Boeing 787 Dreamliner

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner
All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner JA801A OKJ in flight.jpg
The first All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 landing at Okayama Airport
Role Wide-body jet airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Boeing Commercial Airplanes
First flight December 15, 2009
Introduction October 26, 2011, with All Nippon Airways
Status In service
Primary users All Nippon Airways
Japan Airlines
Air India
Qatar Airways
Produced 2007–present
Number built 170 as of July 2014[1]
Program cost US$32 billion (Boeing's expenditure as of 2011)[2]
Unit cost
787-8: US$211.8 million (2013)[3]
787-9: US$249.5 million (2013)[3]
787-10: US$288.7 million (2013)[3]

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Its variants seat 210 to 335 passengers. It is Boeing's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials as the primary material in the construction of its airframe. The 787 has been designed to be 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 it is to replace. The 787 Dreamliner's distinguishing features include mostly electrical flight systems, a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour. It shares a common type rating with the larger Boeing 777, allowing qualified pilots to operate both models, due to related design features.[4]

The aircraft's initial designation was the 7E7, prior to its renaming in January 2005. The first 787 was unveiled in a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007 at Boeing's Everett assembly factory, by which time the aircraft had 677 on order; this is more orders from launch to roll-out than any previous wide-body airliner.[5] By October 2013, the 787 program had logged 982 orders from 58 customers, with International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) having the largest number on order.[1]

Development and production of the 787 has involved a large-scale collaboration with numerous suppliers worldwide. Final assembly is at the Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington. Assembly is also taking place at the Boeing South Carolina factory in North Charleston, South Carolina. Both sites will deliver 787s to airline customers. Originally planned to enter service in May 2008, the project has experienced multiple delays. The airliner's maiden flight took place on December 15, 2009, and completed flight testing in mid-2011. Final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification was received in August 2011 and the first 787-8 model was delivered in September 2011. It entered commercial service on October 26, 2011. The stretched 787-9 variant, which is 20 feet (6.1 m) longer and can fly 450 nmi further than the -8, first flew in September 2013. Deliveries of the 787-9 began in July 2014; it is expected to enter commercial service in October 2014.

The aircraft has suffered from several in-service problems, notably fires on board related to its lithium-ion batteries. These systems were reviewed by both the FAA and the Japanese aviation agency. On January 16, 2013, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive that grounded all 787s in the United States. The EASA, Japanese Transport Ministry, India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and Chile's Dirección General de Aeronautica Civil (DGAC) followed suit and grounded the Dreamliners in their jurisdictions. After Boeing completed tests on a revised battery design, the FAA approved the revised design on April 19, 2013, and lifted the grounding on April 26, 2013. The 787 returned to passenger service on April 27, 2013, with Ethiopian Airlines.



During the late 1990s, Boeing began studying replacement aircraft programs as sales for the 767 and Boeing 747-400 slowed. The company proposed two new aircraft, the 747X, which would have lengthened the 747-400 and improved efficiency, and the Sonic Cruiser, which would have achieved 15% higher speeds (approximately Mach 0.98) while burning fuel at the same rate as the existing 767.[6] Market interest for the 747X was tepid, but the Sonic Cruiser had brighter prospects. Several major airlines in the United States, including Continental Airlines, initially showed enthusiasm for the Sonic Cruiser concept, although they also expressed concerns about the operating cost.[7]

The global airline market had been disrupted by the September 11, 2001 attacks and increased petroleum prices, making airlines more interested in efficiency than speed. The worst-affected airlines, those in the United States, had been considered the most likely customers of the Sonic Cruiser, and thus Boeing officially cancelled the Sonic Cruiser on December 20, 2002. Changing course, the company announced an alternative product using Sonic Cruiser technology in a more conventional configuration, the 7E7, on January 29, 2003.[8][9] The emphasis on a smaller midsize twinjet rather than a large 747-size aircraft represented a shift from hub-and-spoke theory towards the point-to-point theory,[10] in response to analysis of focus groups.[11]

The Dreamliner logo
Dreamliner was announced in July 2003. This logo is painted on most 787s.

The replacement for the Sonic Cruiser project was dubbed the "7E7"[12] (with a development code name of "Y2"). Technology from the Sonic Cruiser and 7E7 was to be used as part of Boeing's project to replace its entire airliner product line, an endeavor called the Yellowstone Project (of which the 7E7 became the first stage).[13] Early concept images of the 7E7 included rakish cockpit windows, a dropped nose and a distinctive "shark-fin" tail.[14] The "E" was said to stand for various things, such as "efficiency" or "environmentally friendly"; however, in the end, Boeing said that it merely stood for "Eight".[8] In July 2003, a public naming competition was held for the 7E7, for which out of 500,000 votes cast online the winning title was Dreamliner.[15] Other names in the pool included eLiner, Global Cruiser and Stratoclimber.[16]

B787 in launch customer All Nippon Airways' blue and white livery. In the background are two assembly halls, with huge doors facing left. Vehicles are parked in front of the halls.
All Nippon Airways launched the 787 Dreamliner program with an order for 50 aircraft in 2004.

On April 26, 2004, Japanese airline All Nippon Airways became the launch customer for the Dreamliner, by announcing a firm order for 50 aircraft with deliveries to begin in late 2008.[17] All Nippon Airways' order was initially specified as 30 787-3, 290–330 seat, one-class domestic aircraft, and 20 787-8, long-haul, 210–250 seat, two-class aircraft for regional international routes such as Tokyo Narita–Beijing. The aircraft would allow All Nippon Airways to open new routes to cities not previously served, such as Denver, Moscow, and New Delhi.[18] The 787-3 and 787-8 were to be the initial variants, with the 787-9 entering service in 2010.[19]

Design phase[edit]

The 787 was designed to be the first production airliner with the fuselage assembled with one-piece composite barrel sections instead of the multiple aluminum sheets and some 50,000 fasteners used on existing aircraft.[20][21] Boeing selected two new engine types to power the 787, the General Electric GEnx and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000.[8] Boeing stated the 787 would be approximately 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the 767,[22] with approximately 40 percent of the efficiency gain from the engines,[23] plus gains from aerodynamic improvements,[24] increased use of lighter-weight composite materials, and advanced systems.[19] The 787-8 and −9 were intended to be certified to 330 minute ETOPS capability.[25]

During the design phase, the 787 underwent extensive wind tunnel testing at Boeing's Transonic Wind Tunnel, QinetiQ's five-meter wind tunnel at Farnborough, United Kingdom, and NASA Ames Research Center's wind tunnel, as well as at the French aerodynamics research agency, ONERA. The final styling of the aircraft was more conservative than earlier proposals, with the fin, nose, and cockpit windows changed to a more conventional form. By the end of 2004, customer-announced orders and commitments for the 787 reached 237 aircraft.[26] Boeing initially priced the 787-8 variant at US$120 million, a low figure that surprised the industry. In 2007, the list price was US$146–151.5 million for the 787-3, US$157–167 million for the 787-8 and US$189–200 million for the 787-9.[27] The 787 airframe underwent extensive structural testing during this time.[28][29]

