Friday, September 24, 2010

787 news - Sept. 24, 2010

Boeing Photo
Lots of small bits and pieces.

To start off, ZA006 has seemed to have attracted a little bit more attention with both Flightblogger and Susanna Ray of Bloomberg News putting up stories after my last post came out announcing another delay to its first flight.

Well first a little bit of good news for this particular airplane....First flight is no longer scheduled for Oct. 4th but now has been pushed back to Oct. 2...eight days from now. In the last couple of days FAA officials were on board ZA006 for engine run tests. I still don't know if the aircraft has undergone its mini gauntlet or not.

The last test flight 787 has been delayed due to unspecified "challenges" in getting the airplane ready for it's first flight. My personal feeling is that they will get the airplane to fly in the next few day but at this point in the program with hundreds of hours of ground testing and build experience behind them already, Boeing should have retired much of the risk at this point that would lead to the 787s first flight. I have to wonder if these issues can have an effect on getting the production 787s ready for their first flight and eventual delivery to customers? At this point in the development and with all the delays taken into account, the 787 and the systems on board should be a very mature aircraft.

The 787 production aircraft are gearing up for their future as I write this. Already ZA102 (LN9), which will be the next 787 to fly, is now due to have it's first flight on November 8 instead of November 1st. However, I can confirm that this airplane is getting the passenger interior that ANA has ordered (being installed right now) and will fly with a full passenger interior layout. In due course I expect ZA100 (LN7) and ZA101 (LN8) will get their passenger interiors installed very soon. The installation of passenger interiors does highlight how close Boeing is to the finish line with the 787 flight test program though there are still issues, such as the unexplained (as of now) failure of a Trent 1000 IP turbine, that Boeing still has to address. Flightblogger has an article about that on the Flightglobal web site.

Flightblogger: Cause of 787 engine test failure remains unclear

Flightblogger: Trent 1000 engine failure investigation hangs over 787

Flight testing seems to have taken a few days off with no test flight yesterday and no flight plans filed for any of the 787s today (so far). v Boeing would need to fly the Rolls Royce equipped 787s an average of six hours and twenty minutes a day for the next 113 days (mid January) in order to certify the Rolls Royce powered 787s. They would have to fly the GEnx-1B powered 787s an average of 4 hours per day for the next 113 days in order to have that aircraft/powerplant combination certified by mid January.

Lastly, construction workers in South Carolina are topping off the 787 final assembly hall this weekend. The building should be completed by next summer and the first 787 should be rolling off in early 2012.

Here's Boeing Press Release:

Boeing Marks Construction Milestone on South Carolina 787 Final Assembly Building

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today marked completion of the steel framework for its new 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly building with a special topping-out ceremony. The event was held in conjunction with BE&K/Turner, the design-builder of the facility.

The final piece of steel was put into place on the 1.1 million-square-foot (102,193 square meters) structure less than a year after the November 2009 groundbreaking. Approximately 18,000 tons of steel are used in the building.

"By this time next year, the Final Assembly building will be complete, and we will have begun production of the first South Carolina-built 787 Dreamliner. That is tremendous – from green-field site to airplane production in about 18 months," said Marco Cavazzoni, vice president and general manager, 787 Final Assembly and Delivery. "The support we've received and continue to receive from our South Carolina partners and suppliers, as well as the state and local community is amazing and is one of the main reasons we've been able to reach these significant milestones in such a short timeframe."

Construction on the new facility is on schedule, with airplane production due to begin in July 2011 and first delivery in first-quarter 2012. At full production rate, Boeing will assemble and deliver three 787s per month from South Carolina to customers around the world. The South Carolina Final Assembly facility will be one of only three in the world producing twin-aisle commercial jetliners.

1 comment:

Gianfranco said...

Thanks Uresh for all these infos.

The delay on ZA006 really seems to be a mystery... I thought it could be a lack of human ressource (who could be devoted to the others planes), but the others 5 planes don't fly anymore !!! (or so few....)

Well, we have to wait and see, but I would bet that there is once again something unsaid with all these planes grounded...