Monday, November 30, 2009

787 passes static wing load test

Future of Flight Picture

This evening several sources reported that the 787 static test air frame had passed the static wing load tests. This was later confirmed this evening in a Boeing press release which is below:

Boeing Completes 787 Dreamliner Static Test

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today completed the static test necessary to validate the side-of-body modification made to the 787 Dreamliner. The company expects a full analysis of the test results to be concluded in approximately 10 days. A successful test result is needed to clear the airplane for its planned first flight next month.

During today's test on the 787 Dreamliner static test airframe, the wing and trailing edges of the airframe were subjected to its limit load -- the highest loads expected to be seen in service. The load is about the same as 2.5 times the force of gravity for the wing.

Boeing announced on June 23 that it was necessary to reinforce an area of structure at the side-of-body section of the 787. The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage. The modifications were completed on the first two flight-test airplanes and the full-scale static test airplane earlier this month.

"Today's test was an important milestone for the program. We will confirm the test results after the completion of our detailed analysis," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

Boeing engineers still needs to finish detailed analysis of the test data but it's looking very good. ZA001 and ZA002 are both back out on the flightline and it's expected that ZA002 will perform additional taxi tests this week. The detailed analysis should take about 10 days to complete but I expect that during this time Boeing will carry out the additional and needed gauntlet testing as well as taxi tests on the 787 in advance of the 787 first flight.

Now according to Matt Cawby's blog, both 787 ZA001 and 747-8F RC501 will attempt their first flights (B1 flight) on December 22nd. While this date is expected for the 787 this is a surprise for the 747-8F and is an attempt to take advantage of maximum exposure on both these aircraft and to show that these programs are back on track.

Matt Cawby's Nov. 30th Blog Post

Earlier both the Seattle Times and Flightblogger reported that the 787 had passed the crucial wing load test to 100% of design loads (the ultimate or 150% design load test will come in 2010 and is not needed for first flight but needed for FAA certification). The passing of the design load limit test means that the side of body fix designed by Boeing engineers works according to their computer models.

Seattle Times


Friday, November 27, 2009

Wing Load test started on static test 787

Matt Cawby reported on his blog today that Boeing has started a wing load test on ZY997, the 787 static test air frame. More on this when I get more information.

Matt Cawby's Nov. 27 blog post

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Other news from the aviation world

We all know the aviation world doesn't revolve around the 787...yet, so here some other interesting tid bits to tide you over until the next 787 update.
Heathrow is demolishing T2 to make way for a brand spanking new T2 that will replace the old T2 and T1. Looks real nice to me especially since T2 has been around since 1955, it's time for a change.
The first phase of the project should be done by 2013 and the second phase should be completed by 2019.

Introducing Heathrow's New Terminal 2

Moving on to other topics. Looks like the A400M may beat the 787 into the skies. There's word going around that first flight for the European military transport is penciled in for November 30 (2009). The aircraft has already completed one set of low speed taxi tests so the Nov. 30th date is not out of the realm of the possible.

A400M Taxi Trials

Lastly, there was an interesting report out on the heels of EADS admission that the A380 is a matter of concern. With only 202 orders over the past 9 years since the aircraft was launched and a lot of customer deferrals for the aircraft, Airbus is going to have great difficulty getting the production rate up to any meaningful number let alone 40/year that they had hoped they would achieve in 2010. The fact that Lufthansa's first A380 has been delayed from the spring 2010 into the summer doesn't make any one feel more confident about the direction ofthis program. This can effect EADS' other programs especially the A350. Here's a very interesting research piece from Gerson Lehrman Group.

Airbus Battles with Continued A380 Woes

Monday, November 23, 2009

Boeing shows off its newest member of the 747 family

Randy Tinseth post a great post full of pictures and video of the 747-8F heading for the paint hangar as well as pics after the paint job was done. Great pics and you can truly appreciate the length of the 747-8.

It looks incredible. First flight is still penciled in for January 14th, 2010.

Let It Roll

Can 787 surge help the KC-767?

Leeham analyst Scott Hamilton put out a very interesting piece on his blog suggesting that the 787 production surge that is going to take place in Everett prior to start of the production run in North Charleston, SC will lead to lower production cost and ultimately a lower bid price on the KC-767 Tanker when compared to the EADS KC-330. This may be a huge advantage for the KC-767.

Read on here.

787 still tracking for Dec. 22nd first flight

According to sources Boeing is still tracking to a first flight on December 22nd. Boeing hopes to start testing the fix on the static air frame after the Thanksgiving holidays (next week) and verify what their computer models are telling them.

