Proposed route from San Francisco hub would be first service by a U.S. carrier to mainland China beyond Beijing, Shanghai

On 29/08/2013, in Airline corner, by steve

United Airlines has  applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation for authority to begin nonstop service linking the airline’s San Francisco hub with Chengdu, China, the fourth-largest Chinese city, effective June 9, 2014.

787United intends to use the world’s most advanced passenger airplane, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, to operate three-times-weekly service to Chengdu. If approved, Chengdu will be the ninth destination United serves in the Asia/Pacific region nonstop from San Francisco, from which United offers more nonstop trans-Pacific flights from the United States than any other carrier – nearly twice as many as any airline from any West Coast city.

Flight Schedule
The proposed flights, subject to government approval, will depart San Francisco International Airport at 1:35 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 6:50 p.m. the following day (all times local). Service from Chengdu will depart at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 8:50 a.m. the same day. Flying times will be approximately 14 hours, 15 minutes westbound and 13 hours, 50 minutes eastbound. This new nonstop flight will shave nearly four hours off the typical travel time between the two cities.

About Chengdu
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China, is the country’s fourth largest city, with a population of approximately 14 million in the urban area. In recent years, Chengdu has been one of the country’s fastest-developing cities economically, and more than 200 Fortune 500 companies have a presence in the city. Sichuan is famous as the natural habitat of the giant panda and home to one of China’s most popular cuisines.

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United 787s back in business

On 13/05/2013, in Airline corner, by steve

Domestic flights begin this month and international flights in June

United Airlines is preparing to reintroduce Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights, bringing back the world’s most advanced and efficient aircraft on domestic and international routes.

crew“Our customers responded extremely well when we introduced the 787, and we know they’ll welcome it back,” said Pete McDonald, United’s chief operations officer. “Boeing and the FAA were diligent in their work to fix the battery issue, and now the Dreamliner is poised to fly the missions we planned and provide our customers with the features and reliability they want on their long-haul flights.”

Boeing already converted two of United’s six Dreamliners to the new FAA standards and will soon convert the remainder of United’s fleet. The airline has scheduled flights to begin on May 20 on routes from Houston to other domestic hubs. United will begin international 787 flying on the Denver-Tokyo route on June 10.

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,446 flights a day to more than 370 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America.

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Dreamliners back in the air, controllers back on the job…

On 01/05/2013, in Viewpoint, by steve

devilUnless I am very much mistaken, the grounding of the Boeing 787 has been the longest in aviation history and only the DC-10 comes close, but that was in another time and age. Just a coincidence, of course, but still a telling story and a sign of this age the FAA’s enforced decision last month to furlough air traffic controllers due to a shortage of money caused by the federal budget restrictions implemented by politicians with little understanding of what this would cause in specialized areas like aviation.

Boeing screwed up big time with the 787 battery system as did Washington with its lawn-mower approach to straightening the federal budget.

Of course this was not the first major issue with the design of the 787. The center wing-box is now much heavier that was originally foreseen due to additional bits that had to be bolted on when it was discovered that the first load calculations were incorrect. Not that Airbus did any better with the 380. Incompatible software at different fabrication locations resulted in wire harnesses being too short, probably another first for the industry. Then cracks found on the rib-feet of the wings were discovered accidentally… while engineers were looking at the wing of the Qantas 380 that had one of its engines go boom. While the cracks did not pause an immediate safety problem, had they not been discovered like this, it is anybody’s guess what might have happened later on.

The way air traffic management should be financed has been a matter of debate for a long time now. In Europe, full cost recovery means that basically the airspace users pay everything and there is no danger of the money running out. Except of course if the airspace users themselves go belly up as had happened, well, more or less, after 9/11.

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FAA Approves Boeing 787 Battery System Design Changes

On 19/04/2013, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today took the next step in returning the Boeing 787 to flight by approving Boeing’s design for modifications to the 787 battery system. The changes are designed to address risks at the battery cell level, the battery level and the aircraft level.

Next week, the FAA will issue instructions to operators for making changes to the aircraft and will publish in the Federal Register the final directive that will allow the 787 to return to service with the battery system modifications. The directive will take effect upon publication. The FAA will require airlines that operate the 787 to install containment and venting systems for the main and auxiliary system batteries, and to replace the batteries and their chargers with modified components.

“Safety of the traveling public is our number one priority. These changes to the 787 battery will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

“A team of FAA certification specialists observed rigorous tests we required Boeing to perform and devoted weeks to reviewing detailed analysis of the design changes to reach this decision,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

To assure proper installation of the new design, the FAA will closely monitor modifications of the aircraft in the U.S. fleet. The FAA will stage teams of inspectors at the modification locations. Any return to service of the modified 787 will only take place after the FAA accepts the work.

As the certifying authority, the FAA will continue to support other authorities around the world as they finalize their own acceptance procedures.

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FAA Approves Boeing 787 Certification Plan

On 13/03/2013, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company’s certification plan for the redesigned 787 battery system, after thoroughly reviewing Boeing’s proposed modifications and the company’s plan to demonstrate that the system will meet FAA requirements. The certification plan is the first step in the process to evaluate the 787’s return to flight and requires Boeing to conduct extensive testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance with the applicable safety regulations and special conditions.

dreamliner

“This comprehensive series of tests will show us whether the proposed battery improvements will work as designed,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We won’t allow the plane to return to service unless we’re satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.”

