Tuesday, December 1, 2009

787 may fly on Dec. 14th

Photo by Liz Matzelle

Sources have told me that Boeing is targeting Dec. 14 at 10AM for the first flight of the 787.

This schedule is dependent on three important tasks being completed:
1. Detailed analysis of wing limit load test
2. Gauntlet testing (presumably done concurrently with the detailed wing load limit analysis)
3. Low/High speed taxi test and rejected take off tests

Sources have also said that ZA001 can start engine runs as early as this week.
ZA002 is not ready to undertake any testing as its fuel tanks are not closed or have had an aqueous wash after the modifications.

The immediate question is can Boeing pull it off so soon? They can in my opinion. When Boeing announced the latest delay, they were one week away from first flight and had completed all the major gauntlet testing and were about to start taxi tests, some of which they did do (low speed). With the potential clearance of the side of body flaw in about 10 days, Boeing would be back to the same spot they were on June 23rd. Boeing can concurrently carry out the detailed analysis of the static tests along with the gauntlet retesting as well as conduct low speed taxi runs up to the point that the detailed analysis is complete during those next 10 days. If it done by Dec. 10th then Boeing can have four days to do high speed taxi runs and rejected take off testing and go immediately into flight test mode on Dec. 14th.

Finally I reported that the 787 and 747-8 would make the first flight on the same day. That has since been disproved and the 747-8F will make it's first flight on Jan. 14th as I had posted earlier.
UPDATE - Flightblogger also is reporting the same news that ZA001 can be flying as early as Dec. 14th weather permitting.

No comments: