Aviation News

September 28, 2011

Top 4 Fun Boeing 787 Technical Facts

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By: David Lilienthal
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Boeing on Sunday hosted a panel discussing the advanced technology built into the 787. The questions from the technical panel were eclectic at best – many fell in to the categories of nonsense and absurd. Even so, the panel introduced a number of rather interesting factoids:

Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine on ANA first 787

Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine on ANA's first 787. (Photo by Brandon Farris)

1. The 787′s flight software includes some 14 million lines of code to control the fly by wire system. The flight computer tries to fly the plane according to the pilot’s input, which means the pilot won’t have to provide input to account for wind gusts or low frequency turbulence. Acute turbulence cannot be predicted and therefore cannot be effectively counteracted by the control surfaces.

2. Because of the new electrical architecture, one trial of the Rejected Takeoff test was completed with both engines off: a battery only RTO test! In this case, a rather large lithium ion battery.

3. Is it possible the 757 has been replaced as the most overpowered airframe? The test flight program set a maximum dive velocity of 409-412 knots. Mike Carriker stated that this speed could be achieved in level flight at partial throttle! Power? Slippery? Or both?

4. A single fan blade in the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine produces as much power as a NASCAR race car.

None of these features alone will result in an industry changing aircraft. They are, however, indicative of the technological advances Boeing pursued at every opportunity to differentiate the 787 from all other commercial aircraft.

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