Wednesday, October 13, 2010

787 keeps movin' along

As the time to first delivery draws closer, Boeing is ramping up both production as well as the pace of flight testing.

Flight Testing

The 787 flight test fleet is closing on 2000 flight hours flown, they can potentially break through that mark today. The Rolls Royce powered 787s got a real work out on Oct. 12th flying almost 24 flight hours during the day and breaking through the 1800 flight hour mark for the RR/787 flight test combination. Hopefully this signals a push to accumulate the remaining 35% flight test requirements needed to certify the Rolls powered 787s. Boeing has completed almost 75% of the require flight test hours needed to certify the Trent 1000 powered 787s so they are getting close.

While the first four 787s are being pushed, ZA005 is at Everett for some standard inspections as well as fuel transfer tests. ZA006 remains at Boeing Field going through the post first flight lay up where additional flight test instrumentation is being installed. I haven't heard when those two airplanes will be flying again. Currently about 27% of the GEnx/787 flight test hours have been flown.

ZA102 is now scheduled to fly around November 24th instead of November 9th though that date may change. This will be the first flight of a production standard 787 with a full customer interior. Both ZA101 and ZA102 have its Trent 1000 engines. ZA101 will undertake ground testing though I'm not sure if it has a customer interior as well.

Next month ZA004 will down for about a month while it gets new Trent 1000 engines with the package "B" improvements meant to bring the engines to within 1% of the promised SFC (specific fuel consumption) that Rolls Royce promised to its customers.


As the flight test wring out the 787 for delivery, Boeing is slowly ramping up 787 production. Currently ZA230 will moved out of position 4 in building 40-26 and the line should pulse on October 15th but the next airplane ZA233 (LN 29) won't be loaded into position 1 until October 26th. I'm still trying to find out why the 11 day delay. ZA234 (LN 30, a 787 for Air India) is due to start final assembly 9 days later. This indicates that Boeing is attempting a 9 to 10 day run with each airframe is in each of the 4 assembly positions 9 to 10 day. This translates to a final assembly run for each 787 of about 36 to 40 days in building 40-26. At that rate, Boeing should be at ZA236 (LN 35, the 35th 787 being built is for Air India) by the end of the year though they will have 30 787s built and out on the flightline.

Speaking of the flightline, the parking spots for airplanes at Everett are getting full. So full that Boeing is now parking airplanes in a small ramp area in fron of the Future of Flight Museum. According to Matt Cawby, Boeing has leased out space at Everett near the air control tower as well asto the south of the asembly halls in order to store built but undelivered 787s.

Lastly, Flightblogger took a trip to 787 suppliers in Asia and has put up an excellent post of the 787 suppliers in Korea with some great photos. It is a great read.

Flightblogger: From Busan to Boeing: 787s Asian Supply Chain Part 1

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