Friday, October 16, 2009

Flightblogger: some issues with side of body fix; Boeing: still tracking for first flight before year end

Some interesting developments today as Flightblogger put up a post this morning saying that though the side of body fix installation is going well thus far, but Boeing has issues with the fix on four of the eighteen stringers that need to have the fix installed (on each side of the aircraft) thus Boeing engineers have to redesign the fix for stringers 2 through 5 (they in the aft part of the wing

These stringers carry higher loads and are shorter compared to the other stringers. Apparently they weren't bearing enough load in simulations of the model thus needing a redesign. Flightblogger cited sources saying that this may put Boeing target of flying the 787 in 2009 in jeopardy. ZA001 was supposed to be out of the paint hangar by now according to Flightblogger, citing internal schedules. It has not yet made a reappearance on the Boeing Everett flightline.

Flightblogger also said that there has been significant progress in installing the fix on ZA002 and ZA004, so much so that these two aircraft are catching up to ZA001 and ZY997 (static test aircraft) in terms of completion.

Now the information that Flightblogger put out certainly got a lot of attention so much so that Boeing released the following statement from Scott Francher:

“The design of the side-of-body solution is on track. Installations of the fittings are proceeding well and we are pleased with the progress we are making on this important effort. We continue to be on track to fly the 787 by the end of the year.”

Now for a bit of analysis. Boeing did not address the specific issue of the need to redesign part of the side of body fix in their statement thus Flightblogger may be on to something. It would be very interesting what they have to say about it on Wednesday's earnings conference call where the big topic will continue to be the 787's long trek to first flight.

Flightblogger: Unanswered questions, cautious optimism

Boeing Statement on side of body fix

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