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2009 Luxury Preview: Boeing 787 VIP

Mary Grady

When the first 787 VIP rolls off the assembly line in Everett, Wash., in a few years, Boeing will send the new aircraft to a completion center of the purchaser’s choice for custom-designed interior work. in anticipation of such a project, Magnus Aspegren, creative director of BMW Group DesignworksUSA, has produced a design concept for an imaginary client who Boeing describes as a Russian billionaire in his mid-30s. "We invented a whole personal history for this owner and imagined a day in his life," Aspegren explains, "so that we could provide for everything he might need or desire."

BMW’s designs include a gourmet kitchen, two guest rooms, a master suite, an office, a fitness center, and a space for live performances. The cargo hold has room for one or more automobiles. "We also used some of the cargo space to create multiple levels, for a vertical visual experience," Aspegren says. "And we thought he would have a modern aesthetic, so that’s reflected in the lines and design." The result is a clean, open cabin that promises to keep the owner and his friends comfortable as they travel the globe.

With more than 2,400 square feet of personal space that can be customized for high-altitude comfort, the technologically advanced 787 VIP—the executive version of Boeing’s much-discussed Dreamliner—should satisfy a billionaire’s needs. Boeing engineers designed the aircraft with the passenger experience in mind. Advanced environmental systems improve the quality and pressure of the cabin air, which should help reduce jet lag. High-speed Internet connections enhance communication and entertainment options on the 787 VIP. The windows are oversized, and instead of using standard pull-down shades, passengers will press a button to set window opacity, from clear to black.

New technologies also improve the plane’s efficiency and reliability. Advanced composite materials create a fuselage that is lighter, stronger, and more durable than ones made of conventional metals. According to Boeing, the 787 VIP uses 20 percent less fuel than today’s airliners of similar size. The pilots’ flight deck features the latest avionics and navigation gear, and gust-suppression technology will automatically dampen turbulence, for the smoothest possible ride. With a range of more than 11,000 miles, the jet is capable of staying aloft for 22 hours, long enough to fly nonstop to just about anywhere in the world.

At press time, Boeing had sold 16 787 VIPs, which start at $150 million, to private owners and charter operators. The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery to a completion center in 2012, although deliveries of the commercial version will commence in 2009.

Boeing, 206.662.4300, www.boeing.com; BMW Group DesignworksUSA (California studio), 805.499.9590, www.designworksusa.com

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