787 Dreamliner takes to the sky

The 787 Dreamliner, which is built from carbon fiber composite materials, and which has new-style curved wings is meant to be Boeing's best chance to dominate the next generation of super planes.

EVERETT, Wash.--At long, long last, Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is aloft.

On July 8, 2007 (7/8/07), in front of thousands of enthusiastic onlookers, Boeing rolled out the 787 at its mammoth assembly plant here. The aerospace giant promised to change the nature of long-haul flight, making it significantly more efficient than ever before, and promised to showcase the new plane with its first flight just a few months later.

But one delay after another has substantially slowed the 787 program, and even though the plane was brought to the flight line last May, and it was expected that the first flight would take place sometime in the second quarter, that didn't happen. Until Tuesday, when at 10:28 a.m. PST, the maiden voyage of the first

For Boeing, Tuesday's development is one of its most significant in years. The 787 Dreamliner, which is built from carbon fiber composite materials, and which has new-style curved wings--allowing it to fly 20 percent more efficiently per passenger than other planes of its size--was meant to be the company's best chance to dominate the next generation of super planes. Originally, said Boeing spokesperson Russ Young, the idea was to build a plane that was 20 percent faster. But eventually, the company decided--after discussions with potential customers--to go for more fuel efficiency.

For more, read "787 Dreamliner takes to the sky" on CNET News.

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