As a former Boeing employee (1962 to 1964 Helicopter Div.), I sincerely hope the 787 lives up to all its expectations. Aircraft manufacturing is one the great exports from the United States. Although many parts are made overseas, the main assembly is done in the US. Fuel is an extremely expensive component of operating an airline. A 20% more efficient aircraft has to be attractive. I just hope the 3 year delay hasn't too severely hurt the overall program.
It is not correct to make a blanket statement that test and integration get no respect. These activities are dependent on design engineering and execute nearer to the end of the development life cycle. It is Program Management's fault for making 'made for success' schedules which guarantee broken milestones. Thus test and integration are always put into a time squeeze. It is only Program Management that has no respect.
More than a decade ago, Nova aired a terrific story about the development and testing of the 777. It included a clip of the ultimate static test of the wing, bending up more than 23 feet before the incredible failure. I hope we'll get to see that for the 787 and its composite wings.
These are exciting times for the space travel! I have been following SpaceX for several years now and remembered sitting at the computer in the early morning hours watching a live feed on one of their first launches of the Falcon 1 rocket. Wow! Right there (so to speak).
I know that many people bemoan the change of role for NASA but I really think it is so exciting that people such as Elon Musk see the challenge of commercial space travel and see that they can make some money at it. At times, I wish I was much younger and that I could participate in these activities. Ah, well - I'll just have to content myself with sitting on the sidelines and cheering them on.
The application of the new hybrid material technologies in the new Dreamliner is exciting to see. Use of the carbon fiber for the wing construction may prove out the use of the material in many other high volume consumer products.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.