Boeing 767 - introduced September 8, 1982 with United Airlines

Boeing 787 - introduced September 27, 2011 with ANA

Compared to the current class of mid-sized airliners, the 787 has:

10 percent lower operating costs
20 percent more fuel efficient
20 percent fewer emissions
30 percent lower airframe maintenance costs
40 percent greater range
60 percent smaller noise footprint

This 50% composite airframe will be a change comparable to the one that occurred with the replacement of steam locomotives by diesel electrics.

John de Regt Writes:

Stefan makes a great point. The 787 is as big a step forward as was the DC-3, which moved airframe construction from wood, canvas, and glue, to aluminum.

Stefan Jovanovich replies: 

 Thanks, John. The DC-1 — the first aluminum model — was introduced by Donald Douglas on June 22, 1933.

A Donald Douglas story:

In May 1939, after a year of final testing, Douglas delivered the prototype of the DC-4 to United Airlines. It met some but not all the specifications that the airlines had set for Douglas (the project was jointly funded, in part, by the 5 major US airlines at the time: UAL, EAL, TWA, PAA, and AA. Arthur Raymond (the designer for the DC-1 and DC-3) recalled, “We designed the first DC-4 by committee. Before this, we worked with one airline, like American or TWA. Five airlines were in on the DC-4 design, and everyone wanted something special on their version. The crowning blow came when they all said it had to fit in the DC-3 hangar. This meant we had to put five tails on it. We had to take the control surface area under engine out conditions, and spread it over the five tails (three above and two below) to squeeze it in the DC-3 hangar. That was its downfall. We had a terrible time working out the stability and getting it licensed. When we got it to the point of flying, it had gained so much weight (65,000 pounds) and was so ungainly that Doug junked the whole thing. He knew it was a lemon. Then we redesigned it the way we wanted it, with a single tail, not so heavy, and it was a success. We sold the original DC-4 prototype to Japan and it later crashed with some high ranking military officers aboard into Tokyo Bay. We like to think that helped hasten the conclusion of the war. We then called it the DC-4E for ‘Extinct.’”



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