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Onboard the 787

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Flight with a few more airs and graces

Jane E. Fraser

July 18, 2011 .

Dreamliner's first full test flight

Boeing's newest plane the 787 'Dreamliner' makes its first test flight simulating normal flight conditions.

Refinement, not revolution is the order of the day for Boeing's new passenger plane, as it tries to reduce the irritations that can take the joy out of the journey.

WILL the long-overdue Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft really "change the way we fly"? It certainly gets points for trying.

If you sat down and made a list of the things you hate about flying - from jet lag to not being able to find any space in the overhead bins - you would find Boeing is a step ahead of you on most of them.

The manufacturer has addressed many common gripes in the design of its long-awaited Dreamliner, which is finally ready to take off after numerous production delays.

The first 787 has been delivered to its launch customer, the Japanese airline ANA, for final testing and Boeing claims it will represent the start of a new era of flying.

The environment will certainly benefit from significant reductions in fuel use and emissions. But there will also be noticeable changes for passengers, in a concerted bid to bring back the enjoyment of flying.

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of 2011, more than three years behind schedule.

..

"We as human beings are fascinated by flight but we don't like to fly today," says the regional director of passenger satisfaction for Boeing, Kent Craver. "The big, big goal of this [Dreamliner design] philosophy is really to reconnect people to the magic of flight."

The most noticeable change for passengers stepping into the Dreamliner will be windows that are 65 per cent larger than those in competing aircraft, giving passengers a view of the horizon from any seat on the plane and reducing the feeling of being trapped in a metal tube.

"You're going to see outside, you're going to have a connection to the magic of flight, regardless of where you are on the plane," Craver says.

The larger windows have been made possible by the use of composite materials in the fuselage; materials that can handle the loads of larger cutouts.

Boeing has also taken away physical window shades, replacing them with electromagnetic shades that allow passengers to dim the windows but still see out.

The 787 will have a wider cabin, allowing for wider seats and aisles. Boeing says the Dreamliner cabin could offer the widest economy seats in the industry, depending on the individual airline's chosen configuration.

The 787 will have the largest overhead storage compartments in the air, designed around the most common types of carry-on luggage to maximise use of the space.

What will be less noticeable, but potentially more important, is a different cabin atmosphere, which should reduce jet lag and symptoms such as throat irritation.

This has also been made possible by the introduction of composite materials, which allow cabin pressure to be set at a lower altitude level.

Rather than the typical cabin altitude of 1980 metres to 2130 metres, the cabin altitude will be below1830 metres, a level Boeing says was revealed in testing as optimum for passengers.

"A big part of jet lag is that when you're at higher altitudes, your body is unable to absorb the same amount of oxygen into the bloodstream ... jet lag is a mild form of altitude sickness," Craver says.

Adding to this will be increased humidity and a gaseous filtration system that filters contaminants, including odours.

Craver says many passengers blame the dry air in aircraft cabins for symptoms such as eye and throat irritation but research has found that simply increasing humidity is not the answer.

A combination of increasing humidity and removing contaminants from the air best reduces many of the symptoms passengers associate with dryness, he says.

For nervous travellers or those prone to airsickness, the big news is the development of technology that is claimed to significantly reduce air turbulence.

Craver says the 787 has sensors that adjust control surfaces to counter the effects of turbulence, turning big jumps and dips into "little skips".

An aviation consultant with CAPA Consulting, Ian Thomas, says while the arrival of the Dreamliner will undoubtedly create a lot of interest among travellers, many of the changes fall into the realm of "refinement rather than a sea change".

"Passengers will experience the buzz of flying on a new aircraft type but it's unlikely to present the same level of excitement as the [Airbus] A380," Thomas says. "The benefits of the 787 are more subtle."

Thomas says the greatest benefits of the 787 will be enjoyed by airlines, in the form of cost savings and route opportunities.

jane@janeefraser.com.au.

Dream efficiency

Technology ranging from lightweight composite materials to more efficient engines will allow the Boeing 787 to use 20 per cent less fuel than similar-size planes. As well as generating fewer carbon dioxide emissions, the Dreamliner will produce significantly fewer nitrogen oxides, another key emission standard for commercial aircraft.

Technological developments will allow for quieter take-offs and landings and more direct flights, limiting transit stops. Boeing is already working on plans to allow Dreamliners to be recycled when they begin to retire in 30 or 40 years.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/flight-wit ... z1SardKdPA

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I hope AC use them to open up some new long range routes that won't sustain 777 service but will be profitable with a 787. The more interesting foreign destinations non-stop from YYZ the better.

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I hope AC use them to open up some new long range routes that won't sustain 777 service but will be profitable with a 787. The more interesting foreign destinations non-stop from YYZ the better.

Southern India, JNB, SIN ex YVR, have all been mentioned.

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I hope AC use them to open up some new long range routes that won't sustain 777 service but will be profitable with a 787. The more interesting foreign destinations non-stop from YYZ the better.

Southern India, JNB, SIN ex YVR, have all been mentioned.

JNB would be nice. :D

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