Manufacturing and suppliers[edit]

After stiff competition, Boeing announced on December 16, 2003, that the 787 would be assembled in its factory in Everett, Washington.[8] Instead of building the complete aircraft from the ground up in the traditional manner, final assembly would employ 800 to 1,200 people to join completed subassemblies and to integrate systems.[30] Boeing assigned its global subcontractors to do more assembly themselves and deliver completed subassemblies to Boeing for final assembly. This approach was intended to result in a leaner and simpler assembly line and lower inventory,[31] with pre-installed systems reducing final assembly time by three-quarters to three days.[32][33]

Assembly of a "Section 41", the nose section of the Boeing 787

Subcontracted assemblies included wing manufacture (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan, central wing box)[34] horizontal stabilizers (Alenia Aeronautica, Italy; Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea);[35] fuselage sections (Global Aeronautica, Italy; Boeing, North Charleston, US; Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan; Spirit AeroSystems, Wichita, US; Korean Air, South Korea);[36][37][38] passenger doors (Latécoère, France); cargo doors, access doors, and crew escape door (Saab AB, Sweden); software development (HCL Enterprise India);[39] floor beams (TAL Manufacturing Solutions Limited, India);[40][41] wiring (Labinal, France);[42] wing-tips, flap support fairings, wheel well bulkhead, and longerons (Korean Air, South Korea);[43] landing gear (Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, UK/France);[44][45] and power distribution and management systems, air conditioning packs (Hamilton Sundstrand, Connecticut, US).[42][46] Boeing is considering bringing construction of the 787-9 tail in house; the tail of the 787-8 is currently made by Alenia.[47]

To speed up delivery of the 787's major components, Boeing modified four used 747-400s into 747 Dreamlifters to transport 787 wings, fuselage sections, and other smaller parts. Japanese industrial participation was very important to the project, with Japanese companies co-designing and building 35% of the aircraft. This was the first time outside firms were given a key role in the design of Boeing airliner wings. The Japanese government also provided support with an estimated US$2 billion in loans.[48] On April 26, 2006, Japanese manufacturer Toray Industries and Boeing announced a production agreement involving US$6 billion worth of carbon fiber, extending a 2004 contract and aimed at easing production concerns.[8] In May 2007 final assembly on the first 787 began at Boeing's Everett, Washington plant.[49]

The 787 project became less lucrative than expected for some subcontractors. Finmeccanica had a total loss of €750 million on the project by 2013.[50]

Production and delivery delays[edit]

While Boeing had been working to trim excess weight since assembly of the first airframe began, the company stated in December 2006 that the first six 787s were overweight, with the first aircraft expected to be 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) heavier than specified. In November 2007, Steven F. Udvar-Házy, CEO of International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) stated that the 787-9's operating empty weight was around 14,000 lb (6,400 kg) overweight.[51] The seventh and subsequent aircraft would be the first optimized 787-8s and were expected to meet all goals, with Boeing working on weight reductions.[52][53] As part of this process, Boeing redesigned some parts and made more use of lighter titanium.[54]

The Everett Factory Hall's huge door opens as the first 787 is rolled out. Surrounding the aircraft are guests and the public.
The first public appearance of the 787 on July 8, 2007

Boeing's early plans called for first flight by the end of August 2007 and premiered the first 787 at a rollout ceremony on July 8, 2007.[55] The aircraft's major systems had not been installed at that time and many parts were attached with temporary non-aerospace fasteners requiring replacement with flight fasteners later.[56] Although intended to shorten the production process, 787 subcontractors initially had difficulty completing the extra work because they could not procure the needed parts and perform the subassembly on schedule, leaving remaining assembly work for Boeing to complete as "traveled work".[57][58][59]

In September 2007, Boeing announced a three-month delay, blaming a shortage of fasteners as well as incomplete software.[60] On October 10, 2007, a second three-month delay to the first flight and a six-month delay to first deliveries was announced due to supply chain problems, a lack of documentation from overseas suppliers, and flight guidance software delays.[61][62] Less than a week later, Mike Bair, the 787 program manager was replaced.[63] On January 16, 2008, Boeing announced a third three-month delay to the first flight of the 787, citing insufficient progress on "traveled work".[64] On March 28, 2008, in an effort to gain more control over the supply chain, Boeing announced plans to buy Vought Aircraft Industries' interest in Global Aeronautica;[65] a later agreement was also made to buy Vought's factory in North Charleston.[66]

On April 9, 2008, Boeing officially announced a fourth delay, shifting the maiden flight to the fourth quarter of 2008, and delaying initial deliveries by around 15 months to the third quarter of 2009. The 787-9 variant was postponed to 2012 and the 787-3 variant was to follow with no firm delivery date.[67] On November 4, 2008, the company announced a fifth delay due to incorrect fastener installation and the Boeing machinists strike, stating that the first test flight would not occur in the fourth quarter of 2008.[68][69] After assessing the 787 program schedule with its suppliers,[70] Boeing confirmed on December 11, 2008, that the first flight would be delayed until the second quarter of 2009.[71] Airlines, including United Airlines and Air India, stated their intentions to seek compensation from Boeing for the delays.[72][73]

Pre-flight ground testing[edit]

As Boeing worked with its suppliers towards production, the design proceeded through a series of test goals. On August 23, 2007, a crash test involving a vertical drop of a partial composite fuselage section from about 15 ft (4.6 m) onto a 1 in (25 mm)-thick steel plate occurred in Mesa, Arizona;[74][75] the results matched predictions, allowing modeling of various crash scenarios using computational analysis instead of further physical tests.[76][77] While critics had expressed concerns that a composite fuselage could shatter and burn with toxic fumes during crash landings, test data indicated no greater toxicity than conventional metal airframes.[78][79] The crash test was the third in a series of demonstrations conducted to match FAA requirements, including additional certification criteria due to the wide-scale use of composite materials.[75] The 787 meets the FAA's requirement that passengers have at least as good a chance of surviving a crash landing as they would with current metal airliners.[80]

The first Boeing 787 underwent taxi tests at Paine Field in November and December 2009

On August 7, 2007, on-time certification of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine by European and US regulators was received.[81] The alternative GE GEnx-1B engine achieved certification on March 31, 2008.[82] On June 20, 2008, the first aircraft was powered up, for testing the electrical supply and distribution systems.[83] A non-flightworthy static test airframe was built; on September 27, 2008, the fuselage was successfully tested at 14.9 psi (102.7 kPa) differential, which is 150 percent of the maximum pressure expected in commercial service.[84] In December 2008, the 787's maintenance program was passed by the FAA.[85]

