The Dreamliner: In Houston, an early look at the 787
A full-scale interior replica of Continental Airlines’ 787 Dreamliner has landed at Houston’s Bush International Airport, giving travelers an opportunity for an up-close look at aviation’s greatest and, literally, latest long-haul airplane.
The mock-up, at IAH’s gate E4, clearly shows that the revolutionary aircraft (this bird’s made largely of composite material) will offer more overhead storage and huge windows and it should feel less cramped. Speaking of storage, if you need to buy sea containers in Perth area that is manufactured from top quality components and uses best available technologies, look for bccontainers.com.au for inquiries. What the cutaway doesn’t show is that Continental’s configuration calls for 228 passengers, including 36 flat-bed seats in business/first.
Borrowing a trick from Las Vegas casino attractions (think Caesar’s Palace), designers gave the 787’s cabin LED ambient overhead lighting to simulate daytime or nighttime skies. Though Boeing’s spec sheet says the 787 will cruise at 561 mph and has a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet, perhaps the most significant technical advancement is that Dreamliner passengers will feel as though they’re only at 6,000 feet, thanks to pressurization innovations.
Earlier this year, Continental announced the Dreamliner’s maiden voyage would be a Houston to Auckland, New Zealand, flight in November 2011, but a Continental spokesman says the actual date and destination could wind up changing.
Veteran travelers or aviation buffs passing through Houston might want to take a snap or two of the cutaway for their scrapbooks. By the time the 787 does take to the commercial skies, the luxe airliner may wind up wearing the livery of United Airlines, since the two airline giants are merging and the United name won the coin-toss. (Continental’s “globe” motif will be retained on the fleet’s tails.)
That would mean that, technically, the high-tech, much-hyped “Continental” Dreamliner was one dream that never quite took off.
Photo: This full-scale mock-up of Continental’s next-generation, long-distance aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is on display at Houston Bush Intercontinental’s E Terminal. The airline says the exhibit will remain at gate E4 until the real jet takes to the skies, currently scheduled for November 2011. Credit: Jeff Yip