Two years behind schedule, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is due to fly for the first time today. There was a lot of carping from the Seattle crowd when the Airbus 380 was similarly delayed nearly four years ago. However, the two-decker A380 was so obviously a quantum leap ahead of what was already flying, the delay seemed excusable to many of the public-at-large interested in these things.
This isn’t quite the case with the Boeing 787, which to the uneducated eye looks distinctly unrevolutionary, being similar in size and layout to a B767. However, don’t be fooled – Boeing’s latest offering is perhaps even more of a leap ahead than Airbus’. Here’s one humdrum little fact gleaned from Boeing’s website to drive this home – the construction of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet involves drilling one million holes, while the making of a Boeing 787 requires drilling fewer than 10,000. Which really is revolutionary when you think about it.