Tuesday, June 1, 2010

End of May 787 Update

Not too much to update here but what I lack in quantity I hopefully make up in quality!

787 flight testing slowed down this past weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) with only one airplane flying, ZA002. This airplane surpassed 250 flight hours this past weekend. ZA001 is swapping out it's Trent 1000 engines and is about midway through that exercise. It is not, as far as I have learned, a swap out of the Trent package "A" engines (which was what this aircraft has been flying with since December) with the improved package "B" engines. The fourth 787, ZA004 will receive the improved package "B" Trent 1000 in September. The package "B" engines is supposed to deliver a specific fuel consumption that is within 1% of what was promised to customers. These engines incorporates design improvements to get that fuel consumption close to what is contractually promised by Rolls Royce. ZA004 is receiving some APU updates and additional instrumentation and ZA003 was given the weekend off for the Holidays. The 787 test fleet has flown the most hours in the program during the past one month, logging over 330 hours spread across over 100 flights. The per flight utilization also went up to 3.2 hours per flight. Most of this is attributed to ZA004 performing Nautical Air Miles Testing over the eastern Pacific just west of the Baja Peninsula.

To date the 787 test fleet has accumulated over 880 flight test hours during more than 280 flights.

Coming up

So far so good with flight testing. ZA002 flew to Victorville this morning (June 1) and is joining ZA004 in flight test duties. The two airplanes will be testing independent of one another. ZA002 will undertaking NGS (nitrogen generating system) tests as well as some other small testing duties.

ZA005 is still scheduled to fly around June 16th and ZA006 will be flying around July 13th.

On the production front, look for LN 23 to start final assembly around June 14th. Boeing held up final assembly of 787s for one month to allow the supply chain to get caught up in work instead of sending the fuselage sections to Everett along with travelled work. Look for parts for this airplane to start arriving next week though some parts are already in for this airplane.

Lastly, I asked Boeing about sending the 787 to the Farnborough Air Show. They said no decision has been made yet and it will depend on the progress of flight testing. They anticipate that a decision should be made closer to the time of the air show in mid July.

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