Boeing Co. made an important annoucement yesterday that, surprisingly, isn't featured prominently anywhere on this news site: It is again delaying the first test flight of its 787 Dreamliner long-haul jet. The 787 doesn't seem likely to fly until next year after the company said it needs to strengthen small areas where the wings are joined to the fuselage.
Boeing's long struggle to get the new-technology plane in the air serves as a lesson in how challenging it is to build sophisticated machines using materials and techniques not used before. The 787 is the first commercial aircraft to replace aluminum with composite material, and the fuel efficiency of the resulting product has made it wildly popular with airlines. Boeing has 866 orders for the plane so far.