On May 3, 2009, the first test 787 was moved to the flight line following extensive factory-testing, including landing gear swings, systems integration verification, and a total run-through of the first flight.[86] On May 4, 2009, a press report indicated a 10–15% range reduction, about 6,900 nmi (12,800 km) instead of the originally promised 7,700 to 8,200 nmi (14,800–15,700 km), for early aircraft that were about 8% overweight. Substantial redesign work was expected to correct this, which would complicate increases in production rates;[87] Boeing stated the early 787-8s would have a range of almost 8,000 nmi (15,000 km).[88] As a result, some airlines reportedly delayed deliveries of 787s in order to take later planes that may be closer to the original estimates.[89] Boeing expected to have the weight issues addressed by the 21st production model.[90]

On June 15, 2009, during the Paris Air Show, Boeing said that the 787 would make its first flight within two weeks. However, on June 23, 2009, Boeing announced the postponement of the first flight due to structural reasons.[91][92][93] Boeing provided an updated 787 schedule on August 27, 2009, with the first flight planned to occur by the end of 2009 and deliveries to begin at the end of 2010.[94] The company expected to write off US$2.5 billion because it considered the first three Dreamliners built unsellable and suitable only for flight tests.[95] On October 28, 2009, Boeing announced the selection of Charleston, SC as the site for a second 787 production line, after soliciting bids from multiple states.[96] On December 12, 2009, the first 787 completed high speed taxi tests, the last major step before flight.[97][98]

Flight test program[edit]

On December 15, 2009, Boeing conducted the Dreamliner's maiden flight with the first 787-8, originating from Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Washington, at 10:27 am PST,[99] and landing at Boeing Field in King County, Washington, at 1:35 pm PST.[100][101] Originally scheduled for four hours, the test flight was shortened to three hours due to bad weather.[102] Boeing's schedule called for a 9-month flight test campaign (later revised to 8.5 months).[103]

The first 787 built taking off on its maiden flight

The 787 flight test program was composed of 6 aircraft, ZA001 through ZA006, four with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines and two with GE GEnx-1B64 engines. The second 787, ZA002 in All Nippon Airways livery, flew to Boeing Field on December 22, 2009, to join the flight test program;[104][105] the third 787, ZA004 joined the test fleet with its first flight on February 24, 2010, followed by ZA003 on March 14, 2010.[106] On March 24, 2010, testing for flutter and ground effects was completed, clearing the aircraft to fly its entire flight envelope.[107] On March 28, 2010, the 787 completed the ultimate wing load test, which requires that the wings of a fully assembled aircraft be loaded to 150% of design limit load and held for 3 seconds. The wings were flexed approximately 25 ft (7.6 m) upward during the test.[108] Unlike past aircraft, the wings were not tested to failure.[109][110] On April 7, Boeing announced that data showed the test had been a success.[111]

On April 23, 2010, Boeing delivered the newest 787, ZA003, to the McKinley Climatic Laboratory hangar at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, for extreme weather testing in temperatures ranging from 115 to −45 °F (46 to −43 °C), and prepare it for takeoff at both temperature extremes.[112] ZA005, the fifth 787 and the first with GEnx engines, began ground engine tests in May 2010,[113] and made its first flight on June 16, 2010.[114] In June 2010, gaps were discovered in the horizontal stabilizers of test aircraft, due to improperly installed shims; all aircraft produced were inspected and repaired.[115] That same month, a 787 experienced its first in-flight lightning strike; inspections found no damage to the aircraft.[116] As composites can have as little as 1/1,000th the electrical conductivity of aluminum, conductive material is added to ameliorate potential risks and to meet FAA requirements.[78][117][118] FAA management also planned to adjust requirements to help the 787 show compliance.[119]

The first 787 to visit Europe, ZA003 at the 2010 Farnborough Airshow

The 787 made its first appearance at an international air show at the Farnborough Airshow, United Kingdom, on July 18, 2010.[120]

On August 2, 2010, a Trent 1000 engine suffered a blowout at Rolls-Royce's test facility during ground testing.[121] The failure caused Boeing to reevaluate its timeline for installing Trent 1000 engines, and on August 27, 2010 the manufacturer confirmed that the first delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways would be delayed until early 2011.[122][123] That same month, Boeing faced compensation claims from airlines owing to ongoing delivery delays.[124] On September 9, 2010, it was reported that a further two 787s might join the test fleet, making a total of eight flight test aircraft.[125] On September 10, 2010, a partial engine surge or runaway occurred in a Trent engine on ZA001 at Roswell.[126] On October 4, 2010, the sixth 787, ZA006 joined the test program with its first flight.[127]

Front/side view of white 787 on static display. Stairway is positioned ahead of the right engine for access into cabin.
The third 787 built, on static display in 2010

On November 5, 2010, it was reported that some early 787 deliveries may be delayed, in one case some three months, to allow for rework to address problems found during flight testing.[128][129] On November 9, 2010, Boeing 787, ZA002 made an emergency landing after smoke and flames were detected in the main cabin during a test flight over Texas. A Boeing spokesperson said the airliner landed safely and the crew was evacuated after landing at the Laredo International Airport, Texas.[130][131] The electrical fire caused some systems to fail before landing.[132] Following this incident, Boeing suspended flight testing on November 10, 2010, ground testing continued.[133][134]

On November 22, 2010, Boeing announced that the in-flight fire can be primarily attributed to foreign object debris (FOD) that was present in the electrical bay.[135] After electrical system and software changes, the 787 resumed company flight testing on December 23, 2010.[136][137] In January 2011, Boeing announced that the first 787 delivery was rescheduled to the third quarter of 2011 due to software and electrical updates following the in-flight fire.[138][139] On February 24, 2011, Boeing announced that the 787 had completed 80% of the test conditions for Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine and 60% of the conditions for the General Electric GEnx-1B engine.[140] On July 4, 2011, All Nippon Airways began a week of airline operations testing using a 787 in Japan.[141]

The 787 test aircraft have flown 4,828 hours in 1,707 flights combined by August 15, 2011.[106] During testing the 787 has visited 14 countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America to test in extreme climates and conditions, and to perform route testing.[142] Boeing completed certification testing for Rolls-Royce powered 787-8s on August 13, 2011.[143] The FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency certified the 787 on August 26, 2011, at a ceremony in Everett, Washington.[144][145]

The stretched version 787-9 has flown 141 hours as of November 8, 2013.[146]

Service entry and early operations[edit]

The 787-8 received FAA and EASA certification on August 21, 2011

Certification of the 787 cleared the way for deliveries.[145] Boeing began preparations to increase 787 production rates from two to ten aircraft per month over the next two years.[145] Production is taking place at assembly lines in Everett and Charleston. The Charleston site's contributions have been clouded by legal difficulties; on April 20, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board alleged that Boeing's second production line in South Carolina violated two sections of the National Labor Relations Act.[96] This labor dispute ended in December 2011 when the National Labor Relations Board dropped its lawsuit after the Machinists union withdrew its complaint as part of a new contract with Boeing.[147] The first 787 assembled at the South Carolina facility was rolled out on April 27, 2012.[148]