Once that is complete then the way should be clear to restart pre-flight gauntlet tests followed by taxi tests and then first flight.

Additionally, the remainder of the test fleet as well as the production models completed thus far should go through the side of body modification in fairly rapid order.

I would expect that Boeing should have a good understanding if the side of body modifications work soon after they complete the tests. They will still have to review the test results with the FAA and get their approval prior to the continuation of the test program.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flightblogger: 787 Fleet location

UPDATE (11/22/2009): ZA002 has been moved out to the Everett flightline and it seems that all the wing to body fairings have been reinstalled indicating that reassembly tasks maybe complete. See a picture of the Everett flight line by clicking here.

Flightblogger posted a great summary of where all the 787s are and the status of each aircraft

ZA001/LN1 : In paint hangar undergoing reassembly and should move to building 40-24 (767 line) this weekend to complete those reassembly tasks

ZA002/LN2 : Finish modifications and is in building 40-24 for reassembly tasks

ZA003/LN3 : In building 40-24 under going side of body modifications

ZA004/LN4 : At the ATS Hanger under going side of body modifications

ZA005/LN5 : On the Everett flightline awaiting it's turn for side of body modification

ZA006/LN6 : On the Everett flightline awaiting it's turn for side of body modification

ZA100/LN7 : On the Everett flightline awaiting it's turn for side of body modification

ZA101/LN8 : On the Everett flightline awaiting it's turn for side of body modification

ZA102/LN9 : At the ATS Hangar awaiting it's turn for side of body modification

ZA103/LN10 : In building 40-26 undergoing final assembly

ZA104/LN11 : In building 40-26 undergoing final assembly

ZA105/LN12 : In building 40-26 undergoing final assembly

ZA115/LN13 : In building 40-26 undergoing final assembly

ZA116/LN14 : Parts are arriving (horizontal stab and wings in da house)

Flightblogger : Getting Oriented

Boeing Announces Charleston, SC Groundbreaking

Boeing Image

Well now it's underway. Can't wait to see the first 787 rolling out in about 18 months or so

Boeing Breaks Ground on Second 787 Assembly Line in North Charleston, SC

Boeing facility expands production capability and increases footprint in South Carolina

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction for the second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program at its Boeing Charleston facility. The facility also will have the capability to support the testing and delivery of airplanes.

"Today's event marks the beginning of an expansion plan that will strengthen the 787 program and allow us to continue building on the footprint we have established in South Carolina with Boeing Charleston and Global Aeronautica," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Locating the second line in North Charleston will allow Boeing to successfully compete in the aerospace market and grow for the long-term benefit of many stakeholders."

Today's groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Albaugh; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; Sen. Lindsey Graham; Sen. Jim DeMint; Rep. Henry Brown; Rep. James Clyburn; State Sen. Hugh Leatherman; State Sen. Glenn McConnell; State Rep., Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell; Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor, Sr.; North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and other key officials from South Carolina. Anita Zucker, chairperson and CEO of The InterTech Group, Inc., served as master of ceremonies for the event.

Boeing Charleston performs fabrication, assembly and systems installation for the 787 aft fuselage sections. Global Aeronautica, which is 50 percent owned by Boeing, is responsible for joining and integrating 787 fuselage sections from other structural partners.

"We look forward to expanding our capability in South Carolina through our existing site, while maintaining our commitment to the Puget Sound region where Boeing Commercial Airplanes remains headquartered," said Albaugh. "Puget Sound will continue to design and produce airplanes, including the 787."

The 787 Dreamliner will be more efficient, quieter and have lower emissions than other airplanes while offering passengers greater comfort and the convenience of direct, nonstop flights between more cities around the world. Fifty-five customers around the world have ordered 840 787s since the program was launched in April 2004, making the Dreamliner the fastest-selling new commercial jetliner in history. The 787 family of airplanes will carry 210 to 330 passengers on flights up to 8,500 nautical miles (15,750 km).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dow Jones confirms Dec. 22nd first flight date

I want to thank Dow Jones for confirming what I had reported 10 days ago!!!

Dow Jones 787 First Flight Date

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First 747-8F out of paint Hangar

Boeing Photo

Boeing showed off the newest version of the 747 painted in the Boeing "light" scheme. It will now proceed for fueling tests followed by APU start and then first engine start and intermediate gauntlet.

