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10 Facts About Boeing's Revolutionary 787 Dreamliner

Madeleine Johnson

On Friday, Boeing’s BA 787-10 Dreamliner, the largest model of its state-of-the-art jetliner family, successfully completed its first flight, taking off from the company’s North Charleston, South Carolina facility just after 9:30 am Eastern Time for a four-hour test flight. "I want to say thanks to the team. This is a big, big milestone for us and our customers," Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on a webcast of the Dreamliner's first flight.

First flown back in December 2009, the 787 Dreamliner is a one-of-a-kind aircraft, combining innovation, efficiency, comfort, and environmental awareness to create the ultimate flying experience. To date, Boeing has 149 orders for the -10 model, and the aerospace giant has delivered 521 of the smaller -8 and -9 versions so far, with 686 total unfilled orders for the Dreamliner jet family. Here’s a look at 10 interesting facts about the prestigious aircraft.

Image via: Boeing

1. Originally, the 787 Dreamliner was supposed to be called the 7E7 (the ‘E’ standing for efficiency), but Boeing decided to change it 787 in order to keep with the number sequence it’s famous for. 

2. Tickets for the first flight were sold in an online auction, with the highest bidder paying $34,000 for a seat.

3. It is 20% more fuel efficient than the Boeing 767. The Dreamliner uses GE's GEnx engines or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, both of which utilize all-electric bleedless systems. These engines eliminate the need for superheated air conduits normally used for air conditioning and anti-icing, among other functions.

4. The 787 has a state of the art cabin. Flight attendants and other crew members can customize the lighting in the cabin, choosing, for example, bright daylight or a calm night sky. Even cooler, the plane has no window shades. Instead, passengers have a dimming option. The cabin seats 242 to 335 passengers in typical three-class seating arrangements.

5. The Dreamliner is Boeing’s most eco-friendly airliner. In addition to being 20% more fuel efficient, the 787 incorporates primarily composite materials in its airframe construction.

6. The 787 flies at Mach 0.85, which converts to roughly 650 miles per hour.

7. With a range of up to 8,500 nautical miles, it could fly from London to New York and back, non-stop.

8. The Dreamliner contains Smooth Ride Technology, which allows it to sense turbulence and automatically adjust wing control surfaces for a smoother ride. Sensors are located throughout the entire aircraft.

9. An empty 787 weighs close to 117,617 kilograms. That’s the equivalent of about 29 elephants. The wing span measures at 197 feet, the length is 186 feet, and the height is a total of 56 feet.

10. The Boeing 787 contains approximately 2.3 million parts, a huge increase from the Boeing 737’s 400,000 parts.

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