Bad week for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner – more delays and cabin smoke

It has been a pretty lousy couple of years for the new Boeing Dreamliner. Initially, the 787 was supposed to be delivered to its first customer in May of 2008 – that was then delayed till November 2008. And since then, the delays have kept on coming.

The previous delay set a 2010 target, but last week it became obvious that they’d hit another snag – so the first delivery won’t take place till some time in 2011.

Delivery delays are not the only issue grounding the new plane – this afternoon one of the flight test planes had to make an emergency landing at Laredo airport after the pilot declared an emergency due to smoke in the cabin. The plane landed, and the 40 members of the test crew had to evacuate down the emergency slides. According to one report, there were several minor injuries.

Boeing and the FAA will gather as much data as they can about the incident, and it is currently unknown what kind of impact this latest setback will have on the 2011 delivery dates.

Update: The Seattle Times reports that the smoke came from a serious fire in the electronic equipment bay of the plane.

The fire affected the cockpit controls, and the the plane lost its flight displays and auto-throttling systems. This means that the plane had to land with limited electronic flight controls. Flames were observed coming from the bay, and a person “close to the situation” said that if the incident had happened at 25,000 feet, the fire could have been extremely serious.

[Photo: JEREMY MELLOUL/AFP/Getty Images]

Video: new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental being put together

With all the recent news of the Boeing Dreamliner, you’d be forgiven if you failed to notice another new Boeing jetliner taking shape. The new 747-8 Intercontinental is the latest version of one of the most popular planes in the world.

The 747-8 takes the basic concept of the 747 we all know, and borrows technology from the Dreamliner. In the redesign, the new 747 will carry 51 more passengers and 26% more cargo, flying on more efficient engines. A total of 142 747-8’s have already been ordered, and the first ones should take to the skies in late 2011.

When you hear that the very first 747 flew for the first time back in January 1970, you’ll realize what an important role the Jumbo has played in shaping the aviation world. Even though almost every aspect of the technology inside this plane has changed in those 40 years, the basic outline has remained the same, and everyone can recognize a 747 when they spot one.

So, watch this video, and see how the Boeing engineers take pieces of plane, and slot them together like a kids toy.

The oldest flying Boeing meets the newest

We were rather blown away by this shot from Ryan Pemberton of Spokane, Washington. Ryan managed to capture a challenging formation flight of the oldest flying Boeing airliner flown by his dad, Addison Pemberton, along side the newest model, the 787.

Some credit the Boeing Model 40 as the first successful ‘airliner’ in the U.S., and to see it alongside the 787, which will be delivered by the end of this year, is rather amazing. While heritage flights involving WWII aircraft flying with more modern jets are somewhat common, this formation was a bit more challenging given the differences in speed of each airplane. The 787 is unable to fly as slow as the maximum cruise speed of the Model 40, so some quick shooting was required as the jet flew by. Ryan captured a number of shots, and to see the rest, check out the gallery below.

We covered the first flight of the Boeing model 40 in the past at Gadling. Be sure to check out the video of this amazing aircraft that helped usher in air travel to America.


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.