Dreamliner: The modern aircraft plagued with problems

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Cockpit

11 Jan 2013: Cockpit window on an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner cracks during a Japanese domestic flight. The plane lands safely with no injuries

15 Jan: Another Dreamliner operated by ANA makes an emergency landing at Takamatsu in Japan after a smoke alert goes off

Brakes

9 Jan 2013: All Nippon Airways cancels flight when computer wrongly reports a brake problem

Engines

July 2012: Fan shaft on engine fails during runway tests at Charleston International Airport

11 Jan 2013: Oil leak found in engine of All Nippon Airways 787 flight

Fuel tanks

8 Jan 2013: Take-off aborted after about 150 litres of fuel spill from Japan Airlines Dreamliner in Boston

13 Jan: Same aircraft experiences another, separate fuel leak while undergoing tests in Tokyo

Electronics

4 Dec 2012: A United Airlines 787 makes emergency landing in New Orleans after electrical problems

13 Dec: Qatar Airways 787 grounded after electrical power distribution problems

17 Dec: United finds electrical problem in second aircraft

7 Jan 2013: Fire starts in lithium ion battery pack of Japan Airlines 787 in Boston

8 Jan: United Airlines also finds faulty wiring to battery

When Boeing's 787 Dreamliner completed its first test flight in December 2009, it was hailed as the future of commercial aviation.

But the project was plagued with problems from the start and was 30 months behind schedule at the time of its maiden flight.

Here are some of the innovations that made the Dreamliner the most eagerly anticipated aircraft for decades.

Dreamliner technical specifications
Technical information
  • It can fly between 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 kilometres). Boeing says it is the first mid-size aircraft to be able to carry passengers distances normally only reached by big aircraft
  • It flies at Mach 0.85, which is a similar speed to most of today's fastest passenger planes
  • Half of the plane is made from lightweight composite materials, including carbon fibre. That compares with 12% on the 777 model. The rest of the Dreamliner is made up of 20% aluminium, 15% titanium, 10% steel and 5% from other materials
  • Lithium-ion batteries are being used on a large scale for the first time. The Dreamliner requires powerful batteries because there is more of a reliance on electrical systems than in previous aircraft
  • The combination of lightweight materials and new engines from General Electric and Rolls Royce means that the Dreamliner is 20% more fuel efficient than equivalent aircraft being used today
  • Boeing says it is also 60% less noisy
  • Approximately 70% of the aircraft parts are made in the US

History of the Dreamliner

Timeline

Dreamliner coming in to land.

2004: Dreamliner programme launches with the aircraft billed as the most environmentally friendly plane ever designed. It is Boeing's first new aircraft since 1995. Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) places an order for 50 Dreamliners

• 2006: Boeing takes a record order for new planes, powered by the popularity of the Dreamliner

• 2009: The first test flight takes place on 15 December, 30 months behind schedule

• 2011: Boeing delivers the first Dreamliner to ANA on 26 September - three years late

• 2012: In July, a fan shaft on an engine fails during runway tests at Charleston International Airport, South Carolina

4 Dec, 2012: A United Airlines 787 makes an emergency landing in New Orleans after electrical problems

• 13 Dec, 2012: A Qatar Airways 787 is grounded after electrical power distribution problems

• 17 Dec, 2012: United Airlines finds an electrical problem in a second aircraft

• 2013: On 7 Jan, a fire starts in a lithium ion battery pack of a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston

• 8 Jan, 2013: United Airlines found faulty wiring to battery

• 8 Jan, 2013: Take-off aborted after about 150 litres of fuel spills from Japan Airlines Dreamliner in Boston

• 9 Jan, 2013: ANA cancels a flight after a computer wrongly reports a brake problem

• 11 Jan, 2013: An oil leak is found in an engine of an ANA 787 flight

• 11 Jan, 2013: A cockpit window on an ANA Dreamliner cracks during a Japanese domestic flight. The plane lands safely with no injuries

• 13 Jan, 2013: The same aircraft experiences another, separate fuel leak while undergoing tests in Tokyo

15 Jan, 2013: Another Dreamliner operated by ANA makes an emergency landing at Takamatsu in Japan after a smoke alert goes off

• 16 Jan, 2013: Japan's two main airlines, ANA and Japan Airlines, ground their Dreamliners

• 17 Jan, 2013: All Dreamliners are grounded amid safety concerns

• 13 March 2013: The US airline regulator approves a plan to redesign the problematic lithium-ion batteries

Aircraft orders

There are two Dreamliner models. Model 787-8 has already been delivered and has been experiencing technical difficulties. The average price in 2012 was $206.m (£128m). The first delivery of the bigger Dreamliner, model 787-9, is expected in 2014.

Below are the numbers of 787-8 models ordered and how many have been delivered between January 2004 and December 2012.

Dreamliners ordered and delivered (787-8)

Airline Number ordered Jan 04-Dec 2012 Number delivered

Source: Boeing

Aeroflot - Russian Airlines

22

Aeromexico

2

Air Astana (Kazakhstan)

3

Air Berlin

15

Air Canada

37

Air Europa

8

Air India

27

6

Air Niugini (Papua New Guinea)

1

ALAFCO (Kuwait)

8

All Nippon Airways

36

17

Avianca (Colombia)

15

Aviation Capital Group

5

Azerbaijan Airlines

2

Biman Bangladesh Airlines

4

British Airways

8

Business Jet / VIP Customer(s)

3

China Southern Airlines

10

CIT Leasing Corporation

10

Delta Air Lines

18

Ethiopian Airlines

10

4

Gulf Air

16

Hainan Airlines (China)

10

Icelandair

1

International Lease Finance Corporation

33

Japan Airlines

25

7

Jet Airways (India)

10

Kenya Airways

9

LAN Airlines (Chile)

22

3

Lion Air (Indonesia)

5

LOT Polish Airlines

8

2

Norwegian

3

Oman Air

6

PrivatAir (Switzerland)

2

Qantas (Australia)

15

Qatar Airways

30

5

Republic of Iraq

10

Royal Air Maroc (Moroccan)

4

Royal Jordanian

7

Transaero Airlines (Russian)

4

Travel Service (Czech Republic)

1

TUI Travel PLC (UK)

13

Unidentified Customers

7

United Air Lines (US)

36

6

Uzbekistan Airways

2

Total

523

50

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