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Here is a rendering of the original Boeing 787 design:

787 original design

The plane built can be seen here:

787 as built http://images.franchiseherald.com/data/thumbs/full/3042/570/0/0/0/boeing-787-dreamliner.jpg

Why were the shapes of the nose, tailfin and tailcone changed during the design process?

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe for a less-awkward look. $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann Apr 17 '16 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ The conceptual design was probably drawn by artists under the supervision of the marketing department, not engineers. $\endgroup$ – PJNoes Apr 22 '16 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Your image links are broken. $\endgroup$ – Sean Feb 10 at 4:30
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According to this answer to the same question on Quora, it was changed in order to

keep as many parts common with other Boeing products as possible so they could reuse old part designs, vendors and tools and let the economics of scale help bring down the costs of these parts and thus the entire airplane.

By maintaining a greater similarity to previous Boeing products, the altered designs made the plane easier to design, build and sell, for a few reasons:

  1. Maintaining similarity with older models made the certification process much easier and faster.
  2. Instead of having to revise, test, remodel, and debug an entirely new part, the revised design had a greater background for the engineers to work with.
  3. Completely new parts would have required more work building the machines used to construct the aircraft. Using prior designs led to reduced costs and time required in manufacturing.

Overall, the revised design made the aircraft easier and quicker to design and build which, considering the issues and delays suffered by even the revised model, was a necessity.

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