This Is the First 787 Dreamliner to Be Scrapped

Apr 21, 2018

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One of Boeing’s early 787s is headed for an unwanted fate. The fifth Dreamliner aircraft is on its way to becoming carbon fiber scrap after Boeing spent years searching for a buyer of what’s now a wildly successful long-range widebody jet.

The aircraft is actually the first in the 787 program to be scrapped. The bird will be dismantled in Everett, Washington, home to Boeing’s headquarters, and will be recycled by a German company.

The six 787s have all found a home except for N787FT and N7874. Boeing’s now sold more than 1300 of the aircraft and almost 700 are in the air flying.

Boeing’s Dreamliner No. 5 was one of six test aircraft that Boeing had built when creating the Dreamliner program. Dreamliner No. 1 is on display at Nagoya airport (NGO) in Japan, where the 787s wings are manufactured. The second aircraft had a similar fate and is at Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, while the third is in Seattle on display at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

However, the Dreamliner No. 6 was purchased by the Mexican government and actually ferries the country’s president around the world on state business.

The aircraft carrying Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife Angelica Rivera arrives at Tegel airport in Berlin on April 10, 2016. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
The aircraft carrying Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife Angelica Rivera arrives at Tegel airport in Berlin on April 10, 2016. (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

N787FT, built in 2009, only had 1,600 hours of recorded flight time, which is just a tiny sliver of how long the jet could potentially last. It was stored in 2013 at Everett Paine Field.

As The Seattle Times points out, it took $600 million to build the jetliner, which was an enormous cost to Boeing. The construction of the N787FT was a “production nightmare” because of the discombobulated way Boeing was forced to assemble the aircraft, having to build, dissemble and then reassemble it until they finally had all of the parts.

It serves as a reminder to the early days of the 787 program, which were filled with delays and massive cost overruns. The first Dreamliner was delivered to ANA three years late and analysts suggest that the Dreamliner series may never make a real profit.

Boeing said the first three 787s had no real commercial value but the subsequent test aircraft did. Alas, it was unable to find a buyer for No. 4 and No. 5 and wrote off the aircraft in 2016 for $1.235 billion as a development expense.

A Boeing spokesperson told The Seattle Times that the carbon fiber from N787FT “will be recycled into new products such as electronics and auto parts.” Dreamliner No. 4 is headed for the scrapyard, too, but no date has been confirmed as the aircraft sits in storage in Washington.

H/T: The Seattle Times

Featured image by Andrew W. Sieber / Flickr. 

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