On Tuesday, thousands watched as the long-awaited 787 Dreamliner, Boeings newest high-tech jet, took a hitch-less first flight over the companys manufacturing site in Washington state. Unmatched by other commercial 787s in length, weight, and cargo volume, the Dreamliner boasts a range of 8,500 nautical miles (the longest of any 787) and is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. Its radical, light (relatively-speaking) design (made of over 50 percent composite materials, versus aluminum) means it will use 20 percent less fuel than similar jets while increasing cargo capacity by as much as 45 percent. Passengers will benefit from countless cushy innovations like cleaner cabin air, larger windows, more stowage space, improved lighting, and a quieter ride. No surprise, then, that the Dreamliner has broken the record for fastest-selling new commercial jetliner in history, with over 840 orders currently on the books. Six planes will now undergo nine months of worldwide, around-the-clock test flights before being delivered to the first lucky customer, Japan’s All Nippon Air, late next year.
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