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Fri, Oct 20, 2006

Lufthansa Technik Will Outfit Boeing's New 787 BBJ

This Ultimate Flying Yacht Will Be Nicer Than Your House

by ANN Associate Editor James Aronovsky

It has more than twice the floor space of my condo, (2,400+ square feet), and one airborne seat costs more than the value of all the furniture in my house combined, but it sure is dreamy to imagine living in the new 787 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) -- aptly named the "Dreamliner".

Lufthansa Technik (LT), a Hamburg, Germany - based completion firm, has been tasked with creating the first 787 version of the Boeing Business Jet, though perhaps "Boeing Pleasure Jet" would be a better title. LT introduced the design at the recently concluded NBAA show in Orlando.

Lufthansa Technik is no stranger to converting large airliners into executive transports. They've completed a number of BBJ's, ACJs (Airbus Corporate Jetliner), smaller regional airliners, and even two 747s. Their reputation for converting these aircraft into pleasure craft came about five years ago when world-renowned designer Andrew Winch came to them with a small challenge.

Already famous for designing interiors for the world's most expensive yachts, Winch had been working on the interior of the largest yacht on the planet when the owner asked him to change course. He wanted to convert a Boeing Business Jet 2 into a flying version of his yacht and wanted it right away. When Winch came to LT for help, a perfect synergy occurred and Winch and Lufthansa Technik have been collaborators ever since.

Though it is believed no hot tubs have been installed -- yet-- the interiors of Winch-designed jets are as opulent and luxurious as any yacht found floating off the coast of the Riviera. His design for the first Dreamliner is also one that is highly unlikely to match my home.

The design includes 32 lie-flat seats or beds, including nine double beds. Of course, we're not counting the master stateroom in the stern which will sport a king-size bed.

  • My house: one king-size bed (score!), one fold-out couch, and an air mattress.

This master stateroom has a sitting room complete with a 42 inch plasma screen, a private office to the side with full library and communications capabilities, and a chaise lounge if you need to relax after a hard day at your office. It also sports a large circular shower and his and her basins.  

  • My bedroom: 21 inch tube-type TV, an antique rocking chair of my wife's, and a regular telephone. Regulation-size tub and shower in the bathroom with normal sink.

Next is the movie theater cabin complete with 50 inch plasma screen and room for a half dozen of your buddies to watch the latest flick. They can grab a cold one from the fully stocked wet bar on the port side.

  • My living room: 27 inch TV and a beer-filled refrigerator in the kitchen.

Following forward up the keel are the combination dining/conference room for ten persons and of course your option for a number of multi-function spaces in the remaining cabin. If there's anything about the design that doesn't agree with you, feel free to dream up your own flying mansion. They will only be too delighted to accommodate your every wish.

  • My dining room: a lovely six person kitchen table which multi-functions as my home office.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is also being designated an "iPod compatible" aircraft with its extensive high-tech composite structure. Andrew Winch Designs is using that Apple product as the centerpiece of the elaborate surround-sound audio system available at every station.

  • My audio entertainment center: an OK stereo system with two gigantic college-era wooden speakers my wife hates.

Additionally, the lighter, quieter plane allows for an increased range so you can visit more of your earth-based ground mansions more often. Of course, why would you want to stay in a home that just sits there in the same place? The 787 Dreamliner becomes the perfect platform for an aircraft you may never want to deplane.

Winch said that based on his ocean-going yacht experience, larger FBOs are becoming the new marinas for the jet set and he expects that more business aircraft will double as pleasure planes. After the first 787 is delivered to Lufthansa Technik, each design will take about three to six months, and the work completed about a year later.

The cost? If you have to ask, you not only can't afford it, you probably have a house more like mine than the one they're building between the wings of the 787.

But one can dream...

FMI: www.boeing.com , www.lufthansa-technik.com 

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