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Fuel-Efficient 787 Dreamliner On Display At National Airport

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Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner jet airliner at National Airport as part of the "Dream Tour."
Elliott Francis
Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner jet airliner at National Airport as part of the "Dream Tour."

Passengers might not be able to fly on it until 2014, but a new and environmentally-efficient commercial airliner went on display at Reagan National Airport this week.

At first glance, the 787 Dreamliner resembles many other planes in its class, such as the popular 767. Inside the cabin of the aircraft, however, something is different.

Composite materials such as carbon-fiber reinforced plastics make up 50 percent of the plane's primary structure, including portions of the fuselage and wing. The twin engines are all electrical, so-called "bleedless," and run more efficiently, producing 20 percent fewer emissions according to Boeing officials.

But the biggest advantage, according to company spokesperson Mike Kericer, is the plane's fuel economy.

"You put those all together, you have a lighter airplane, better aerodynamics, and a more efficient system and that's how we burn 20 percent less gas then our competitors and even our own airplanes in the same category.," he said. 

And all those modern improvements don't affect the flight, according to pilots. "All that new technology, whether it's the carbon fiber, or the bleed less engines, none of that takes away from how well the airplane flies," Neville says. "It's just a great flying airplane."

The plan is in town as part of Boeing's "Dream Tour," a campaign to show off the plane. Although the 787 officially went into service in October of 2011, no U.S. carriers currently use the model. It will spend the next four days on display at terminal A in Reagan National Airport. American Airlines has ordered 42 of the planes, and is expected to take delivery of the first one sometime in 2014.

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