The first 787 was officially delivered to All Nippon Airways on September 25, 2011, at the Boeing factory. A ceremony to mark the occasion was also held the next day.[149][150] On September 27, the Dreamliner flew to Haneda Airport.[151][152] The airline took delivery of the second 787 on October 13, 2011.[153] On October 26, 2011, the 787 flew its first commercial flight from Narita to Hong Kong on All Nippon Airways.[154] The airliner was planned to enter service some three years prior. Tickets for the flight were sold in an online auction, the highest bidder had paid $34,000 for a seat.[155] The 787 flew its first commercial long-haul flight on January 21, 2012 from Haneda to Frankfurt on All Nippon Airways.[156]

On December 6, 2011, test aircraft ZA006 (sixth 787 built), powered by General Electric GEnx engines, flew 10,710 nautical miles (19,830 km) non-stop from Boeing Field eastward to Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh, setting a new world distance record for aircraft in the 787's weight class, which is between 440,000 and 550,000 pounds (200,000 and 250,000 kg). This flight surpassed the previous record of 9,127 nautical miles (16,903 km), set in 2002 by an Airbus A330. The Dreamliner then continued eastbound from Dhaka to return to Boeing Field, setting a world-circling speed record of 42 hours, 27 minutes.[157] In April 2012, an All Nippon Airways 787 made a delivery flight from Boeing Field to Haneda Airport partially using biofuel from cooking oil.[158] In 2011, Boeing conducted a 787 world tour to promote the airliner, visiting various cities in China, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, United States, and others.[159][160][161]

According to data from launch customer ANA, the 787 surpassed the promised 20% fuel burn reduction compared to that of the Boeing 767. On the Tokyo-Frankfurt route the fuel saving was 21%.[162] ANA surveyed 800 passengers who flew the 787 from Tokyo to Frankfurt: expectations were surpassed for 90% of passengers; features that met or exceeded expectations included air quality and cabin pressure (90% of passengers), cabin ambiance (92% of passengers), higher cabin humidity levels (80% of passengers), headroom (40% of passengers) and the larger than usual windows (90% of passengers). 25% said they would go out of their way to again fly on the 787.[163] Other 787 operators have reported similar fuel savings, ranging from 20-22% compared with the Boeing 767-300ER.[164] An analysis performed by consulting firm AirInsight concluded that United Airlines' 787s achieved an operating cost per seat that was 6% lower than the Airbus A330.[165]

Qatar Airways placed its first 787 on display at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2012; the aircraft was to be officially delivered the following month.[166]

On September 15, 2012, the NTSB requested the grounding of certain 787s due to GE engine failures; GE believed the production problem had been fixed by that time.[167]

The second and third United Airlines 787-8s at Los Angeles International Airport. United Airlines is the first North American airline to operate 787s in regular service, and is the North American launch customer for all three variants of the aircraft.

The cost of producing a 787 exceeded the purchase price at the end of 2013. Boeing's accounting method book sales immediately and distributes estimated production costs over ten years for the 1,300 aircraft it expects to deliver during that time. JPMorgan Chase analyst Joseph Nadol estimated the program's cash loss to be $45 million per airplane, decreasing as the program moves forward. The actual cash flow reflects Boeing collecting most of the purchase price upon delivery; Boeing expects deferred costs to total $25 billion before the company begins to break even on production; the comparable number for the Boeing 777, adjusted for inflation, is $3.7 billion. Boeing plans to improve financial return by reorganizing the production line, renegotiating contracts with suppliers and labor unions, and increasing the 787 production rate, stepwise, to 12 airplanes per month by the end of 2016 and 14 airplanes per month by the end of the decade.[165]

In March 2014, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries informed Boeing of a new problem that was caused by a change in manufacturing processes. Employees did not fill gaps with shims to connect wing rib aluminum shear ties to the carbon composite wing panels; the tightened fasteners, without shims, cause excessive stress that creates hairline cracks in the wings, which could enlarge and cause further damage. Forty-two aircraft awaiting delivery were affected, and each one will require 1–2 weeks to inspect and repair. However, Boeing does not expect this problem to affect the overall delivery schedule, even if some airplanes are delivered late.[168]


A near-planform view of a Boeing 787-8 (ZA005) taking off from Boeing Field.

The 787's design features light-weight construction. The aircraft is 80% composite by volume.[169] Although design changes increased the titanium share, Boeing actually lists its materials by weight as 50% composite, 20% aluminum, 15% titanium, 10% steel, and 5% other.[170][171][172] Aluminum is used for the wing and tail leading edges; titanium is used mainly on engines and fasteners, with steel used in various areas.[171]

External features include raked wingtips and engine nacelles with noise-reducing serrated edges (chevrons).[173] The longest-range 787 variant can fly 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,700 km), enough to cover the Los Angeles to Bangkok or New York City to Hong Kong routes. Cruising airspeed is Mach 0.85[174] (561 mph (903 km/h) at typical cruise altitudes).

Flight systems[edit]

Among 787 flight systems, a key change from traditional airliners is the electrical architecture. The architecture is bleedless and replaces bleed air and hydraulic power sources with electrically powered compressors and pumps, while completely eliminating pneumatics and hydraulics from some subsystems (e.g., engine starters or brakes).[175] Boeing says this system extracts 35% less power from the engines, allowing increased thrust and improved fuel economy.[176] The total available on-board electrical power is 1.45 megawatts, which is five times the power available on conventional pneumatic airliners;[177] the most notable electrically powered systems include: engine start, pressurization, horizontal stabilizer trim, and wheel brakes.[178] Wing ice protection is another new system; it uses electro-thermal heater mats on the wing slats instead of traditional hot bleed air.[179][180] An active gust alleviation system, similar to the system used on the B-2 bomber, improves ride quality during turbulence.[181][182]

The Boeing 787 flight deck

The 787 has a "fly by wire" control system similar in architecture to that of the Boeing 777.[183] The flight deck features LCD multi-function displays, which use an industry standard GUI widget toolkit (Cockpit Display System Interfaces to User Systems / ARINC 661).[184] The 787 flight deck includes two head-up displays (HUDs) as a standard feature.[185] Like other Boeing airliners, the 787 uses a yoke instead of a side-stick. Under consideration is future integration of forward looking infrared into the HUD for thermal sensing, allowing pilots to "see" through clouds.[8] Lockheed Martin's Orion spacecraft will use a glass cockpit derived from Honeywell International's 787 flight deck systems.[186]

On the 787, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins provided flight control, guidance, and other avionics systems, including standard dual head up guidance systems,[8] Thales supplies the integrated standby flight display and power management,[8] while Meggitt/Securaplane provides the APU starting system, electrical power conversion system, and battery control system[187][188] with lithium cobalt oxide (LiCo) batteries by GS Yuasa.[189][190][191] One of the two batteries weighs 28.5 kg and is rated 29.6 V, 76 Ah, giving 2.2 kWh.[192] Battery charging is controlled by four independent systems to prevent overcharging following early lab testing.[193] The battery systems are the focus of regulatory investigation due to multiple lithium battery fires, which led to grounding of the 787 fleet starting in January 2013.[194]

