New materials are star of ‘Dreamliner’: Boeing

SEATTLE, Washington, July 6, 2007 (AFP) – The revolutionary materials used to build Boeing’s ground-breaking Dreamliner 787 passenger jet look set to transform the civil aviation industry forever, officials said Friday. Speaking to journalists ahead of the 787’s formal roll-out on Sunday, Boeing officials declared that the composite plastics that make up around 50 percent of the plane were here to stay.

Jeff Hawk, Boeing’s director of certification, Government relations and environment for the 787 program, told journalists he was unaware of any drawbacks to using composites.

Twice as strong as conventional materials, lighter than aluminium and offering greater resistance to fire, state-of-the-art carbon fibre will be used in the fuselage of a commercial passenger jet for the first time with the 787, a medium-to-long range plane capable of seating up to 330 people.

The lighter weight of the aircraft’s component materials allow the Dreamliner to make massive savings on fuel — around 20 percent less than similar-sized planes — according to Boeing.

With the aviation industry responsible for consuming around four percent of the annual global total of fossil fuels, the Dreamliner’s vastly superior fuel-ef