Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Well a partial mystery. In an earlier post, I revealed that ZA135 (LN 66) was pulled out of the final assembly line in building 40-26 and out onto the apron in front of Boeing's final assembly hall. At the time I wasn't sure if it had engines attached or if the airplane was buttoned up. Thanks to a spotter in the Everett area the airplane is buttoned up (windows and doors are covered up and sealed). However it does have the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 hanging from the wings. Boeing has not equipped 787s with engines until they are ready to be delivered. However, the airplanes are sealed if they are going to spend time in storage until it has to go through change incorporation. It seems that there is a mixed message with this airplane. Perhaps it is ready to go straight to the flightline for the standard pre-delivery work including painting but Boeing needs to deliver the other 787s that are on the verge of delivery. There are 4 787s that are being readied for delivery to ANA along with one for Qatar and two for Air India. Perhaps there is a small amount of work that needs to be done on this airplane and then it can go straight into pre-delivery? I suspect the answer is something in between. Where this airplane goes will be the next clue as to the state of the 787 program. If there is still work to be done and it has an extended stay on the Boeing tarmac, that is not good at least in the short term and the expectation that Boeing has turned the corner on the program would be severely damaged. If however the plane is able to take flight before the end of the month then it's not an issue and Boeing would have truly turned a corner.