Boeing is Mum on Mystery Customer

Unnamed customer orders $5.4 billion worth of 787 Dreamliners

A training suite, including the simulator, can cost from $10 million to $20 million. And the time spent training in a simulator is not cheap, either. That can run from $200 an hour to as much as $1,000 an hour.

Alteon operates more than 80 full-flight simulators at more than 23 training locations around the world. The Alteon centers offer airlines a suite of services, not just a simulator.

None of the planned 787 training centers is open. The Thales simulators are not ready.

The first Thales 787 simulator should arrive at the Alteon headquarters by early next year.

In addition to the two locations in the United States, Alteon is initially setting up these 787 training centers in England, China, Japan, Singapore, Australia and India.

By establishing flight centers around the world, Alteon can offer airlines training close to their home base.

"They no longer have the expense of flying to Seattle," Carbary said.

Customers have options. They can pay Alteon to rent simulator time or they can utilize the full services offered by Alteon, which also will supply the instructors.

Typically, about one simulator is needed for 30 widebody planes, Carbary said.

Boeing has forecast a market for about 3,500 planes the size of the 787. Do the math, and that's a lot of 787 simulators over the next 20 years.

"It's amazing how many 787s we are selling," Carbary said of the more than 500 orders Boeing has - including 30 from the mystery customer. Aerospace Notebook is a Wednesday feature by P-I aerospace reporter James Wallace. He can be reached at 206-448-8040 or .

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