Wednesday, January 6, 2010

787 Round Up - January 6, 2010

Boeing Photo

Now that we're out of the Holiday's here's some news from around the 787 program.

First off I'm hearing that ZA004 should be out of building 40-24 very soon, perhaps even by tonight. ZA003 is still in the paint hangar which may indicate that ZA004 might fly before ZA003.

ZA001 continues to make almost daily flights and has, to date, racked up over 24 flight hours. ZA001 is flying to get Type Inspection Authorization ahead of certification testing that would be planned to start around mid February. The airworthiness test flights that are currently taking place are to ensure that all the systems perform as advertised as well as to make sure there aren't any flutter issues with the aircraft.

ZA002, which has not flown since Dec. 22, 2009, is undergoing post-flight checks as well as re-calibration and testing of several systems including the Common Core System according to Guy Norris of Aviation Week. There is still no word on when ZA002 will resume flying.

Now that Boeing has gotten the 787 flying, some attention will be turned to 787 production. Flightblogger has put up an article about the side of body modifications for the production 787s going forward. Currently the airplanes are assembled without the mods put in. Starting with airplane 16 (LN 16), which should be in Everett next month, the mods will be partially done at Boeing Charleston on Section 11 (center wing box) and at Everett on Section 12 (wing boxes) prior to the wing body join. This will continue through aircraft 49 (LN 49) and then with aircraft 50 there will be an incorporated redesign of the area that shown the lack of structural strength thus eliminating the need of the modifications that will be present in the first 49 787s.

Flightblogger: Boeing to incorporate Side of Body Mods into Production 787s

Flightblogger also published an interesting blog post comparing the takeoff noise footprint of the 787 vs the 777. Quite interesting and I do think the 787 does have a lower noise footprint vs the 77 but that should be expected. The 777 has a larger diameter engines vs the 787 but the 787 also has other noise reduction designs incorporated into the aircraft.

Flightblogger compares the sounds of 787 vs 777 at Takeoff

One none 787 note. The other airplane that Boeing is going to start test flying is the 747-8. The first one RC501 is still out on the Boeing flightline, presumably undergoing gauntlet testing. Last month I got word that first flight of this airplane is supposed to be on January 14th. While sources have recently told me that it's still the 14th they've also said that it's likely to slip, possibly to the 21st of January. Stay tuned for that one!

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