Boeing will open its 787 Dreamliner simulator to journalists Thursday and provide an update on when the delay-plagued airplane will finally enter service. This CNET reporter will be lucky enough to take a virtual ride and visit the company's Customer Experience Center in Renton, Wash., where airline buyers can view cabin mockups, design aircraft interiors, and receive maintenance and flight training.
For the 787, which Boeing first announced six years ago, the demonstration, and the recent Federal Aviation Administration approval to begin pilot training, are more milestones in the aircraft's long development. The first major airliner to be built of carbon fiber composite materials, the Dreamliner took off and landed on its first flight last December.
Delivery to the launch customer, All Nippon Airways, was set for the end this year, but that date could move to early 2011 as Boeing completes the flight and design testing necessary for FAA certification. Only then can it begin flying airline passengers.
Cheaper and farther The 787's composite materials, along with a sharper nose and curved, upswept wings, promise greater fuel efficiency, quieter engines, and longer range. Indeed, the most powerful 787 model will be able to fly 8,500 nautical miles, which is enough to fly between Chicago and Sydney nonstop. … Read more