Boeing may be getting set to give AvGeeks and their shareholders a big Xmas gift in the form of several 787 deliveries before the end of the year.
There has a been a noticeable uptick in 787 flight activity both at Everett and Charleston since the first of the month. In the first four days of December, Boeing has conducted 3 B-1 flights on ZA271 (LN 78, SP-LRB), ZA464 (LN 82, A7-BCC) and ZA510 (LN 59, JA817A). These three aircraft are for LOT Polish Airlines, Qatar Airways and ANA respectively.
In addition to these first flights, Boeing has conducted a few follow on test flights of other 787s including two in Charleston. Both ZA239 (LN 60, VT-ANK) and ZA240 (LN 65, VT-ANL) have flown out of Charleston in recent days. These aircraft were to have been delivered earlier in the fall but on going financing issues at Air India have prevented the carrier from taking delivery. The fact that these two aircraft have flown on back-to-back days may raise the possibility that Air India has some how arranged the bridge financing needed to take delivery but this speculation is tempered by Air India complaining that their 787s are experiencing "electrical issues" and will not take anymore deliveries of 78s until these "issues" are corrected with a permanent fix. Interestingly, none of the other 7 Dreamliner customers have reported (at least publicly) of any electrical issues with airplanes with the exception of yesterday's problem with United.
There are currently 7 787s that are in flight tests with another 6 that are making preparations for their B-1 flights. Of the 6 preparing for 1st flight, I believe that 4 will eventually fly this month and fly fairly soon. There are 3 aircraft (all for Air India) that are ready for delivery but again it depends on the issues at Air India. Thus Boeing has the potential to deliver 14 though we know that they won't deliver that many. For one thing Boeing hasn't conducted very many post B-1 test flights on these airplanes and some of the customers themselves may not be ready to take delivery by the end of the month. Here's whom I believe will be able to take delivery this month:
ANA (2), Qatar Airways (2), United Airlines (2), LAN (1), Japan Airlines (1), Air India (2, maybe).
This is 8 (possibly going to 10) that can be delivered by the end of the month. Since Boeing has taken the majority of these frames on a B-1 flight very early in the month, it leaves them enough time, prior to Boeing's Christmas break, to conduct further test flights and prepare the aircraft for delivery.
United had an incident with their third (and most recently delivered) 787. This aircraft is N26902 which was delivered on Nov. 20th. Thankfully, there wasn't any evidence fire or electrical arcing in the aft electrical bay of the 787 that made the emergency landing at New Orleans but preliminary reports say that one of the 6 starter generators on the aircraft failed. The suspect part is being replaced and will be tested before the aircraft is placed back into service very soon. I believe the generators are made by Hamilton Sundstrand.