Friday, May 1, 2009

Major 787 Update

With Boeing briefing the media over the last couple of days regarding the 787, there has been a lot of information coming out of Everett.

First Jon Ostrower got an amazing amount of pictures especially of Dreamliner 1 in the paint hanger at Everett. Check out his Flickr page here and scroll through photos he took this past week which includes the 747-8 final assembly as well as the 787.

Also there is a nice video from the Seattle Times of the 787:

Now on to the meat. Dreamliner 1 is still in the paint hanger after having it's fuel tanks under go the aqueous wash to remove the dirt and debris. Technicians are now installing the final test flight instrumentation and wiring as well as closing up access panels they needed to remove in order to wash the tanks.

During the day today (Friday, May 1st) Boeing will rerun electrical systems tests to make sure the glitch that showed up last weekend doesn't reoccur. All this work is expected to be completed today.

It is expected that Dreamliner 1 will be towed to the fuel dock just outside the paint hanger on Saturday where the fuel loading instrumentation will be tested and calibrated and the first load of fuel is pumped into the 787s three large tanks (one in each wing and one in the center wing box).

Soon after the fueling, Boeing will start up the APU and the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines for the first time and kicking off the intermediate gauntlet. The intermediate gauntlet should kick off sometime next week. Part of the intermediate gauntlet testing is to replicate the factory gauntlet tests but instead of being hooked up to an external power cart power will be provided by the 787's engines and APU. This will be key test to make sure that the 787 will be able to generate all the power it needs for flight.

Meanwhile work is continuing on the other 5 test flight airplanes with Dreamliner 2 finishing up ground vibration tests yesterday. One person there told me that Dreamliner 2 looks fantastic. Dreamliner 3 still needs some work and the engines have yet to put on Dreamliner 4 through 6 and are still in varying stages of work. It is expected that Dreamliner 2 will be flying within three weeks of Dreamliner 1 though it is not known yet when the other 4 test flight airplanes will be ready to fly or in what order.

As far as intangibles, people I've talked to feel that there is a huge amount of optimism at Everett with the 787. One very knowledgeable industry watcher told me:

"Yes, there’s an optimism there I haven’t seen since 777 days again – no
doubt about it. Now they’ve started to discover the 787’s “little ways” (ie –
how different it is to test an aircraft with fully-integrated avionics/systems),
I think they’re feeling a lot better."

There are several sources for all this information so here are the link and enjoy the very informative read:

Guy Norris' 8th report

Guy Norris' 9th report

Flightblogger report

Seattle Times Report

Airwise Report

Seattle Post Intelligencer

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