical than previous designs, and will also be the first significant passenger aircraft to make extensive use of composite materials. The aerodynamic design of the aircraft is a twin-engine low-wing turbojet with swept wing and single-tail plumage.

For Boeing, the new aircraft is a major innovation in the civil aviation division: the American company has not produced completely new aircraft since 1995. It is assumed that Dreamliner will operate flights of 14.2 thousand kilometers with 210-330 passengers on board. Its main difference from existing analogs is called profitability.

By the late 1990s, it became apparent that the Boeing 767 was significantly outdated and could not compete with newer Airbus rivals, such as the Airbus A330. In 2001, Boeing announced the start of a new project, the Boeing Sonic Cruiser. It was promised that the new Boeing aircraft will be able to fly at a speed close to sonic, while on average consuming no more fuel (due to the shortened flight time) than the 767th or A330. Due to the September 11 terrorist attacks and rising oil prices, it became clear that airlines were more interested in low-cost flights than speed, and the Sonic Cruiser project, which was also expensive and technologically complex, was suspended.

April 26, 2004, Boeing introduced to the world its new project, codenamed 7E7. This new project served as a replacement for the Sonic Cruiser, inheriting many of the ideas and technologies of its predecessor. On January 28, 2005, Boeing announced that the 7E7 would be released under the name Boeing 787. On April 25, 2005, that is, a year after the start of the project, the appearance of the 787th was frozen.

The first copy was shown at a presentation at a plant in Everett on July 8, 2007. The first test flight was originally planned for September 2007 but was repeatedly delayed. August 27, 2009, Boeing announced that the first test flight will take place before the end of 2009, and the first deliveries of aircraft will be carried out in the IV quarter of 2010.

The first test flight of the airliner was planned to be carried out in the summer of 2007, but then the group let the partners down, not ensuring the supply of several key parts on time. The first Dreamliner taxiing took place in the summer of 2009. After that, folds were found on the fuselage skin.

After a series of delays, the Boeing 787 first took off on December 15, 2009.

The starting customer of the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA), which placed an order for 50 cars. At the end of June, Boeing received orders for 865 Dreamliner aircraft from 56 airlines (at the same time, the number of orders has decreased by 70 since the beginning of 2009), including the largest Russian air carrier Aeroflot ordered 22 such airliners. Thus, Dreamliner has already become the best-selling new aircraft in the history of civil aviation.

At the end of 2017, Boeing had a portfolio of orders for 1283 aircraft of the 787 models of which, by the summer of 2017, 565 have already been delivered: 340 models -8 and 225 models -9. 39 airlines use these airliners on 983 routes around the world. The aircraft is also used on a record long-range flight Perth (Australia) – London (UK) of Qantas airline with a length of 14,499 kilometers.

The largest operators are ANA (59), Japan Airlines (33), United Airlines (32) and Qatar Airways (30).

Modifications

  • Boeing 787-3 is a 296-seat variant with a range of 6,500 km, designed for busy routes of short length. This option will replace the Boeing 767 and Airbus A300 on domestic flights in Japan. Boeing has received orders for this option from All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines. The beginning of delivery is 2010. Cost – $ 146-151.5 million.
  • Boeing 787-8 – the basic version. The aircraft accommodates 242 passengers in a 2-class layout and 359 in a single-class layout with a limit of 381. The flight range with the standard layout is 13,621 kilometers. The aircraft is the smallest and lightest in the family (unless, of course, 227.9 tons can be considered lightness). The Boeing 787-8 was introduced to the market in 2011 and replaced the Boeing 767 airliners of the 200ER and -300ER models. The aircraft is quite popular, about a third of all orders fall on this version, and by the end of 2017, 346 of these already fly in airline fleets.
  • Boeing 787-9 – an enlarged version, which turned out, now, to be the average in the family. The liner fuselage was extended by 6.1 meters (62.81 versus 56.72 for the -8 model). Also, the aircraft became heavier by 26 tons (up to 254 tons). The capacity, in this case, is 290 passengers in a two-class layout and 406 in a single-class layout, with a limit of 420 people. The flight range at the same time increased slightly and reached 14,140 kilometers. Interestingly, the increase in range was achieved not by increasing the amount of fuel, but by introducing a new system of active control of the boundary layer and improving the aerodynamics of the liner. Despite the similarity of the -8 and -9 airliners, these aircraft have a lot of design differences: the wing, fuselage, and many systems have been redesigned and improved. The Boeing 787-9 is a replacement for the senior in the Boeing 767-400ER and a direct competitor to the European Airbus A330. The plane took off for the first time in 2013, and in 2014 was transferred to the starting customer – Air New Zealand Airlines. At the end of 2017, 254 liners of this model were delivered.
  • Boeing 787-10 was the result of active lobbying by Emirates and Qantas. It was not originally planned, but after creation it turns out to be somewhat outside its niche, entering into competition with the older models: Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 777-200ER. The fuselage of the aircraft was again extended by 5.47 meters (68.28 versus 62.81 for the -9 model). The capacity at the same time reached 330 passengers in 2 class layouts with a maximum of 440 people. The amount of fuel in the liner’s tanks remained the same, so the extra mass cost him a range reduced to 11,908 km. Structurally, the -10 model is unified with the -9 model by 95%, and the fuselage was lengthened by adding two sections in its front and rear. The chassis was also strengthened, and the engines were boosted to a thrust of 34.7 ts.

