Boeing announced today that it has decided on a firm configuration for the next iteration of the Dreamliner. The company said it has finished the trade studies required to finalize the 787-9's overall capability and basic design, allowing the OEM and its suppliers to begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems. As the partners complete and release detailed designs, production can begin. Boeing has scheduled first delivery of the 787-9 for late 2013.
A slightly bigger version of the 787-8, the 787-9 will seat 250 to 290 passengers-16 percent more than the Dreamliner now engaged in flight testing. The 787-9 will offer a range of 8,000 to 8,500 nm. The 787-8's range falls between 7,650 and 8,200 nm.
“We have a disciplined process in place to ensure we have completed all of the requirements for the development stage of the program,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “The team has done a fantastic job to get us through this important milestone.”
Some 20 feet longer than the first version of the Dreamliner, the 787-9 weighs considerably more than its smaller sibling. Boeing lists its mtow at 545,000 pounds, compared with 502,500 pounds for the 787-8. Originally expected to carry the same fuel capacity as the 787-8, the 787-9 underwent a redesign that included the addition of a forward fuel tank after potential customers expressed a need for more range. Although it also gained some structural reinforcement, its wingspan stayed the same at 197 feet.