A version of Ethernet (Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) / ARINC 664) transmits data between the flight deck and aircraft systems.[195] The control, navigation, and communication systems are networked with the passenger cabin's in-flight internet systems.[196] In January 2008, FAA concerns were reported regarding possible passenger access to the 787's computer networks; Boeing has stated various protective hardware and software solutions are employed, including air gaps to physically separate the networks, and firewalls for software separation.[196][197] These measures prevent data transfer from the passenger internet system to the maintenance or navigation systems.[196]

Composite materials[edit]

Disassembled composite fuselage section of the Boeing 787

Each 787 contains approximately 35 short tons (32,000 kg) of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), made with 23 tons of carbon fiber.[198] Carbon fiber composites have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than conventional aircraft materials, and help make the 787 a lighter aircraft.[171] Composites are used on fuselage, wings, tail, doors, and interior. Boeing had built and tested the first commercial aircraft composite section while studying the proposed Sonic Cruiser nearly five years before;[199][200] the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey military transport uses 50% composites,[201] and the company's C-17 transport has over 16,000 lb (7,300 kg) of structural composites.[202]

Carbon fiber, unlike metal, does not visibly show cracks and fatigue, prompting concerns about the safety risks of widespread use of the material;[78][203][204] the rival Airbus A350 was later announced as using composite panels on a frame, a more conventional approach, which its contractors regarded as less risky.[79] Although later fired, in 2006, Boeing engineer Vince Weldon complained to management, then later in public: the composite fuselage was unsafe compared to conventional aluminum designs, and in a crash, was more likely to "shatter too easily and burn with toxic fumes".[205]

In addition, a potential issue is the porous nature of composite materials: collected moisture expanding with altitude can cause delamination.[206] Boeing responded that composites have been used on wings and other passenger aircraft parts for many years without incident, and special defect detection procedures will be instituted for the 787 to detect any potential hidden damage.[207]

In 2006, Boeing launched the 787 GoldCare program.[208] This is an optional, comprehensive life-cycle management service, whereby aircraft in the program are routinely monitored and repaired, as needed. Although the first program of its kind from Boeing, post-sale protection programs are not new; such programs are usually offered by third party service centers. Boeing is also designing and testing composite hardware so inspections are mainly visual. This reduces the need for ultrasonic and other non-visual inspection methods, saving time and money.[209]


The toothed exhaust duct covers on the first 787, shown here with thrust-reversers deployed

The 787 is powered by two engines; these engines use all-electrical bleedless systems, eliminating the superheated air conduits normally used for aircraft power, de-icing, and other functions.[8] As part of its "Quiet Technology Demonstrator 2" project, Boeing adopted several engine noise-reducing technologies for the 787. These include an air inlet containing sound-absorbing materials and exhaust duct cover with a chevron-toothed pattern on the rim for a quieter mixing of exhaust and outside air.[173] Boeing expects these developments to make the 787 significantly quieter both inside and out.[210] The noise-reducing measures prevent sounds above 85 decibels from leaving airport boundaries.[171]

The two different engine models compatible with the 787 use a standard electrical interface to allow an aircraft to be fitted with either Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or General Electric GEnx engines. This aims to save time and cost when changing engine types; while previous aircraft can have engines changed to those of a different manufacturer, the high cost and time required makes it rare.[211][212] In 2006, Boeing addressed reports of an extended change period by stating that the 787 engine swap was intended to take 24 hours;[212] engine interchangeability allows airlines to more easily change from one manufacturer's engine to the other.[8]


ANA's first 787 Dreamliner with 2–4–2 economy class seating

The 787-8 is designed to typically seat 234 passengers in a three-class setup, 240 in two-class domestic configuration, and 296 passengers in a high-density economy arrangement. Seat rows can be arranged in four to seven abreast in first or business (e.g., 1–2–1, 2–2–2, 2-3-2). Eight or nine abreast are options in economy (e.g., 3–2–3, 2–4–2, 3–3–3). Typical seat room ranges from 46 to 61 in (120 to 150 cm) pitch in first, 36 to 39 in (91 to 99 cm) in business, and 32 to 34 in (81 to 86 cm) in economy.[213][214]

Cabin interior width is approximately 18 feet (550 cm) at armrest level,[213] which is 1 inch (2.5 cm) more than originally planned.[215] The Dreamliner's cabin width is 15 inches (38 cm) more than that of the Airbus A330 and A340,[216] 5 inches (13 cm) less than the A350,[217] and 16 in (41 cm) less than the 777.[218] Airlines use economy seat widths from a low of 16.33 in (41.5 cm) in charter configuration up to 20.66 in (52.5 cm) in premium economy layout.[219] The 787's economy seats can be up to 17.5 in (44.4 cm) wide for nine-abreast seating[220] and 19 inches (48 cm) wide for eight-abreast seating arrangements. Most airlines are selecting the nine-abreast (3–3–3) configuration.[221] The 787 interior was designed to better accommodate persons with mobility, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. For example, a 56 by 57 in (140 by 140 cm) convertible lavatory includes a movable center wall that allows two separate lavatories to become one large, wheelchair-accessible facility.[222]

787 cabin. It shows the 787's spacious cabin. Above the blue seats are overhead bins and a rainbow light effect.
The 787's larger windows are designed to improve passenger views.

The 787's cabin windows are larger in area than any other civil air transport in-service or in development,[223] with dimensions of 10.7 by 18.4 in (27 by 47 cm),[223] and a higher eye level so passengers can maintain a view of the horizon.[224] The composite fuselage permits larger windows without the need for structural reinforcement.[225] Instead of plastic window shades, the windows use electrochromism-based smart glass (supplied by PPG Industries)[226] allowing flight attendants[227] and passengers to adjust five levels of sunlight and visibility to their liking,[228] reducing cabin glare while maintaining a view to the outside world,[224][229] but the most opaque setting still has some transparency.[227][230][231] The lavatory, however, has a traditional sunshade.[228] The 787's cabin features light-emitting diodes (LEDs)[232] as standard equipment, allowing the aircraft to be entirely 'bulbless'. LED lights have previously been an option on the Boeing 777 and Airbus aircraft.[233][234] The system has three colors LEDs plus a white LED.[232]

Jetstar 787 with 3-3-3 economy class seating

The internal cabin pressure of the 787 is increased to the equivalent of 6,000 feet (1,800 m) altitude instead of the 8,000 feet (2,400 m) on older conventional aircraft.[235] According to Boeing, in a joint study with Oklahoma State University, this will significantly improve passenger comfort.[181][236] Cabin air pressurization is provided by electrically driven compressors, rather than traditional engine-bleed air, thereby eliminating the need to cool heated air before it enters the cabin.[237][238] The cabin's humidity is programmable based on the number of passengers carried, and allows 15% humidity settings instead of the 4% found in previous aircraft.[235] The composite fuselage avoids metal fatigue issues associated with higher cabin pressure, and eliminates the risk of corrosion from higher humidity levels.[235] The cabin air-conditioning system improves air quality by removing ozone from outside air, and besides standard HEPA filters which remove airborne particles, uses a gaseous filtration system to remove odors, irritants, and gaseous contaminants as well as particulates like viruses, bacteria and allergens.[171][229] The bleedless engine cabin air system also allows the 787 air to avoid oil fumes and toxins which are dangerous to the health of passengers and crew and are found in all other aircraft bleed air systems .[239]


Diagrams of outlines of three different aircraft imposed over one another.
Size comparison of the Boeing 787-8 (black outline) with the Boeing 777-300 (gray), 767-300 (teal), and 737-800 (blue).

