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Boeing 787 Takes Off For First Time; Airlines See Denver As Key Beneficiary (VIDEO)

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Yesterday Boeing performed the first test flight of its new 787 model jet, billed at the most innovative in its fleet.

The AP reports on the 787's revolutionary features:

The 787 is a radical departure in aircraft design. Where other passenger jets are made mostly from aluminum and titanium, nearly all of the 787's fuselage and wings are made of lightweight composite materials such as carbon fiber, accounting for about 50 percent of the aircraft by weight.

Those materials have long been used on individual parts such as rudders, and on military planes, but the 787 is the most ambitious use of the technology aboard a passenger plane.

Boeing says the aircraft will be quieter, produce lower emissions and use 20 percent less fuel than comparable planes, while giving passengers a more comfortable cabin with better air quality and larger windows.

The launch of the 787, which will undergo months more testing before hitting the market, has special significance to Denver. In an interview with the Denver Business Journal, Tom Clark, President of the Metro Denver Economic Development, said that Boeing had mid-sized cities in mind when it designed the 787.

Clark told the Denver Business Journal that the market for flights from Denver to Japan is about 280 passengers per day. This corresponds roughly with the passenger capacity of the 787. He expects United airlines to work with All Nippon Airways to make Denver a hub of sorts for daily flights to Japan using 787's.

Watch video of the 787's maiden flight: