Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More flying and more movements

Boeing continues to fly the 787 test flight fleet aggressively as it attempts to certify the Roll Royce Trent 1000 powered 787 by the end of November for delivery in December to ANA. Thus far the test flight hours are over 1,400 hours with the half way mark (1,550 hours) in sight. I project that Boeing should be at the half way mark by mid August if not earlier. They still need to be very aggressive with the test flights in order to get to the certification goal by late November which is less than four months away. The Rolls Royce powered fleet has amassed over 1,300 flight hours (they are targeting 2,430 hours). The sole GE powered aircraft has also been flying quite a bit in order to get the GEnx-1B powered airplanes into customer hands in early 2011. The majority of 787 customers, thus far, have elected the GEnx-1B engines on the 787. ZA005 has racked up just under 110 flight hours. ZA006 is not expected to join the test flight program until early September. It should be rolled out to the flight line in about 1 week (August 9th is what I'm hearing) where it will undergo preflight ground testing. Sources confirmed that ZA006 is still inside ATS Hangar 3.

Production has slowed a bit though. ZA231 was supposed to have started final assembly in late July is now pushed back to August 9th. Meanwhile ZA103 emerged from the temporary tent hangar on the Boeing flightline and was taken to the ATS Hangar to presumably finish up reassembly tasks. ZA104 has been moved into the spot just vacated ZA103 and is starting it's side of body modifications. ZA115 was taken out of the ATS Hangar and is now on the Boeing flightline with many of the other 787s for ANA. Boeing will be slowing down assembly activities in September to allow the supply chain to catch up and reduce travelled work flowing into Everett.

September should bring some changes though with ZA004 expected to receive improved Trent-1000 (the "package B") with better fuel burn. That would take ZA004 out of flight test for some time while they install and ground test the engines on the aircraft. I would expect that the first production 787s should start getting their engines and interiors around October-November time frame and start flight tests soon after that.

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