Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Flightblogger: 787 Update for 2009

Jon Ostrower has posted a great updates for the near term milestones that Boeing hopes to accomplish with the 787 on the road to first flight.

Please read it here.

Here is a summary:

Dreamliner 1 will leave the 787 final assembly bay in 40-26 and will go to a spot in the 767 final assembly building in 40-24. It will occupy a spot that the 787 fatigue test frame occupies. ZY998 will be towed to the Everett flight line where it will be completed and towed to the fatigue test area.

Dreamliner 1 will be in 40-24 for one month to finish up fastener replacement and minor assembly tasks. It will then start the first of three gauntlet tests. The first is the factory gauntlet where the flight test division puts the 787's systems through its paces.

After that Dreamliner 1 will go through the aqueous wash and the repainting as reported on this blog earlier in December.

By the end of March Dreamliner 1 will start the 2nd gauntlet test which is the starting of it's RR Trent 1000 engines for the very first time. The last guantlet is the running of all the 787 systems for 8 days straight to ensure that there aren't any issues.

Presumably, taxi test and RTO (rejected take off) tests will occur soon after the third gauntlet followed by first flight.

Dreamliner 2 is continuing fastener replacement which should be concluded by mid February. Then this aircraft will conduct ground vibrations testing presumably from late February to late March. There is still no word on when Dreamliner 2 will finish assembly and join the flight test program.

With the first 787 leaving the factory floor, this will now open up a spot in the final assembly hall for Dreamliner 5. The aft section of which will probably be delivered to Everett by the end of January. The wings, horizontal stab and vertical stab are all at Everett. The main fuselage section is being paced by the fastener replacement work that is on going. No word on the forward fuselage section but I presume that there is still on going fastener work with that airplane as well.

Monday, December 22, 2008

LN 2 and Beyond: The Impact to Certification

I just got confirmation that LN 2 (ZA002) most likely won't make it's first flight until the summer of 2009. The reason is due to a lot of traveled work yet to be done on the airplane and the shifting of resources to finish LN 1. All that along with the fastener issues have impacted LN 2 shop completion date.

This can slow down the certification efforts by Boeing for the 787.

However after airplane 2 is completed the pace assembly will pick up due to the more complete states of the follow on aircraft delivered into Everett. LN 3 should be done about a month after LN 2 and LN 4 not too long after that as it was delivered mostly complete and with very little traveled work.

It is projected that LN 7 should be 98% complete by the time it arrives in Everett and LN 8 should be shop complete when those sections arrive in Everett for preintergration.

The question now is how will LN 2's first flight in the late summer impact on the certification and EIS of the 787?

FAA Approves 787 Schedule Maintenance Plan

From a Boeing Press Release, the FAA has approved Boeing's plan for the 787 schedule maintenance.
This plan dictates when and what sort of maintenance check are required for the airplane.

787 Schedule Confirmation

Geoffrey Thomas at ATW has confirmed what was reported in this blog last week. Read his article here. Here's the link to the original blog post.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

787 Schedule

In light of the 787 schedule push back that Boeing revealed earlier this month I was able to learn from sources of the immediate schedule going forward.

First the main news: Boeing is hoping to schedule first flight for sometime around late April 2009. My guess: April 20th.

Around Dec. 23 to December 28th of this year, Dreamliner 1, ZA001, will have an aqueous wash of the wing fuel tanks. This indicates that the wing build and the wing instrumentation is pretty much complete. The aqueous wash is to remove carbon shavings and other contaminants from the wing fuel tanks. It's not known if it has to be rolled out of the assembly building for this wash.
The fastener replacement on ZA001 should be completed by the end of December.

ZA002 should have it's fastener replacment done by mid February but it may not have its first flight until August of 2009. I have not yet found out why ZA002 is so far behind and it could put the entire certification schedule for the 787 into disarray.

ZA001 will leave building 40-26 (the final assembly building) for the paint shop around Feb. 24th to get a fresh coat of paint which should be done by March 2. After that ZA001 might go to 40-24 prior to going to the paint hanger though that has not been decided yet. ZA001 might be factory complete by Feb. 24th though there might be some traveled work taken out to the flight line.

Lastly, ZY998, the fatigue test air frame might be moved to the flight line prior to year end even though the build is not yet complete. No reason is known.