Boeing has offered four passenger variants of the 787 from the program launch in 2004; three are targeted for production. The 787-8 is the first variant produced, and is to be followed by the 787-9 in 2014, and the 787-10 at a later date. A short-range model, the 787-3, was originally offered for sale but development was cancelled due to production issues with the 787-8. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aircraft type designator system classifies the 787-8 and 787-9 under the codes "B788" and "B789", respectively.[240]


An artist's impression of the 787-3, which would have featured a shorter wing with winglets.

The 787-3 was targeted for high-density flights; it was designed as a 290-seat (two-class) short-range version with a fully loaded range of 2,500 to 3,050 nautical miles (4,650 to 5,650 km). Using the same basic fuselage as the 787-8, the wing was derived from the 787-8, with blended winglets replacing raked wingtips. The change decreased the wingspan by roughly 25 feet (7.6 m), allowing the -3 to fit more domestic gates, and particularly within Japan. This model would have been limited in range by a reduced MTOW of 364,000 lb (165,000 kg).[241][N 1]

The variant was designed to operate on Boeing 757-300/767-200-sized regional routes from airports with restricted gate spacing.[242] Boeing projected the future of aviation as between very large, but close cities, of five million or more people; city populations may stabilize around the capacity level of the 787-3.[243][244]

Two Japanese airlines ordered 45 Boeing 787-3s; however, production problems on the base 787-8 model led Boeing, in April 2008, to postpone the introduction of the -3 until after the 787-9's introduction, but without a firm delivery date.[67] By January 2010, all 787-3 orders had been converted to the 787-8.[245] The 787-3 experienced a lack of interest by potential customers because it was designed specifically for the Japanese market.[246][247] Boeing canceled the 787-3 in December 2010 because it was no longer financially viable.[248]


Thomson Airways 787-8 at Hannover Airport in June 2013

The 787-8 is the base model of the 787 family, with a length of 186 feet (57 m) and a wingspan of 197 feet (60 m) and a range of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,170 to 15,190 km), depending on seating configuration. It is the only 787 variant, and the third Boeing widebody (after the 747SP and the 777-200LR) with a wingspan wider than the length of the fuselage. The 787-8 seats 210 passengers in a three-class configuration.[249] The variant was the first of the 787 line to enter service, entering service in 2011. Boeing is targeting the 787-8 to replace the 767-200ER and 767-300ER, as well as expand into new non-stop markets where larger planes would not be economically viable. Two-thirds of 787 orders are for the 787-8.[1]


Boeing 787-9 ZB001

The 787-9 is the first 787 variant with a "stretched" or lengthened fuselage that is 206 feet (63 m) long. It is to seat 280 passengers in a typical three-class arrangement with a range of 8,300 nautical miles (9,600 mi; 15,400 km).[250] This variant differs from the 787-8 in several ways, including structural strengthening, a lengthened fuselage, a higher fuel capacity, a higher maximum take-off weight (MTOW), but with the same wingspan as the 787-8.[251] When launched, the 787-9 had the same fuel capacity as the 787-8. The design differences meant higher weight and resulted in a slightly shorter range than the 787-8. After further consultation with airlines, design changes were incorporated to add a forward tank to increase its fuel capacity, so it has a longer range and a higher maximum takeoff weight than the 787-8.[250]

The entry into service (EIS) date was originally planned for 2010,[252] but by October 2011 deliveries were scheduled to begin in 2014.[253] Boeing is targeting the 787-9 to compete with both passenger variants of the Airbus A330 and to replace its own 767-400ER. Like the 787-8, it will also open up new non-stop routes. The firm configuration was finalized on July 1, 2010.[254]

The prototype 787-9 made its maiden flight from Paine Field on September 17, 2013.[255] Launch customer Air New Zealand took delivery of the first 787-9, in a distinctive black livery, on July 8, 2014 in a ceremony at Paine Field.[256] The 787-9's first scheduled commercial flight is to be from Auckland Airport to Perth on October 15, 2014,[257][258] although Air New Zealand will use the 787-9 as an unscheduled substitute on flights between Auckland and Sydney beforehand.[259] Another 787-9 is to be on static display at the 2014 Farnborough Air Show prior to delivery to Air New Zealand.[260]

Other operators to be among the first to take deliveries of 787-9s will be All Nippon Airways and United Airlines. United plans to use its first 787-9s to operate the longest nonstop scheduled 787 service between Los Angeles and Melbourne, starting in October 2014.[261]

The 787-9 features active boundary-layer control at the rear, reducing drag.[262]


Artist's impression of the 787-10, the largest Dreamliner variant, which was formally launched in 2013

The 787-10 is to be 224 ft 1 in (68.30 m) long and have a range up to 7,000 nmi (12,964 km).[263] Its range covers more than 90% of the world's twin-aisle passenger routes including Europe to US West Coast and trans-Pacific flights.[264] The variant is to seat up to 330-passengers in a typical 3-class configuration.[263][265] The 787-10 was envisioned as replacing current 777-200, Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft.[266] Boeing was having discussions with potential customers about the 787-10 in 2006 and 2007.[267][268] In March 2006, Mike Bair, the head of the 787 program at the time, stated that "It's not a matter of if, but when we are going to do it... The 787-10 will be a stretched version of the 787-9 and sacrifice some range to add extra seat and cargo capacity."[269]

On May 30, 2013, Singapore Airlines stated it would order 30 of the 787-10, provided Boeing launches the program. The airline is to be the -10 launch customer and is to receive the aircraft in 2018–2019.[270][271] On June 18, 2013, Boeing officially launched the 787-10 at the Paris Air Show, with orders or commitments for 102 aircraft from ALC (30), Singapore Airlines (30), United Airlines (20), International Airlines Group/British Airways (12), and GECAS (10).[263][272] The -10 is to compete against Airbus A350, and offer better economics than the A350 on shorter routes, according to Boeing.[273]

Further proposals[edit]

Although with no set date, Boeing expects to build, possibly in 10 to 15 years, a 787 freighter version.[274] Boeing is reportedly also considering a 787 variant as a candidate to replace the 747-based VC-25 as Air Force One.[275]


Boeing 787 Dreamliner across the world as of June 2014. The countries in bold host operators that have at least one Dreamliner in service.

