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Boeing 787 Makes US Debut 317

Posted by timothy
from the up-in-the-air-senior-birdman dept.
thomas.kane writes "After years of delays, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is set to take off from Bush Intercontinental Airport this morning bound for O'Hare. Designed to make the flying experience 'revolutionary,' it is constructed from composite materials, has larger windows than previous jetliners, and high efficiency engines. United Airlines became the first U.S. carrier to take delivery; they've ordered 50, but due to processing delays, they only have 2 right now. Start looking for more to take to the skies early next year."
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Boeing 787 Makes US Debut

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  • Awesome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by diemuzi (940206)
    Would love to see this in person!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I'd love to see United stop treating us all like shite.

      HINT: Start with people, not with aircraft. Oh, and food service, too.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

        by localman57 (1340533) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:32PM (#41872899)
        That's what everybody says. Then they go to travelocity, and fly with the lowest bidder. If more people wanted to pay more for a better experience, there'd be more first class seats in airplanes.
        • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rubycodez (864176) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:41PM (#41872981)

          funny, I go with the lowest bidder for airlines based in other parts of the world and the food, beer & wine, entertainment and courteous service are included. the US airlines *could* do it if money-grubbing scum weren't allowed to get away with excessivly lining their own pockets

          • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

            by Smallpond (221300) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:13PM (#41873219) Homepage Journal

            From United's Q3 financials: [google.com]

            Net profit margin 0.06%

            but having just flown SwissAir and Lufthansa, I have to agree about food and service being better in Europe.

            • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @02:03PM (#41873489)

              And yet there's RyanAir, which will sadly never work in the US because we lack an abundance of old military airfields an hour away from places that people actually want to go.

          • by 21mhz (443080)

            It's getting worse. Finnair has stopped offering free food on short haul flights, and they are in a battle with the unions to reduce their staff costs, too. The lowest bidders such as Norwegian and Flybe are expanding, though.

          • by khallow (566160)

            funny, I go with the lowest bidder for airlines based in other parts of the world and the food, beer & wine, entertainment and courteous service are included. the US airlines *could* do it if money-grubbing scum weren't allowed to get away with excessivly lining their own pockets

            Just remember that customers are on that short list of "money-grubbing scum". Shop for those other criteria, if that's what you want and pay a little more like you do with those "lowest bidders" in other parts of the world.

        • That's what everybody says. Then they go to travelocity, and fly with the lowest bidder. If more people wanted to pay more for a better experience, there'd be more first class seats in airplanes.

          Last month I flew on Jetblue and paid 10% less than anywhere else, got a huge seat and the best flight experience I'd ever had.

          Oh, and I've been waiting for this:
          http://what-is-what.com/what_is/787_dreamliner.html [what-is-what.com]

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kiwimate (458274) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:40PM (#41872979) Journal

        Yep, everyone says they want to be treated better. And have even lower fares. As well as full meals. And free movies. And no charge for baggage. But make it cheaper than it already is.

        Do you see the problem?

        HINT: If you want food service, pay more and fly first class.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:50PM (#41873041)

        United provides food service. It's just not "free." Of course, other airlines charge you for it too, they just include it in your ticket price whether you want the food or not.

        • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

          by StarWreck (695075) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:54PM (#41873077) Homepage Journal
          The United "Tapas Box" is pretty awesome. Well, it was awesome last year when it was only $5, they've since raised the price to $7.50...
          • The United "Tapas Box" is pretty awesome. Well, it was awesome last year when it was only $5, they've since raised the price to $7.50...

            For the record, I actually like United and I have not tried this Tapas Box. However, do note that all US carriers are afraid of being saddled with food nobody wants to buy, so they actually have less food available on flights than then there are passengers on the plane. I do not live in a hub city for United, so essentially all they fly from my city is 50 or so seat small jets to get us to one of their hub cities. On such flights they would probably have between 10 and 15 Tapas Boxes available so you can

      • by puto (533470)
        I work all over Latin America, and it literally costs me the same to go from Bogota to Medellin in Colombia round trip that I can fly from Orlando to NYC. Though my experience is germane to Latin America, I prefer to fly in the US, and it is cheaper. International flights tend to have a little better service but third world flights are sorely lacking. The US is head and tails above.
    • by ls671 (1122017)

      It is an airplane, not a person ;-)

    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:30PM (#41872875)

      A few years ago, I was in Seattle for a band trip. On the Sunday morning, a dozen of us went up to Everett to see the Boeing factory.

