Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More progress

We're only 4 days into June but there are signs of continued progress on the 787.

Jon Ostrower, in his blog, reported that Saudi Arabian Airlines has committed to 12 787s in a mixture of leased and purchased aircraft. This is supposed to be a firm contract though Boeing has not said anything as of yet. See Jon's report here.

Hamilton Sundstrand, who is manufacturing the power supply units for the 787 now has delivered "everything Boeing needs to turn the power on." David Hess, the President of Hamilton Sundstrand said "All the hardware and software that Boeing needs to power on is ready and in Seattle right now."

Pat Shanahan promised David Hess a huge meal if Hamilton Sundstrand delivered the power supply units on time. I hope Pat has enough funds to feed these guys!

The power supply units and the brake monitoring system were the only worries left. Now that the power supply is no longer an impediment to power on, it is looking more and more likely that power on can be achieved by the end of this month. I have heard rumors that there is still plenty on work left to be done on Dreamliner 1 and I've heard that Boeing may not even make the June 30th deadline. There is no specifics yet but even Pat Shanahan said that it would be a horse race to get power on by June 30th.

As to the brake monitor issue. That is not needed for power on but will be absolutely necessary before Boeing takes Dreamliner 1 outside to the ramp for the start of ground and taxi tests. No word on the resolution of that issue.

Last sign of progress, one of the 747 Dreamlifters left yesterday for Nagoya, Japan. rumor has it that it is picking up the wings for Dreamliner 4 to be delivered into Everett later this week. Also later this week, ZY998, the 787 fatigue test airframe is due to be pulled out of building 40-26 at Everett and moved to the fatigue test area north of the final assembly plant. With that move, Dreamliner 2 can move up to position 3 and Dreamliner 3 can move up to position 2 to continue final assembly. This will leave the MOAB at position 1 free to accept Dreamliner 4. Currently the horizontal tail plane and the vertical tail plane (fin/rudder) are the only major parts of Dreamliner 4 in at Everett. It looks like Boeing will meet it's deadline in getting ZY998 out and starting work on Dreamliner 4 prior to June 30th.

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