Boeing has begun final assembly of the 787-10 Dreamliner, the latest and biggest member in the Boeing 787 family of commercial aircraft. Two major fuselage sections for the aircraft have been moved to North Charleston, S.C. The third section, the forward fuselage, is being made at Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., and will be brought to North Charleston.
Darrel Larson, the build integration leader for Boeing’s 787-10 program, said the development of the aircraft is a major milestone for Boeing and South Carolina.
“This airplane will only be built here in North Charleston,” said Larson. “Pieces will continue to be built around the globe in our supply chain, but the 787-10 will only fly out of North Charleston.”
According to a 2014 article from Materials Today, the 787 is the first major commercial airplane to have a composite fuselage, composite wings, and use composites in most other airframe components. A 2007 report from Toray notes that each 787 contains approximately 77,000 pounds of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), made with 23 tons of carbon fiber. A 2007 report from Toray notes that each 787 contains approximately 77,000 pounds of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), made with 23 tons of carbon fiber.
According to Boeing, composite construction, combined with efficiency-enhancing raked wing tips, enables the aircraft to achieve a maximum cruise speed of up to Mach 0.85 with less fuel consumption. The company adds that the single-piece composite barrel construction “effectively eliminates all longitudinal skin splices for reducing weight and maintenance costs. It also avoids fuselage lap joints, doublers and skin overlap, resulting in lesser maintenance inspections.”
The Boeing 787-10 will be powered by either Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 or GE Aviation GEnx-1B engines. GEnx engines include high-pressure compressors and twin-annular pre-swirl combustors, as well as lightweight and durable composite materials.
After completing assembly, the 787-10 will have its first flight in 2017 and first delivery in 2018.