The battery system improvements include a redesign of the internal battery components to minimize initiation of a short circuit within the battery, better insulation of the cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system. Click here to read the full article

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FAA Will Review Boeing 787 Design and Production

On 11/01/2013, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

In light of a series of recent events, the FAA will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly. The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety.

“The safety of the traveling public is our top priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”

A team of FAA and Boeing engineers and inspectors will conduct this joint review, with an emphasis on the aircraft’s electrical power and distribution system. The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening,” said FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

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United 787 Virtual Tour

On 03/11/2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

A virtual tour of United’s Dreamliner is now available through the United Hub here. The virtual tour provides a detailed look at the aircraft’s unique characteristics through a variety of animated, interactive features. The tour enables viewers to sample the Dreamliner’s United BusinessFirst seats, electrochromatic window shades, six styles of LED cabin lighting and more. The virtual tour also includes segments on the 787’s state-of-the-art flight deck, crew rest areas and lavatories, as well as information about the Dreamliner’s General Electric GEnx engines, wing technology and cargo capabilities. A “facts & figures” section of the tour offers a series of graphics that illustrate the Dreamliner’s capabilities and specifications.

Recent photos and video of United’s first 787 aircraft are available for download in the media center here.

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United Airlines Announces First 787 International Routes

On 24/08/2012, in Airline corner, by steve

United Airlines today announced the first international routes for the airline’s newest addition to its fleet, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

In addition to the previously-announced service from its Denver hub to Tokyo Narita, starting March 31, 2013, the airline will operate nonstop 787 service five days a week between its Houston hub and Lagos, Nigeria, beginning Jan. 7, 2013. United will also operate daily, nonstop 787 service between its Los Angeles hub and its Narita hub, beginning Jan. 3, 2013, and Los Angeles to Shanghai, beginning March 30, 2013.

United will also operate daily, nonstop 787 service from its Houston hub to Amsterdam and London Heathrow on a temporary basis. Houston to Amsterdam service begins Dec. 4, 2012, and Houston to London Heathrow service begins Feb. 4, 2013.

“The 787 is the right aircraft for these routes because of its many passenger-friendly amenities and superior operating economics,” says United’s Senior Vice President of Network, Greg Hart. “With 50 787s on order, we look forward to the many new route opportunities that will become available to United and our customers in the future.”

The 787 aircraft will display for sale for these routes on united.com and other distribution channels beginning Aug. 25, while Denver to Narita service is available for sale now. In the near future, United will announce plans for initial domestic flying for the 787, which will precede the launch of international flights described above.

Configured with 36 seats in United BusinessFirst, 72 seats in United Economy Plus and 111 seats in United Economy, the Dreamliner will revolutionize the flying experience for United customers and crews while delivering unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions. Customers will experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features.

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United Airlines’ First 787 Takes Flight

On 21/08/2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

United Airlines’ first 787 Dreamliner has completed its first production flight as Boeing makes final preparations for delivering it to United at the end of September. The aircraft took off from Boeing’s Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on Sunday. Boeing pilots flew the 787 around the Seattle area for more than three hours as part of planned tests of the aircraft’s controls and systems.

During the flight, crew members examined the 787’s onboard systems at high and medium altitudes. They also checked backup and safety elements, including cabin pressurization, avionics, navigation and communications systems.

Sunday’s flight was part of a series of work that Boeing performs after each 787 comes out of its paint hangar and before airlines take delivery of the planes. The work also includes fueling, systems tests, engine runs and taxi tests.

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Boeing 787 Dreamliner dazzles with innovative details

On 31/07/2012, in The aircraft we fly, by steve

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner stands apart from the Boeing aircraft that United currently flies. In fact, it’s different from any aircraft you’ve seen. We’d like to take you on a tour of the 787 inside and out, stopping along the way to show you the innovative features that make this a truly remarkable plane – one that you’re definitely going to want to fly on.

As we get closer to the delivery of the 787, we’ll be offering news and photos that are specific to our own Dreamliner. In fact, we’ll be dedicating an entire section of United Hub to the 787.

787 innovations from the outside in

From its exterior design to the manufacturing materials and build process, the 787 introduces a number of innovations and advances in technology. It’s not always easy to know, just by looking, what model a particular airplane is. But the 787 was designed from the outset to stand out. If you’re one of our customers who is versed in aviation design, you may spot a few distinct features that set it apart from other aircraft including the windshield made of four panels, the graceful sweep of the wings and the smoother contour of the nose.

Composite materials

Along with the design, the most significant exterior innovation is Boeing’s approach to the primary structure of the 787. While other aircraft are made primarily of metal, the 787’s fuselage and wings – a full 50 percent of the whole – are formed of carbon fiber-enforced polymers. Constructing so much of an airplane from composite materials is a truly revolutionary approach.

Composite materials are lighter and more durable than standard metal and these qualities give the 787 the advantage when it comes to incorporating advances in aircraft technology. Other direct benefits of using composites include greater manufacturing efficiency (the fuselage is fashioned as several one-piece barrels), greater fuel efficiency (a 20-percent decrease in fuel consumption), fewer hours of maintenance over the long run and lower cabin altitude for more comfortable flights.

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