Design Phase

The replacement for the Sonic Cruiser project was dubbed the "7E7"  (with a development code name of "Y2"). The "E" was said to stand for various things, depending upon the audience. To some, it stood for "efficiency", to others it stood for "environmentally friendly". In the end, Boeing claimed it merely stood for "Eight", after the aircraft was eventually rechristened "787". A public naming competition was also held, for which out of 500,000 votes cast online the winning title was Dreamliner.


On April 26, 2004, the Japanese airline All Nippon Airways (ANA) became the launch customer for the 787, then still known as the 7E7, by announcing a firm order for 50 aircraft to be delivered at the end of 2008. ANA's order included 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 will allow ANA to open new routes to mid-sized cities not previously served, such as Denver, Montreal, and Boston.

Earlier proposed design configuration of the Boeing 7E7.


Early concept images of the 787 included rakish cockpit windows, a dropped nose and a distinctive "shark-fin" vertical stabilizer. The final styling of the aircraft was more conservative, the fin appearing visually similar to those of aircraft currently in service. The nose and cockpit windows were also changed to a more conventional form.


The 787-3 and 787-8 were to be the initial variants, with the 787-9 entering service in 2010. Boeing initially priced the 787-8 variant at US$120 million, a low figure that surprised the industry. Boeing has since increased the price twice. As of 2007, the list price was $146–151.5 million for the 787-3, $157–167 million for the 787-8 and $189–200 million for the 787-9. Customer-announced orders and commitments for the 787 reached 237 aircraft during the first year of sales, with firm orders numbering 677 by the 787's premiere on July 8, 2007, and well before entry into service. This makes the 787 the fastest-selling wide body airliner ever before entry into service.

The engine pods on the 787 feature chevron edges to reduce noise.


The 787 uses the same technology proposed for the Sonic Cruiser in a more conventional configuration. Boeing claims the 787 will be near to 20% more fuel-efficient than the 767. One third of the efficiency gain will come from the engines, another third from aerodynamic improvements and the increased use of lighter weight composite materials, and the final third from advanced systems. The most notable contribution to efficiency is the new electrical architecture which replaces bleed air and hydraulic power with electrically powered compressors and pumps. Technology from the Sonic Cruiser and 787 will be used as part of Boeing's project to replace its entire airliner product line, an endeavor called the Yellowstone Project (of which the 787 is the first stage).


Boeing selected two engine types, the General Electric GEnx and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, to power the 787, both placed in pods. Pratt & Whitney was at the limit of its development capability, and would be unable to power the 787. According to United Technologies Corporation CEO George David, Pratt & Whitney "couldn't make the business case work for that engine." For the first time in commercial aviation, both engine types will have a standard interface with the aircraft, allowing any 787 to be fitted with either a GE or Rolls-Royce engine at any time. Engine interchangeability makes the 787 a more flexible asset to airlines, allowing them to change easily from one manufacturer's engine to the other's if required. The engine market for the 787 is estimated at US$40 billion over the next 25 years. The launch engine for all three current 787 variants is the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000. Airbus has offered the competing A350 powered by a development of the Rolls Royce Trent turbofan, the Trent XWB. The Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines cost U$17 million each. 

The 787 underwent extensive computer modeling and wind tunnel tests.


The launch of a new airliner can be expected to draw scathing comments from competitors, Boeing's doubt over the Airbus A380 and Airbus' mocking of the Sonic Cruiser being recent examples. The 787 is no exception, as Airbus's John Leahy attempted to refute all of Boeing's claims. Leahy openly criticized the large-scale use of composites in the 787's fuselage as being "rushed and ridiculous". Despite this criticism, Boeing built and tested the first composite section while examining the Sonic Cruiser concept nearly five years before,[18] making the 787 a significantly refined product.


The 787 underwent extensive wind tunnel testing at Boeing's Transonic Wind Tunnel, QinetiQ's five-meter wind tunnel at Farnborough, UK, and NASA Ames Research Center's wind tunnel, as well as at the French aerodynamics research agency, ONERA.


Copyright 2012