Tuesday, August 12, 2008

787 Landing Gear Test and new 787 order coming soon?

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Dreamliner 1 started landing gear tests 3 days ago (August 9th). This is a major milestone confirming that the electrical, hydraulics and avionics systems are working together. Initially each gear (left main, right main and nose) were tested individually and then all were tested together. The gear swing tests is top replicate how the landing gear would work as if in actual flight. In order to do this, Boeing jacked the airplane off its landing gear. These tests will continue for the next few days presumably also testing the opening and closing of the landing gear doors as well.

Jon Ostrower is also reporting that Boeing will have a video available of the gear tests available soon. I'll try to post it here (once I've figured out how to do that)!

UPDATE: The video and more pics of the gear swing is here. Boeing even got some amazing footage inside the wheel well as the gear is retracted into it.

New 787 Customer?

In other 787 news, I learned from multiple sources that Boeing will reveal a buyer of 23 787-8s as early as next month. Boeing booked a 23 order from an unidentified customer back in January of this year. Since this order was booked, speculation has been rampant on the web that it must be a current customer who has already purchased the 787 and has a large number of options that they can exercised. Air Canada (who has 23 unexercised 787 options) became the prime suspect. The buyer was not revealed at Farnborough (I guess they didn't want to compete with all the other news coming out of the air show) but I have since learned that this order may be for a new 787 operator. I've also learned from sources that the customer is NOT a North American or European customer. One source told me that it probably is a company that is not subject to regulatory fillings where large material purchases such as 23 787 would have to be disclosed.

So who can it be? Well it can be an Asian, Middle Eastern or South American customer in my opinion. Those are the only regions of the world that have airlines that don't have to reveal this purchase in regulatory filings in addition to being able to afford to buy a large number of widebody aircraft and who has not previously purchased the 787. From these regions we could probably look at airlines like Thai, TAM, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Malaysian or even Iraq Airways (with the help of US govt. loans or the $49 bn surplus the Iraqi govt. has). One source speculated to me that TAM is going to take delivery of 4 777-300ERs in September and wouldn't the delivery ceremony make a great opportunity to announce a TAM order for the 787. This is a company that has already bought 12 A350-800, 10 A350-900 and 15 A330-200. The 787-8 would be a great size for TAM for which Airbus' only competitor in the 787-8 size category is the A330-200 (the A350-800 competes with the 787-9 and the A350-900 would compete with the 777-200ER and the proposed 787-10) and the 767-300ERs that TAM recently leased out.


Russell said...

Video of the gear swing is now available on Boeing's website!


Ken said...

Finally a site that has the latest and most comprehensive information on the development of the 787. I look foward to reading this.

Uresh said...

Thanks Ken,
I hope to have more information soon but with the IAM strike looming I think people's attentions are focused elsewhere!