The Boeing Company unveiled Saturday August 6th 2011 the first Boeing 787 scheduled to enter service with launch customer airline All Nippon Airways early next month. The event took place at the manufacturer’s Everett facility in Washington State. Japan’s largest carrier with an outstanding order for 40 Boeing 787-8 and 15 787-9, plans to debut the aircraft operation with a ‘special package tour’ international charter flight organized between Tokyo and Hong-Kong once the aircraft final acceptance tests will be completed. Subsequently the carrier will introduce it on regular domestic flights between Haneda and Okeyama, as well as Haneda and Hiroshima. While the aircraft is supposed to set new standards of operating economics for its class, ANA has been keen to highlight the unrivaled comfort of the new aircraft as its main value proposition for passengers.
The New Aircraft Comfort Value Proposition
The aircraft designers argued that a re-engineered cabin air quality and circulation system could add ‘unseen comfort’. A four-point air conditioning venting system now replaces more traditional 2-vents air recirculation systems allowing passengers to enjoy fresher air. The refreshed ambient air is supplemented by higher cabin humidity as typically found flying at lower altitude. Passengers comfort also benefits from the larger cabin windows and an overall more spacious interior ergonomic interior with bigger individual luggage overhead storage bins. The LED lights and electro-chromatic windows use a dual approach to optimize cabin light dimming. For its Domestic network, ANA is introducing 787-8 aircraft powered by Trent 1000 engines. The selected configuration allows a 2-class passengers service to comfortably link the US West Coast. The aircraft is set to dominate its class by being able to fly out to a range of 8,200 nm or 15,200 km at up to 13,000 m (40,000 ft) in altitude at a speed of Mach 0.85.
Designed For Aerodynamic Performance
The lowered overall weight of the aircraft, due to the more widespread use of composite materials and the elevated bypass ratio of the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines (from 7 on current design to 10) play both a critical role in making the aircraft 20% more fuel efficient. The resulting benefits for the environment are the diminished amounts of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon, nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide released in the atmosphere. The ‘see-saw’ shaped engine nozzles noticed at the rear of the nacelles are responsible for reducing the noise footprint of the aircraft by 60%. These achievements must not obscure the aerodynamic elements that have formed the core of the aircraft design from day one: higher aspect ratio wings fitted with raked wing tips and the implementation of highly efficient vortex generators for further drag reduction. On the 787, raked wingtips as in the 777 Longer Range models contribute to minimizing wingtips vortices and induced drag. It seems the slight upward curving at the 787 wing extension is a hybrid design implementing both blended winglets and raked wingtips features. This approach we believe is responsible for the remarkable performance improvement in cruising speed: despite high aspect ratio wings, a Mach 0.85 figure is achieved during cruise. This is better than the powerful 777 speed (Mach 0.84) and unseen since the venerable 747.
Since 1990, a total of 1,242 Boeing 777 were ordered by carriers. With 827 firm orders From 2004, the 787 has garnered enough orders to position itself favorably in the continuity of other successful Boeing long haul aircraft design. This highly advanced aircraft is what carriers had been longing for in order to replace the versatile father of ETOPS Boeing 767 orders in amount of 1,057 units since 1978. Boeing also surely appreciates keeping a little edge on the Airbus upcoming A350 design.