In a little bit of 787 news, the fatigue test air frame is now in the temporary tent hangar on the Everett flightline which may mean that this air frame may be next to undergo the side of body modification. A 747LCF also delivered the next horizontal stabilizer for Dreamliner 13.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

787 vs A400M, Irish bookmakers taking bets on first flight

Ok, so who's up for placing a bet? Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power, is giving the 787 1-2 odds for making it into the air before the A400M which is at 6-4. Both planemakers are saying that they expect first flight for these two airplanes before the end of the year.

Boeing's Dreamliner Odds-on For First Take Off

Monday, November 16, 2009

Boeing confirms completion of mods on static air frame and Dreamliner 2

Both Photos Courtesy of Boeing
This out from Boeing early (very) this morning:

Boeing Completes Side-of-Body Installations on Two More 787

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has completed installing reinforcements within the side-of-body section of two more 787 Dreamliners.

Over the weekend, employees at Boeing's facility in Everett, Wash., finished reinforcing the full-scale static test airframe and the second Dreamliner designated for flight test. Installations were completed Nov. 11 on the first flight-test airplane.

The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage.

"Our focus now is on completing the static test later this month, which will validate the modification," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "Concurrently we are restoring the airplanes and completing the functional tests required to fly by the end of the year."

The static test airframe is being refitted with strain gauges and instrumentation required for testing. Access doors, systems, seals and fasteners removed from airplane No. 2 to provide access are being restored in preparation for continued testing on the airplane. The first 787 also is being restored.

Fancher said the program is on track to fly the 787 by the end of the year.

"We are building momentum with each milestone we achieve," Fancher said. "This team is focused on its goals and bringing us ever closer to first flight."

I'm assuming that Dreamliner 2 will finish up reassembly activities inside 40-24. Additionally, Matt Cawby is reporting that the fatigue test air frame and Dreamliner 2 (ZA002, LN2) will swap places with Dreamliner 2 going into building 40-24 and the fatigue test air frame taking its place on the flightline prior to undergoing modifications for the side of body join.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

787s on the move

According to Matt Cawby's blog, Dreamliner 2 (ZA002, LN2) has apparently completed it's side of body modifications and will be moved out of the temporary hangar on the Everett flightline.

In it's place Dreamliner 4 (ZA004, LN4) will be moved from the ATS hangar where it currently resides into the temporary hangar on the flightline for the modification work.. Dreamliner 1 (ZA001, LN 1) conducted VHF and HF radio checks but no word on when it will be pulled out of the paint hangar.

Since Boeing indicated that the modifications on ZA002 and ZY997 (static test) were to be completed within days, it does stand to reason that Boeing should be able to conduct the wing stress test on ZY997 within the next few weeks since I do believe the mods should be done on that aircraft too.

With Dreamliner 2 moving out onto to the flightline, Boeing will have the following 787s outside:
Dreamliner 2, Dreamliner 6, Dreamliner 7 and Dreamliner 8.

At last report Dreamliner 3 and Dreamliner 4 are at the ATS hangar and Dreamliner 5 is in building 40-24 (767 final assembly line). ZY998 (fatigue test) I believe is also in 40-24.

Matt Cawby's Blog

Friday, November 13, 2009

WSJ: Another 787 issue

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Boeing had discovered an issue with composite delamination while installing the side of body fix on ZA001.

Now Boeing has responded that the issue has been resolved and that they ar still tracking first flight for around the end of the year.

So is this a real issue with the airplane or is it a tempest in tea pot?

In my opinion if the issue was as serious that the Wall Street Journal is making it out to be then Boeing wouldn't be closing up panels and reinstalling equipment on the airplane that had exhibited this delamination issue. Also as far as we know ZA001 is the only aircraft to have shown this delamination issue with the freeze plugs and is confined to a small area. Yet the Wall Street Journal went ahead and over-sensationalize the issue.

Now people are inevitably going to bring up the old refrain "Well how can we trust what Boeing says"

The answer well they didn't fly when they realize the side of body joint is a serious issue and if this delamination problem is a safety of flight issue then they won't fly but it truly does sound like this is a nothing issue.

Read on:

Wall Street Journal article

Randy's Blog: Takin' Care of Business

Bloomberg article

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Boeing Announces that Side of Body Fix Complete on 1st 787

This just out of Boeing confirming what Flightblogger had reported just a couple of days ago, what is interesting is that ZY997 and ZA002 are not too far behind ZA001 which means a very steep learning curve for the fix to be installed. Boeing expects to verify the fix on the static test air frame later this month:
Photo of ZA001 in the Paint Hangar
Courtesy of Boeing

Side-of-Body Installations Complete on First Boeing 787 Dreamliner

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has completed installing reinforcements within the side-of-body section on the first 787 Dreamliner.