      The first plane ready to get out the door was 787 #1, the FAA smasher, so we got to see it fairly close. We also got to see the Dreamcargo? whatever it's called take off. That's a funny looking plane.

      They are very cool planes, and if you're ever in the PNW, I highly recommend heading to Everett and checking out the factory. It's incredible.

    • by Dr. Tom (23206)

      Go to Ethiopia, where the first one was delivered 3 months ago.

    • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

      by joe_frisch (1366229) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @03:12PM (#41873953)

      Just saw one at Beijing in ANA colors - looked a lot like a mid-sized twin engine airliner.

      I spend a lot of my life on airliners. The things that matter to me are:
      Big overhead bins: 787 has them, but so do lat model 747s and 777s.
      AC power sockets: These could be put on any plane, but usually airlines only have them in business.
      Legroom: Entirely up to the airline to set the seat spacing, nothing to do with the airplane.
      In seat video with a selection of movies: Again up to the airline for the interior configuration.
      Sufficient restrooms: Again, an airline configuration issue.

      The improved fuel efficiency will reduce costs some - which is nice, but that is an ongoing trend. Presumably the airbus A350 will be the next step, followed by a 797 or something. I occasionally look out the windows, but most of the time there isn't much to see - so big windows are only a minor change. If they really operate the plane at lower cabin altitude that would be nice, but the extra weight burns more fuel - I doubt they actually operate that way for long. I couldn't care less about the multi-colored lighting.

      It looks like a nice plane, but not in any way a game changer. Give me a Mach 3 SST, or a sub-orbital that can do Shanghai to SFO in 40 minutes and we'll talk. We've had Mach .85 airliners for >50 years now.

  • by ballpoint (192660) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:40AM (#41872555)

    In Soviet Russia, Boeing 787 Makes YOU Debut !

  • Meh ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:41AM (#41872561)

    I was worried at first, until I saw that the airport was named after the at least somewhat sane one.

  • New feature (Score:4, Funny)

    by freeasinrealale (928218) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:50AM (#41872621)
    But do the windows open?
  • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:50AM (#41872623)
    Getting a bit of deja vu here. Looks like they'll be counting it as a first everytime this plane takes off. First for an American carrier, first time at night, first time with a special guest aboard, first flight with ground fog, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:08PM (#41872727)

      I think you're missing the point...the story here is that a US carrier can finally afford a new airplane.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by rossdee (243626)

        "a US carrier can finally afford a new airplane."

        Really? The Nomitz class carriers have been getting new versions of strike aircraft on a regular basis and soon they will be getting the naval version of the F35
        (Unless we go 'off the cliff' of course

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hadlock (143607)

      First American carrier to use an american-built plane made mostly of composite materials.

      Don't get me wrong, Carbon Fiber is absurdly strong, and computer models help negate design flaws.... but CF's failure mode tends to be sudden and...explosive. Steel bends long before it breaks, and Aluminum is somewhere in the middle, but CF just.... goes when it fails. I think Airbus has been including CF on their tail fins for a while (with some failures) and the technology is supposedly mature... but it's ha

      • Aluminum has nothing on Cf for strength and lightness though.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:28PM (#41872861)

        You are getting old.

        Modern engineering simulation using non-linear finite element software with appropriate calibrated fracture and failure material models can model the deformation and stresses accurately. When the structure is overloaded, the software can model the delamination of the individual plies, the damage that occurs and the residual strength and performance of the structure.

        Disclaimer: I used to work for the company that writes the software that Boeing uses.

