Gridiron debut

We know the 787’s carbon fiber structure is light—but strong. And now, it’s being put to work in the air and on the gridiron.

Boeing is teaming up with Russell Athletic to use excess carbon fiber in athletic gear. The material will first be used in Russell’s new CarbonTek football shoulder pads.


Pro football wide receiver Pierre Garcon wears the CarbonTek shoulder pad system, with an exosketon made of 787 carbon fiber. He’s seen here inside a 787 carbon composite fuselage.

Those pads have the sports industry’s first-ever exoskeleton made of aerospace-grade carbon fiber, which is thinner, stronger and approximately 10 percent lighter compared to competitors. Sounds a lot like our Dreamliners.

We’re told several elite college players will be wearing the special shoulder pads throughout this year’s football season, as well as pro stars Pierre Garcon, Mark Ingram and Colt McCoy.

While all of this is exciting for both aviation and football fans, it’s also an important part of Boeing’s environmental efforts. We already market surplus factory materials and we see more opportunities to repurpose carbon fiber as we keep building 787s and eventually composite wings for the 777X.


Carbon fiber used to manufacture the 787 Dreamliner.

Enjoy the video below that has some behind the scenes footage of Russell Athletic’s ad campaign.

Comments (2)

James Baloun (Palo Alto, California):

Boeing takes being the 12th-man seriously! Tough material to keep both players and passengers comfortable and safe.

Norman Garza (Long Beach, CA):

Much like steel, aluminum, and plastic was the high tech material of the 20th century, carbon fiber is the high tech and high durability material of the 21st century.

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