Will the Dreamliner (787) ever fly?

Boeing Dreamliner, originally uploaded by ojour.

It has been over 2 years since Boeing rolled out their newest, revolutionary airliner - the 787 Dreamliner.

This plane is revolutionary in that instead of being constructed of aluminum - most of the plane is carbon fiber. This makes the plane lighter and means it can go farther on a load of fuel.

But the design and assembly of this plane has not been without its issues. Boeing has outsourced the major assemblies of this plane to other, foreign manufacturers - and just performs final assembly at the Boeing Everett plant (in an attempt to speed production, and lower Boeing's own labor costs).

They even retrofitted a set of 747's - the Dreamlifter - to shuttle Dreamliner pieces from manufacturer site to Everett.

The assembly issues seem to be behind them now - but everyone is still waiting for the plane's first flight (since that's what airplanes are supposed to do - FLY). But in late July - Boeing announced that the first flight was delayed again - this time for a structural/design issue where the wings join the fuselage/body and did not give a new estimated date for the first flight.

A week later - the Seattle Times published a story saying that this structural/design issue was worse than was being reported, and had occurred at an earlier point in the stress test.

There are normally challenges that face any new design - but more so in this case because of the new materials being used. And you know its bad - when the current poll on FlightGlobal asks which might fly first - the 787 - or a Pig.

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