Monday, August 23, 2010

Flightblogger details aircraft program delays, 787 poised to pass half way mark of test program

Flightblogger, in the last few days, detailed issues facing both Boeing and Airbus in their various aircraft development programs. Airbus is facing a delay that, according to a Bernstein Research report, could potential push back the delivery of the A350 into mid 2014. It is already widely known that Airbus has used up all remaining schedule margin in the program and has pushed out the start date of final assembly of the first aircraft as well as the first flight date by 3 months while at the same time reducing the test flight schedule by 3 months in order to maintain the mid-2013 delivery of the A350-900 to Qatar Airways. Airbus continues to struggle with weight and design issues with the A350 as it tries to start production activities at the same time. The result, it seems is that many suppliers are producing parts only to have Airbus hand them redesigns on those same parts.

Flightblogger: Three years before EIS, A350 forecasted to slip to 2014

Flightblogger also wrote about Boeing two most important commercial development programs being delayed further. The 787 is already two and half years late and an uncontained failure of a Trent 1000 test engines at Rolls Royce's test facility in Derby, UK is threatening to pull this aircraft's delivery further to the right. Boeing and Rolls Royce are investigating the failure and Roll Royce may have to repeat some certification tests before first delivery to ANA. Boeing has said that flight testing has not been effect to date and indeed, ZA002 is flying a long 14 hour test flight over the North Pole today to test the aircraft's navigation system. A t this hour as I write this the aircraft is still flying.

Flightblogger: 787 schedule in jeopardy following Trent 1000 testbed failure

Flightblogger: Regulatory authorities confirm Trent 1000 failure was uncontained

Boeing is still flying the Rolls powered 787s in the test flight fleet and in fact ZA002 is poised to make the longest 787 flight to date. It is projected to fly about 14 hours tonight having taken off at 7:54 AM PT. On top of this milestone Boeing is also poised to surpass 1,550 flight test hours. This would mark the half way point for the 78 flight test program (a total of 3,100 flight test hours are to be flown). It has taken Boeing over eight months to achieve this milestone and they will have to fly the remaining 1,550 flight hours over the course of the next three and half months in order to type certify the 787 aircraft. Again Flightblogger has a great article about ZA002's flight to the North Pole:

Flightblogger: ZA002 spending Monday going polar for 787's longest flight to date

Guy Norris of Aviation Week has a great description of the 787 navigation system:

Guy Norris: First 787 to the North Pole

Lastly, Flightblogger wrote about the 747-8I coming together and the assembly plans for Boeing largest passenger jet. RC001's main fuselage is being joined and all the large parts should be assembled together later this fall. The roll out should be around the end of the year with first flight in early 2011. However, Flightblogger is also reporting that the testing of the 747-8F is falling behind schedule and first delivery may not occur until 2011.

Flightblogger: First 747-8I begins to come together as 747-8F nears fresh slip

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