Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes First U.S. Commercial Flight

Remember earlier this year when Cali and John took a trip on ANA’s 787 during their trip to Japan?  Well, you can join them now.  Not on their next trip overseas, but on the 787 Dreamliner,  Boeing’s next generation twin-engine intercontinental airliner.  It’s now in service with United Airlines.

The Dreamliner era in the States officially began when United Flight 1116 took off at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and landed at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport at just over 10:30 in the morning on November 4th.  This was a purely symbolic flight as both United and Boeing are based in Chicago.  This type of domestic route is typically performed by long-range variants of the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 series.

This is the first of many, as United has 50 of these jets on order, with Delta committing to 18, and our neighbors to the north Air Canada pitching in for another 37.  That doesn’t include the overseas orders, ANA included, bringing the total to around 800.  United has also committed to the 787’s competitor, the Airbus A350.

The 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s 767 replacement, is the world’s first composite body airliner.  Think Beechcraft Starship but a couple generations newer and roughly 200ft long and wide.  This new super jet is assembled at both Boeing’s longtime plant in Everett, Washington and a brand new facility next to Charleston International Airport’s passenger terminal in South Carolina.

I say assembled because sections are fabricated by subcontractors all over the globe and then shipped to the final assembly plants where the pieces are turned into a working aircraft.  The 787-8, & -9 which are in production are designed for intercontinental routes as is the -10.  The -3, designed to replace the 767-200 for long range domestic routes (like NYC to LA), will enter production later.

ABC 7 Chicago piece with Video and Pictures.