      • by mosb1000 (710161)

        I don't think you appreciate just how bad aluminum's failure mode is. It's not like an airplane crashes and gets a few dents. It's usually torn apart into hundreds of pieces. There's no way carbon fiber could be worse, because structural failures are always catastrophic anyway. However, carbon fiber is less susceptible to fatigue, so it's less likely to fail in the first place. The point goes to carbon fiber. If we ever find a way to make these composites as cheaply as stamped metal, we'll probably make all

        • by fnj (64210)

          It's not nearly as simple as that. Yes, structural failure in general is often catastrophic, but material failure doesn't have to be with. Ever hear of cracks being found in metal structures? That material has failed locally, but it takes time for those cracks to propagate and eventually cause the structure to fail catastrophically. That's because metals including aluminum have a property called "toughness". Toughness is the ability to deform plastically in regions of local stress concentration, redistribut

      • by toolie (22684)

        I think Airbus has been including CF on their tail fins for a while (with some failures) and the technology is supposedly mature... but it's hard to ignore Aluminum's nearly 100 year reputation. Maybe I'm just getting old.

        That concern came up ages ago when the 787 being mostly Carbon-Fiber was announced, people were worried about Boeing's 'lack of experience' with it. Boeing revealed that it had at least one aircraft with a US carrier that had a carbon fiber vertical on it so they could get experience.

      • by PPH (736903)

        I think the engineers at Boeing know how to account for CF's strength characteristics in their structural design.

        I just wish they had consulted with the electrical design group about using a structural material that can melt/burn when the electrical folks deleted the differential bus protection that clears arcing faults.

        Oh, and how do you repair the stuff when someone runs into it with a forklift? I mean in some third world country where all they have is a pop rivet gun and some scrap aluminum.

        • Assuming the forklift causes damage, the answer is that you send out a technician with the proper equipment, and they make a patch good enough to get the aircraft back for a fully assessed repair. Unlike steel or aluminum, the repair process itself does not affect surrounding material. Welding steel or aluminum is a real problem when the metal has been heat treated - as are almost all aircraft alloys.
      • by JimBobJoe (2758)

        The FAA required a few tests specific to the 787 and its structure. I seem to recall a test where they took a fuselage and dropped it from a particular height to see how well it would deal with such a drop.

        My recollection is that the FAA said that the test was passed. Not much information is available on it since they wanted to keep the information a trade secret.

      • It is not absurdly strong. Unlike aluminum and alloy steel, composites do not have a fatigue life. The issue is not with elongation of the metal, but the cracking caused by repeated application of stress. This is why constant inspection is needed for metal aircraft around high stress areas. Composites, if protected from chemical and radiation attack, last virtually forever if they are operated within the defined stress envelope, while metals typically have a maximum fatigue life for any level of repetitive
      • by Alioth (221270)

        Planes aren't ever made from steel (too heavy). Aluminium bends for a while then goes with a very loud bang. (See the video of the 777 wing test). CF also bends for a while and eventually goes bang.

        Gliders have been made out of composites for decades now, they have to be very strong and very light. Watch a 30m span glider in flight and see how the wing bends. The 787 head on looks very glider like with the graceful curve to the wings as they take the load.

      • First American carrier to use an american-built plane made mostly of composite materials.

        Don't get me wrong, Carbon Fiber is absurdly strong, and computer models help negate design flaws.... but CF's failure mode tends to be sudden and...explosive. Steel bends long before it breaks, and Aluminum is somewhere in the middle, but CF just.... goes when it fails. I think Airbus has been including CF on their tail fins for a while (with some failures) and the technology is supposedly mature... but it's hard to ignore Aluminum's nearly 100 year reputation. Maybe I'm just getting old.

        Well, they do test these things, with built prototypes, not just computer models. For every plane Boeing builds, they do a wing break test where they bend the wings until they break. The wings on the 787 could be bent more than the wings on any of their aluminum built frames.

        787's wing break test [youtu.be] and regular wing testing [youtu.be].

    • They do the same thing on TV. "World premier of MOVIE", "US premier of MOVIE", "Network premier", "Cable premier", "Season premier", and so on.

  • Ceiling Lighting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Riddler Sensei (979333) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @11:50AM (#41872625)

    Watching the "Passenger Experience" video it was almost obnoxious how much attention they kept giving the ceiling lighting, but looking at the different settings for the dynamic LED lighting it is actually pretty cool. I like that it not only changes the brightness but also the color of the cabin for things like meals and pre-landing.

  • by magarity (164372) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:07PM (#41872723)

    Did they upgrade the staff with all new attitudes and customer service skills? Otherwise I'd rather be on another carrier's older plane.

