Boeing 787 Dreamliner Shows Us Its Cockpit, Takes Inaugural FlightS

Today at 10 a.m. PST, two-and-a-half years after the plane was supposed to leave the ground, Boeing will send the first carbon fiber-bodied 787 Dreamliner into the air north of Seattle for its first test flight.

The lightweight carbon and titanium plane, promising to save airlines million of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs, has been hampered by a shortage of supplies, faulty design and a two-month strike, and it still has a long way to go before it proves to be a success.

The revolutionary use of carbon fiber and the problems of joining it to other materials mean there is still plenty of risk that Boeing's new plane will hit new snags in the air.

The company also says the new material will hold up better to the wear and tear of flight than traditional aluminum. Boeing says it has orders for more than 850 of the planes, which officially sell for around $150 million each.

Even though 787s won't start flying passenger routes until at least 2011, Boeing executives said they hope a successful first flight will at least begin to quell doubts over the future of airplane production at the company. [via CNN, Globe and Mail]

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