Orders and deliveries[edit]

A 787 of LOT Polish Airlines, the first European operator[298]
Air Canada's first 787-8 touching down at Toronto Pearson International Airport during a post-delivery test flight.

In September 2011, the 787 was first officially delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways.[299] As of December 2013, the top three customers for the 787 are: ILFC (International Lease Finance Corporation), with orders totaling 74 Boeing 787s (33 -8s and 41 -9s); Etihad Airways with 71 orders (41 -9s and 30 -10s) and All Nippon Airways with 66 orders (36 -8s and 30 -9s).[1]

Boeing 787 orders and deliveries by type
Total orders Total deliveries
787-8 483 168
787-9 435 2
787-10 139
Total 1,057 170
Boeing 787 orders and deliveries by year
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Total
Orders 56 235 157 369 93 -59 -4 13 -12 182 27 1,057
Deliveries 3 46 65 56 170

Boeing 787 orders and deliveries (cumulative, by year):

Orders and deliveries up to July 31, 2014[300][1][301][302][303] Orders are shaded in blue; deliveries are in green.


Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliner at Boston Logan Airport with lithium-ion battery fire and resulting heavy smoke coming out a cargo hold
Three 787s of All Nippon Airways sit grounded at Tokyo Haneda International Airport in late January 2013.

The Boeing 787 has been involved in multiple aviation incidents and operational problems. In December 2012, Boeing CEO James McNerney stated that the problems were no greater than those experienced with the introduction of other models such as the Boeing 777.[304][305]

Operational problems[edit]

A Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 experienced a fuel leak on January 8, 2013, and its flight from Boston was canceled.[306] On January 9, United Airlines reported a problem in one of its six 787s with the wiring near the main batteries. After these incidents, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board subsequently opened a safety probe.[307] Later, on January 11, 2013, another aircraft was found to have a fuel leak.[308]

Also on January 11, 2013, the FAA announced a comprehensive review of the 787's critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly; the Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood stated the administration was "looking for the root causes" behind the recent issues. The head of the FAA, Michael Huerta, said that so far nothing found "suggests [the 787] is not safe".[309]

On January 13, 2013, a JAL 787 at Narita International Airport outside Tokyo, was found to also have a fuel leak during an inspection, the third time a fuel leak had been reported within a week. The aircraft reportedly was the same one that had a fuel leak in Boston on January 8.[310] This leak was caused by a different valve; the causes of the leaks are unknown.[311] Japan's transport ministry has also launched an investigation.[312]

On July 12, 2013, a fire started on an empty Ethiopian Airlines 787 parked at Heathrow Airport before it was put out by the airport fire and rescue service. No injuries were reported.[313][314] The fire caused extensive heat damage to the aircraft.[315] The FAA and NTSB sent representatives to assist in the investigation.[316] The initial investigation found no direct link with the aircraft's main batteries.[317] Further investigations indicated that the fire was due to lithium-manganese dioxide batteries powering an emergency locator transmitter (ELT).[318][319] The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) issued a special bulletin on July 18, 2013 requesting the US FAA ensure that the locator is removed or disconnected in Boeing 787s, and to review the safety of lithium battery-powered ELT systems in other aircraft types.[320]

On July 26, 2013, ANA said it had found wiring damage on two 787 locator beacons. United Airlines also reported that it had found a pinched wire in one 787 locator beacon.[321] On August 14, 2013, the media reported a fire extinguisher fault affecting three ANA airplanes,[322] which was caused by a supplier assembly error.[323]

On September 28, 2013, Norwegian Long Haul decided to take one of its two 787s in its fleet at the time out of service after the two aircraft broke down on more than six occasions in September.[324] The company will lease an Airbus A340 for its long-haul operations while the 787 is returned to Boeing for repair.[325] On December 20–22, 2013, Norwegian Long Haul experienced technical problems keeping two of its three 787 aircraft grounded at Fort Lauderdale airport and delayed six flights.[326][327]

On November 22, 2013, Boeing issued an advisory to airlines using General Electric GEnx engines on 787 and 747-8 aircraft to avoid flying near high-level thunderstorms due to an increased risk of icing on the engines. The problem was caused by a buildup of ice crystals just behind the main fan, causing a brief loss of thrust on six occasions.[328]

On January 21, 2014, a Norwegian Air Shuttle 787 experienced a fuel leak which caused a 19-hour delay to a flight from Bangkok to Oslo.[329] Footage of the leak taken by passengers show fuel gushing out of the left wing of the aircraft.[330] The leak became known to pilots only after it was pointed out by concerned passengers.[331] It was found later that a faulty valve was responsible.[332] This fuel leak is one of numerous problems experienced by Norwegian Air Shuttle's 787 fleet.[329] Mike Fleming, Boeing's vice president for 787 support and services, subsequently met with executives of Norwegian Air Shuttle and expressed Boeing's commitment to improving the 787's dispatch reliability, "we’re not satisfied with where the airplane is today, flying at a fleet average of 98 percent... The 777 today flies at 99.4 percent ... and that's the benchmark that the 787 needs to attain”.[333][334] Dispatch reliability is an industry standard measure of the rate of departure from the gate with no more than 15 minutes delay due to technical issues.[335][336]

Battery problems[edit]

The Aft Electronics Bay that held the JAL 787 battery that caught fire
Japan Airlines 787 battery comparison; Left: typical original battery. Right: damaged battery.

On January 16, 2013, All Nippon Airways Flight NH-692, en route from Yamaguchi Ube Airport to Tokyo Haneda, had a battery problem warning followed by a burning smell while climbing from Ube about 35 nautical miles west of Takamatsu, Japan. The aircraft diverted to Takamatsu and was evacuated via the slides; three passengers received minor injuries during the evacuation. Inspection revealed a battery fire. A similar incident in a parked Japan Airlines 787 at Boston's Logan International Airport within the same week led the Federal Aviation Administration to ground all Boeing 787s in service at the time.[337]

On January 16, 2013, both major Japanese airlines ANA and JAL announced that they were voluntarily grounding or suspending flights for their fleets of 787s after multiple incidents involving different 787s, including emergency landings. These two carriers operate 24 of the 50 Dreamliners delivered to date.[338][339] The grounding is reported to have cost ANA some 9 billion yen (US$93 million) in lost sales.[340][341]

On January 16, 2013, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive ordering all American-based airlines to ground their Boeing 787s until yet-to-be-determined modifications were made to the electrical system to reduce the risk of the battery overheating or catching fire.[342] This was the first time that the FAA has grounded an airliner type since 1979.[343] Industry experts disagreed on consequences of the grounding: Airbus was confident that Boeing would resolve the issue[344] and that no airlines will switch plane type,[345] while other experts saw the problem as "costly"[346] and "could take upwards of a year".[347]

