Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner finally flies

After over two years of reporting on the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s long awaited aircraft has arrived. Yesterday morning, the aircraft took off on a three hour historic flight over Washington, landing successfully in Boeing field just outside of Seattle, Washington.

And now, the data analysis begins. A full year of testing as well as multiple test flights follow this first step, all towards making the final delivery to Boeing’s first customer, ANA at the end of next year. We’re looking forward to getting onboard.

Boeing Dreamliner 787 finally ready for its maiden flight

In what has become a common trend in new airplane launches, the Boeing Dreamliner 787 has suffered delay after delay. Her initial maiden flight was scheduled for the end of August 2007, with deliveries to start taking place in May 2008.

When Boeing engineers discovered problems getting pieces to fit together, the launch was delayed. Then delayed again, and finally in June of this year, it was delayed yet again.

Thankfully, all the problems have been taken care of, and the newest jet from Boeing is set to take to the skies on December 15th at 10 a.m. PST. A web site dedicated to the maiden flight has been created, which should go live tomorrow morning (24 hours before the flight).

Fingers crossed all goes well – engineers are examining the test data from a series of ground tests, including one which pushed the plane to 150mph, lifting the nose wheel from the ground. Of course, all the technology in the world can’t help prevent bad weather – which is one of the few remaining factors that could delay the test flight.

Qantas puts yet another dent in the future of the Boeing Dreamliner

Wow Boeing – it really does suck to be you this week. After a dismal Paris Air Show and the announcement of the sixth delay in taking the first 787 Dreamliner for a test flight, Qantas just canceled their order of 15 Dreamliners.

In Boeing’s defense, Qantas recently pulled the same stunt with Airbus with some of their orders for the A380.

The change in their order cancels 15 planes and puts another 15 on a delayed delivery schedule, moved back to 2015, which will be 10 years after they placed the order.

I’m obviously not completely up to date on how aircraft orders work, but I’m quite surprised an airline can just pick up the phone and tell their vendor that they won’t be needing that $3 Billion delivery after all.

The change is of course blamed on “turbulent market conditions”, but I’m willing to bet Boeing now really regrets the delays in getting the Dreamliner ready for the market. By the time the plane is finally finished, we’ll have either reached a total financial apocalypse, or everything will be back to normal.

Of course, losing 15 planes still means Boeing has 851 firm orders for the 787, so while I’m sure they were not too thrilled with the phone call from Qantas, the plane itself is still a huge success.

Boing 787 “Dreamliner” maiden flight delayed again

Poor Boeing. They are right in the middle of one of the worst economic downturns in their history, and their newest plane is creating a bit of a disaster of its own.

The 787 Dreamliner was scheduled to take its first flight early last year, but they realized back then that it could be moved to September 2008. We are now in the Summer of 2009 and Boeing is on their sixth delay.

The delay comes just one week after a horrible Paris Air Show, which is traditionally where Boeing announces a boatload of orders, but this year Airbus beat them, though neither manufacturer had that much good news to report. Airbus reported 112 aircraft sales, Boeing only sold 2.

The bad news is having a horrible effect on the share price of Boeing, which is down over 7% this morning (at the time of writing).

Still, fingers crossed that they sort out the problems with the plane. It really is a beauty, but it won’t do them (or their customers) any good if it just sits on the runway. By now I am sure Boeing will be regretting laughing at the problems Airbus encountered in building the massive A380 double-decker plane.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: h4ck4b|e?

Think DDoS attacks are bad? Try this on for size.

A recent FAA report has revealed a flaw in Boeing‘s new mega-plane, the 787 Dreamliner. Apparently, the computer network in the passenger compartment — the one that gives passengers the ability to browse the Internet while flying — is linked to the “plane’s control, navigation and communication systems,” according to Wired. The physical link between the two networks means that the fate of your voyage could be determined by a 14-year-old kid with a bone to pick.

Have no fear; Boeing has already begun the process of fixing the goof, which they say will be corrected and fully tested before the plane’s official, public debut in November of 2008.

“This isn’t a desktop computer,” explains security expert Mark Loveless. “It’s controlling the systems that are keeping people from plunging to their deaths. So I hope they are really thinking about how to get this right.”