  • I always try to get a window as .. gasp .. I like looking out the window! But in a lot of US long haul domestic flights they "encourage" you to shut the window shades in the middle of the day. Generally you can "comply" with this by pulling the shade down 3/4 of the way and still give you some window to look out of. However with the Dreamliner's electronic dimming of the whole window you won't have a chance of balancing your desires with the cabin crew's requests.

    And in a bit of conspiracy think

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @12:34PM (#41872907)

      I actually work for the company that manufactures the windows (Gentex) and I only have a little experience working with the windows, but I do know that there is a master control for the dimming level. Also, there are 5 different dimming levels so it's not just full dark and full clear. I think with the master control there is also the ability to limit the selectable dimming levels. So the flight attendants or whoever gets to control it could require you to set it to at least dimming level 3 and you'd still be able to look out of the window.

      • by OzPeter (195038)

        I saw that there were multiple levels of dimness. But if I want to look out a dimmed window I'd wear sunglasses!
         
        However my conspiracy theory was more aimed at the cabin crew forcing the shades down prior to the impending doom of the aircraft in order to reduce panic.

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      I'm not sure you've thought this through. The dimming windows give you move control over the light level, not less. It's not an on or off setting. As with anything, you should really try it before you decide it's terrible.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      And in a bit of conspiracy thinking, I wonder if the cabin crew has a master switch to force the windows to darken when they want - Hello Zaphod's Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses!

      They always tell you to open the shades fully when taking off or landing because the cabin lights may fail and you need to see outside in the event of an accident. If anything the master switch would be for forcing them to fully transparent.

  • From TFA:

    It features passenger comforts such as bigger windows, larger overhead bins and better ventilation.

    Really? Those are the "passenger comforts" so significant they get a mention?

    How about they just make the seats (ALL the seats) wide enough for normal Americans to sit comfortably without feeling they are intruding on the personal space of others?

    I'd happily fly in slow, noisy, propeller-driven planes fired by coal if they'd just give us enough room to be comfortable on a long flight.

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      It's called "first class."

    • How about they just make the seats (ALL the seats) wide enough for normal Americans to sit comfortably without feeling they are intruding on the personal space of others?

      Perhaps Boeing figures that the international market is larger than the domestic one and that it would be cheaper to make normal Americans narrow enough to fit in the international airplane seats. :-) *ducks*

      I'd happily fly in slow, noisy, propeller-driven planes fired by coal if they'd just give us enough room to be comfortable on a long flight.

      There are such planes, only they fly at a really low altitudes and tend to crash into icebergs. But otherwise there is plenty of room in them.

    • Re:Odd priorities (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:30PM (#41873307)

      Airplane manufacturers don't control seat width; the airlines are the ones who define that. The 787 is wider than other airplanes in its size class and Boeing had intended for that to be reflected in the seats. Instead, airlines chose to cram in two more passengers per row.

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:29PM (#41873301)

    It turns out there was some poor guy at United Airlines refreshing this web page for months:

    Tracking results for order 18293387382484758342093837439382:
      Seattle, WA 2012-07-02 13:43:23 In Transit.
      The item has left the seller's facility.
      Estimated delivery time: NA
      No further information available, please check again later.

    What's worse, when the plane finally arrived, it was packed in a giant welded plastic clamshell. It took two weeks for a crew at the airline to extract the aircraft without damaging it.

  • I'd care more... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @01:53PM (#41873419) Homepage Journal

    ,.. if flying hadn't become such a nightmare. I remember how excited I was the first time I flew as a kid. The last time I flew, the seat put my arse to sleep, and the guy in the next seat kept elbowing me as he worked on a PP presentation. The restroom was this tiny compartment I couldn't even stand up straight in.

    I avoid flying at all costs. I'll probably never board a 787.

  • I find this odd because last month there was one sitting at the terminal in Phoenix as we pulled in.
    Our pilot was on the intercom telling everyone to look out the window at it.

    Maybe it was on a test run and not a regular commercial flight.

  • by mark_reh (2015546) on Sunday November 04, 2012 @04:08PM (#41874343) Journal

    All I want is some godammed leg and elbow room.

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