Tuesday, November 2, 2010

787 flight testing contiues as Boeing reasses delivery schedule

Boeing continues to make huge strides in the 787 flight test program but now the long pole in the delivery tent is now the amount of rework that Boeing needs to perform on each of the 25 787s that are built according to Flightblogger.

As I had posted earlier, Boeing has been flying the 787 test fleet aggressively over the past two weeks. Boeing told me that they have completed over 70% of the required testing needed to certify the Rolls Royce powered 787. While Boeing has flown 80% of the 2,430 flight hours needed to certify the Trent 1000 version of the 787, flight hours does not necessarily translate into test points that have been completed. Boeing has told me that the number of hours needed to certify the 787 might be fewer than the 3,100 hours that they initially estimated. The number of hours needed certainly has changed however.

While Boeing is doing well on the test flight front, they are approaching the end of flight testing and that means getting the production 787s ready for delivery. Given all the testing that has been done, it is normal that Boeing will have to make changes to the 787s on the flight line, in the final assembly bay and on the parts still at suppliers. This is what change incorporation is all about. However, there are numerous changes that have to incorporated into the aircraft all the way back into the supply chain that Boeing may have to delay deliveries to of some of the aircraft. It is plausible that some of the airplanes that yet to be assembled may actually be delivered before planes that are already built due to the incorporation of the design changes in the supply chain and the time needed to rework the 787s already built. It may be easier to put some of the change into supply chain (which has to be done regardless) than it is to access the areas that need work and incorporate the needed rework. Make no mistake, these changes and rework needs to be done before the airplanes can be delivered and the question is can Boeing get these airplanes ready in time given the amount of work that has to be done.

Flightblogger: Boeing reviewing 787 delivery schedule and post-certification rework looms

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