Under the Hood of the 787 Dreamliner
Boeing's 787 is almost here and it's packed full of technological advances. The fuselage and wing will be made of a composite material, which makes the plane lighter and therefore much more fuel efficient. Besides being more environmentally-conscious and good for an airline's bottom line, better fuel efficiency also means that longer flights are possible. And, by using a fuselage that's one giant piece, Boeing has eliminated the need for some 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners.
The software behind the plane is also incredibly advanced. An open architecture system lies at the heart it, which means easier extensibility down the road. For example, Boeing has been looking at incorporating self-monitoring systems that will allow the airplane to report to ground crews about what repairs are needed and when. The 787 also gives the commercial air pilot a heads up display (HUD) similar to those used by fighter pilots to aid in landing and navigation.
According to Boeing, the engines commissioned from Rolls Royce and General Electric have increased efficiency by 8 percent and are basically a generation ahead of anything else out there.
The 787 may be slow to get off the ground but it is certainly an impressive piece of machinery.
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