New 787 Dreamliner at Phoenix Sky Harbor


by Tess Rafols

Bio | Email | Follow: @Tess3TV

Video report by Marie Saavedra

Posted on March 9, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 15 at 3:12 PM

PHOENIX -- It's all the buzz in the world of aviation.

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is appropriately named as early reviews call it a dream come true for passengers, a "game-changer" jetliner.

To debut the plane, The Dreamliner Tour is making stops all over the world.

The new jetliner touched down at Sky Harbor International Airport Friday afternoon for a weekend visit. 

Passengers will immediately see a difference when they step onto the plane. Special cabin features include futuristic-looking comfy seats, LED lighting, bigger windows with dimmable tint, bigger one-touch overhead baggage compartments, individual integrated seats and larger aisles. Those are just some of the obvious visible differences.

Then are things you won't see, like a new HEPA filtration system that will let you breathe cleaner air.

For the first time, a plane of this size has been built with one single barrel, instead of parts. The wings have special sensors to better guide pilots. The cabin pressure is lower.

It's not the biggest plane, it's not the fastest, but it does have some advanced technology that sets it apart.

It took 4,000 companies to build this jet, including Honeywell.

Over the last several years, workers right here in the Valley have been developing, building and testing systems integral to the plane's aerodynamics.

At the Honeywell building at 19th Avenue and Deer Valley Road, 1,000 employees have worked on four programs including flight management, flight control and communications.

"This is very exciting," said Bob Witwer, vice president of Aviation Systems at Honeywell. "The 787 is the plane of the future, but we have it now and we played a role in creating it. Doesn't get any better than that."

Witwer explained they were able to streamline the flight control system, giving pilots only the buttons and knobs they need at that moment.

The end result: a more simple looking cockpit and easier to use for pilots.

Thanks to Honeywell's work in the flight control system alone, Boeing was able to cut out thousands of pounds of extra weight. A lighter plane means a faster plane.

It's also 20 percent more fuel efficient than other jets of the same size.

The first flight from the United States is set for late April from Boston non-stop to Tokyo on Japan Airlines.

Witwer and thousands of Honeywell and Boeing employees will get to see their hard work pay off by getting a tour of the plane this weekend.

Witwer admits he shed a tear when he first saw the 777. He's pretty sure the 787 will bring out those emotions of pride and joy that he claims only an aerodynamics lover would understand.