First flight of the Boeing 787

By Paul Parkinson

parkinson_lg.jpgToday, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner made its first flight from Everett, Washington. One of our Wind River colleagues, Chip Downing, was able to attend this historic event in person, and shot the following video:

This is the culmination of years of development of a completely new aircraft which uses many state-of-the-art technologies to significantly improve efficiency, operating range and passenger comfort.

For instance, the 787 employs an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture using VxWorks 653, Wind River's world-class ARINC 653 compliant RTOS. This approach which drastically reduces the amount of space, weight and power (SWaP) required for the aircraft's on-board avionics systems. The reduction in weight of avionics systems and
cabling results in a reduced fuel load requirement, or increased range for the same fuel load, and of course reduced CO2 emissions. Similarly, the reduction in the space required for the avionics systems can increase the space available for passengers, luggage and cargo.

(If you want to know more about the 787 development and DO-178B safety certification approach, read Alex Wilson's recent blog, and for details of VxWorks 653, there's a white paper available for download here).

In addition, the composite fuselage not only helps to make the aircraft lighter (improving fuel consumption further), but also enables higher cabin pressures to be used, which will result in passengers feeling more relaxed and less fatigued. When coupled with the advanced air-conditioning systems and state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 jet engines and noise-reductions technologies, this provides the promise of greater passenger comfort on long haul flights.

This is of course, just the start, as the 787 will continue to evolve through its operational lifetime, just as the 747 has done over the last forty years. So, I wonder what other technologies will appear in the future?

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing the 787 grace the skies above the Farnborough Air Show and taking a flight on one with British Airways in the near future. Congratulations, Boeing!