Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Boeing 787 First Flight Today

After two and a half years of delays, aerospace giant Boeing will finally push its Dreamliner out of the nest and see if it can fly. The Boeing 787’s first flight today marks a long anticipated turning point for the company, as it tiptoes closer to cashing in on the next-gen plane that airlines have hungered for.

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The aircraft will lift off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 1 p.m. Eastern time. It’ll then touch down in Boeing Field in Seattle, about 30 miles south.

Boeing announced the 787 Dreamliner in 2004 as the first major plane to take full advantage of lightweight, composite materials. Fuel efficient and capable of carrying up to 330 passengers over great distances, the 787 could shave off millions of dollars spent on fuel and upkeep. Airlines loved the idea and ordered 840 Dreamliners, worth about $140 billion.

But several delays gunked up production, including design flaws, a two-month strike, and suppy shortages. Today, Boeing has a chance to prove that the wait was worth it.

This first flight “will provide a badly needed perception that the program is on some kind of schedule again,” Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst at research firm Teal Group, told Reuters. “But it’s still a long way from the ultimate result.”

This very public shot at redemption will be broadcast over the Internet. You can tune in at Boeing’s website, starting at 12:40 p.m. Eastern time.

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