The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage. Installations were completed yesterday.
Boeing expects to complete the installations on the static test airframe and the second flight-test airplane in the coming days.

"Completing this work is a significant step toward first flight. We continue to be pleased with the progress of the team and remain confident the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner will occur before the end of the year," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "We will test the modification on the full-scale static test airframe later this month. As soon as we confirm the loads are being handled appropriately in the joint we will complete preflight activities on the

Once the modification is complete on the static test airframe, it will be refitted with strain gauges and instrumentation required for testing. Access doors, systems, seals and fasteners removed from airplane No. 1 to provide access are being restored in preparation for continued testing on the airplane. Boeing continues to install fittings on the fatigue test airframe and the remaining flight-test airplanes. Other airplanes will be modified in the weeks ahead. Overall, the work on modifying airplanes is progressing well, Fancher said.

"We have a strong and capable team that has performed exceptionally well," Fancher said. "I'm very pleased with the team's dedication to meet our commitment to fly before the end of the year."

After airplane No. 1 is restored, the flight-test team will perform another set of gauntlet and taxi tests to ensure that all systems are ready for flight. Fancher noted that with the exception of a single high-speed taxi test, all remaining flight-test activities have been successfully completed on the first flight-test airplane.

Charleston Ground Breaking on Nov. 20th

Mike Mecham at Aviation Week posted on "Things With Wings" blog that Boeing will have the ground breaking ceremony for the Charleston final assembly line next Friday, Nov. 20th. The construction is expected to take about a year and a half and should allow Boeing to produce its first 787 by early 2012.

One interesting detail in his report is that there will be two buildings and the paint shop will be located within the building that also houses the final assembly line as oppose to Boeing Everett set up where all aircraft produced there must be towed across a bridge to the other side of a highway to the paint hangars.

The second building will house the delivery center, storage facility and probably offices.

Mike Mecham : Charleston Welcome

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Latest 787 schedule info from Flightblogger

Flightblogger just post some more information regarding the ongoing side of body fix and the schedule for the remainder of this year.

In his post, Flightblogger reports that ZA001 essentially has completed its side of body modifications while reaffirming that first flight for ZA001 is due to take place around the December 22nd date that I reported yesterday.

Flightblogger also reported that the testing of the fix on the full scale static test air frame will take place in late November followed by detailed analysis of the test results prior to restart of testing on ZA001. Starting today, Boeing will begin the task of reinstalling systems and panels on ZA001 as well as doing a through cleaning of the aircraft which probably also include an aqueous wash of the fuel tanks again.

Flightblogger: ZA001 wing fix complete

Update: Guy Norris at Aviation Week also has a post up on the 787 in his blog:

787 Wing Fix

Monday, November 9, 2009

First Flights!

According to sources, Boeing has target dates for the first flights for the 747-8 and 787-8.

The first flight for the 787 is targeted for December 22, 2009.

The first flight for the 747-8 is targeted for January 14, 2010.

I do have independent confirmation of these dates but as with everything with regards to these two airplane programs, the question remains if these dates are achievable. Time will tell.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

2nd production 787 moved to flightline

While we and the rest of the world waits for the first flight of the 787, Matt Cawby got video and pictures of the 2nd production 787 out on the Everett flightline. The aircraft was moved out the paint hangar 45-03 and onto the ramp at Everett. The aircraft is registered as JA804A.

Inside building 40-26, Boeing workers continue to put together 787s LN 9 to LN 12 (all for ANA). It is expected that LN 13 should be in the Everett factory very soon.

You can view Matt Cawby's picture by clicking here you can also view his video of the aircraft roll out here. Notice that this aircraft also does not have its engines attached yet. That will happen closer to the delivery time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finally some 787 News

Well after a few weeks without any news of the 787's journey to first flight, Guy Norris at AWST put a posting this evening saying that Boeing is targeting a first flight for late December. Work is still not yet done on ZA001 and there is the validation work yet to be done on ZY997 which is the static test air frame. According to Guy, Boeing hope to get renewed gauntlet testing underway on ZA001 around Thanksgiving time in late November.

Assuming that the FAA and Boeing are in agreement on the fix and pre-flight gauntlet testing goes well, Boeing would be looking at first flight around Christmas time. Stay Tuned!

Late December First Flight Targeted for 787

Also Flightblogger has a great posting on Spirit and its delivery of the nose section of the 787. In his post, Flightblogger is reporting that Spirit will deliver 10 787 sections this year and will restart production of the fuselage barrels later this quarter to prepare for the ramp up to full production.

Spirit to deliver 10 787 shipsets

787 First flight a month away