The FAA also announced plans to conduct an extensive review of the 787's critical systems. The focus of the review will be on the safety of the lithium-ion batteries[343] made of lithium cobalt oxide (LiCo). The 787 battery contract was signed in 2005,[191] when LiCo batteries were the only type of lithium aerospace battery available, but since then newer and safer[348] types (such as LiFePO), which provide less reaction energy during thermal runaway, have become available.[189][349] FAA approved a 787 battery in 2007 with nine "special conditions".[350][351] A battery approved by FAA (through Mobile Power Solutions) was made by Rose Electronics using Kokam cells;[352] the batteries installed in the 787 are made by Yuasa.[187]

On January 20, the NTSB declared that overvoltage was not the cause of the Boston incident, as voltage did not exceed the battery limit of 32 V,[353] and the charging unit passed tests. The battery had signs of short circuiting and thermal runaway.[354] Despite this, the NTSB announced on January 24 that it had not yet pinpointed the cause of the Boston fire; the FAA will not allow Dreamliners based in the U.S. to fly again until the problem is found and corrected. In a press briefing that day, NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman said that the NTSB had found evidence of failure of multiple safety systems designed to prevent these battery problems, and stated that fire must never happen on an airplane.[355]

The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) has said on January 23 that the battery in ANA jets in Japan reached a maximum voltage of 31 V (below the 32 V limit like the Boston JAL 787), but had a sudden unexplained voltage drop[356] to near zero.[357] All cells had signs of thermal damage before thermal runaway.[358] ANA and JAL had replaced several 787 batteries before the mishaps.[357] As of January 29, 2013, JTSB approved the Yuasa factory quality control[359][360] while the NTSB continues to look for defects in the Boston battery.[361] The two major battery thermal runaway events in 100,000 flight hours was much higher than the rate of one in 10 million flight hours that Boeing predicted.[337]

The only American airline that operated the Dreamliner at the time was United Airlines, which had six.[362] Chile's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) grounded LAN Airlines' three 787s.[363] The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) directed Air India to ground its six Dreamliners. The Japanese Transport Ministry made the ANA and JAL groundings official and indefinite following the FAA announcement.[364] The European Aviation Safety Agency has also followed the FAA's advice and grounded the only two European 787s operated by LOT Polish Airlines.[365] Qatar Airways has announced that they are grounding their five Dreamliners.[366] Ethiopian Airlines was the final operator to announce temporary groundings of its four Dreamliners.[367] By January 17, 2013, all 50 of the aircraft delivered to date had been grounded.[367][368]

On January 18, Boeing announced that it was halting 787 deliveries until the battery problem is resolved.[369] On February 7, 2013, the FAA gave approval for Boeing to conduct 787 test flights to gather additional data.[370][371] In February 2013, FAA oversight into the 2007 safety approval and certification of the 787 have come under scrutiny.[372]

On March 7, 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board released an interim factual report about the 787 battery fire at Boston's Logan Airport on January 7, 2013. The investigation[373] stated that "heavy smoke and fire coming from the front of the APU battery case". Firefighters "tried fire extinguishing, but smoke and flame (flame size about 3 inches) did not stop".[374][375]

Boeing completed its final tests on a revised battery design on April 5, 2013. Qatar Airways said it expected to have its Dreamliners back in revenue service by the end of April.[376] The FAA approved Boeing's revised battery design with three additional, overlapping protection methods on April 19, 2013. The FAA published a directive on April 25 to provide instructions for retrofitting battery hardware before the 787s can return to flight.[377][378] The repairs are expected to be completed in weeks.[379]

Following the FAA approval in the United States,[380] Japan gave permission for passenger airlines to resume Boeing 787 flights in the country effective April 26, 2013.[381] On April 27, 2013, Ethiopian Airlines took a 787 on the model's first commercial flight after battery system modifications.[378][380]

On January 14, 2014, a battery in a JAL 787 emitted smoke from the battery's protection exhaust while the aircraft was undergoing pre-flight maintenance.[382][383] The battery partially melted in the incident;[384] one of its eight lithium-ion cells had its relief port vent and fluid sprayed inside the battery's container.[385] It was later reported that the battery may have reached a temperature as high as 1,220 °F (660 °C), and that Boeing did not understand the root cause of the failure.[386]


Schematic of the Boeing 787-8: side, top, front, cross-section views
External images
Boeing 787 cutaway
Boeing 787-8 cutaway from Flight International
Model 787-8 787-9 787-10
Cockpit crew Two
Seating, typical 242 (3-class)
310 (2-class)
381 (maximum)
280 (3-class)
360 (2-class)
440 (maximum)
323 (3-class)
Length 186 ft (56.7 m) 206 ft (62.8 m) 224 ft (68.3 m)
Wingspan 197 ft 3 in (60.1 m)
Wing area 3,501 sq ft (325 m2)
Wing sweepback 32.2 degrees
Height 55 ft 6 in (16.9 m)
Fuselage dimensions Width: 18 ft 11 in (5.77 m) / Height: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
Maximum cabin width 18 ft (5.49 m)
Cargo capacity 4,826 cu ft (137 m3)
28× LD3
or 9× (88×125) pallets
or 8× (96×125) pallets + 2× LD3
6,086 cu ft (172 m3)
36× LD3
or 11× (88×125) pallets
or 11× (96×125) pallets
6,187 cu ft (175 m3)
40× LD3
or 13× (88×125) pallets
or 13× (96×125) pallets
Maximum takeoff weight 502,500 lb (228,000 kg) 557,000 lb (253,000 kg)
Maximum landing weight 380,000 lb (172,000 kg) 425,000 lb (193,000 kg) 445,000 lb (202,000 kg)
Maximum zero-fuel weight 355,000 lb (161,000 kg) 400,000 lb (181,000 kg) 425,000 lb (193,000 kg)
Operating empty weight 259,500 lb (118,000 kg) N/A N/A
Cruising speed Mach 0.85 (567 mph, 490 knots, 913 km/h at 35,000 ft/10,700 m)[387]
Maximum speed Mach 0.90 (593 mph, 515 knots, 954 km/h at 35,000 ft/10,700 m)
Range, fully loaded 7,850 nmi (14,500 km; 9,030 mi) 8,300 nmi (15,400 km; 9,550 mi) 7,020 nmi (13,000 km; 8,080 mi)
Takeoff distance at MTOW
(sea level, ISA)
10,300 ft (3,100 m)
High Thrust Rating: 8,500 ft (2,600 m)[251]
Maximum fuel capacity 33,340 US gal (126,210 L) 36,641 US gal (138,700 L)
Service ceiling 43,000 ft (13,100 m)
Engines (×2) General Electric GEnx-1B or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000
Thrust (×2) 64,000 lbf (280 kN) 71,000 lbf (320 kN) 76,000 lbf (340 kN)

Sources: Boeing 787 airport report,[251] Boeing 787 specifications,[249][250][388] and others[389]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Actual range is based on remaining available weight for fuel after the aircraft empty weight and payload are subtracted from the MTOW.



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