By the early 2020s, Boeing involves the creation of several additional modifications of the airliners, including freight and special transports. In 2009, the company offered its latest aircraft as boards No. 1 and No. 2 of the US Air Force for transporting senior officials, but the military has so far preferred to use time-tested machines.

Problems and incidents

At the end of 2017, the Boeing 787 was not involved in serious accidents or catastrophes that led to the destruction of the aircraft or deaths. Nevertheless, being a completely new airliner, incorporating a large number of new technologies, in the initial periods of operation, the aircraft turned out to be susceptible to “childhood diseases.”

At the beginning of the operation, ANA and United Airlines airlines sent several times for Boeing inspections due to problems with the fuel system (up to accounting) and malfunctions in the electrics. Later, difficulties arose with sensors, airborne locators, and aircraft engines. In 2016, when preparing for the departure, the Ethiopian Airlines plane jammed and damaged the front landing gear: the aircraft received minor damage, and the cabin crew was injured in the cabin.

The most famous problem of the Boeing 787 was the accident caused by new lithium-ion batteries. In 2013, signs of fire appeared onboard an ANA liner during a flight. The plane made an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport and was evacuated. Inspection showed that a fire occurred in one of the battery packs. After a while, the same plane happened to a JAL airliner. At that time, these airlines operated 24 aircraft – half of all delivered Dreamliners. Soon, the FAA issued a directive that decommissioned the entire Boeing 787 fleet to determine the cause of the accident.

After conducting an investigation and testing, it turned out that the battery life in the aircraft is about 52,000 flight hours, and not a million, as stated in Boeing. The cause of the accidents was the lack of a lithium-ion battery circuit – being more efficient, they are also less stable and, in case of a violation of the operating mode, can light up, and the provided safety measures have been ineffective.

The battery circuits, their support systems, as well as their production at Boeing in the battery manufacturing company – the Japanese GS Yuasa – were tested and revised. The idea of ​​replacing lithium-ion batteries with nickel-cadmium ones was rejected since such battery packs would be larger and weigh three times as much.

Companies have taken additional safety measures and upgraded battery packs. By the end of 2013, the FAA conducted additional certification tests of the liners and amended the operational documentation. Nevertheless, in 2014 in Japan, during the maintenance process, traces of battery overheating were detected twice more, but after the introduction of new equipment and maintenance methods, such incidents ceased.

Specifications

Modification 787-8787-9787-10
PowerplantGE0 GEnx-1B
RR Trent 1000
GE0 GEnx-1B
RR Trent 1000
GE0 GEnx-1B
RR Trent 1000
Engine thrust2 X 28,6 ts2 X 32,6 ts2 X 34,7 ts
Maximum seats242 (2 classes)
381 max
290 (2 classes)
420 max
330 (2 classes)
440 max
Practical ceiling13 100 m13 100 m13 100 m
Range of flight13 621 km14 140 km11 908 km
Maximum take-off weight227,9 t254 t254 t
Cruising speed956 km/h956 km/h956 km/h
Wingspan60,12 m60,12 m60,12 m
Length56,72 m62,81 m68,28 m
Height17,02 m17,02 m17,02 m
Graduated from Embry-Riddle Aviation University with a master's degree in aviation science. He began his career as an aviation researcher in local periodicals. Has a pilot license. Now are the author and developer of the Plane Worlds.