United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner – Virtual Tour and Review

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In the age of the Concorde, Boeing believed that airlines had a need for speed. By the early 2000s, the airframe manufacturer was planning the next generation of airliners, ones that would be the first generation to be built largely from lightweight composite materials. Boeing’s managers envisioned a world of air travel where planes would circumnavigate the globe at close to the speed of sound, Mach 0.98. They called their plane the Sonic Cruiser.

At the turn of the century, fuel prices continued to rise. Not surprisingly, the airlines, however, had something completely different than the Sonic Cruiser in mind. They wanted fuel-efficient, lightweight, long-range airplanes.

Boeing abandoned the speed aspect of the Sonic Cruiser concept, keeping the idea of a lightweight, composite airliner. Speed was out, replaced by efficiency as the 7E7 began to be developed. After a naming contest in which over 500,000 people in 160 countries took part, the plane had a name, too: Dreamliner.



United’s Dreamliner is a long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 502,500 pounds (227,930 kilograms) and total cargo volume of 4,400 cubic feet (124,594 liters), a 10% increase over a similarly sized Boeing 767-300. Boeing says it took 800,000 man-hours to design the aircraft and it went through 15,000 hours of wind tunnel testing.

The Dreamliner’s typical cruising speed is Mach 0.85. This is slightly faster than Mach 0.80 for a Boeing 767-400ER and 0.84 for a Boeing 777-200ER. At 30,000 feet altitude Mach 0.85 is 577 mph or 929 km/h. It has a range of 8,200 nautical miles, which translates to 9,434 miles or 15,186 kilometers.

It has 219 seats in two separate cabins. Thirty-six of those seats are in business class, which United calls BusinessFirst. The main cabin is divided into two parts, Economy Plus with 70 seats, and coach, with 113 seats.

Click here to continue to Page 3Dreamliner Construction, BusinessFirst Cabin, and In-Flight Air Quality

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