Buried amongst paragraphs about 777F flight training and the 787 stretch in this week's commentary from Scott Hamilton, was a subtly placed sentence:
The first flight of the 787 is planned for March 31.
After poking around a bit, this blogger has learned that this date for first flight date comes from a very senior source close to the 787 program. Of course, this date is all dependent on the late March weather conditions in Everett. Historically, this date is primarily meant as a guide. The 767-200 flew a few days early in 1981 to take advantage of good weather, just as the 777 waited a few days longer for ideal conditions.
This date meshes with information about the plans for 787 flight readiness and pre-first flight testing that has to take place during the month of March.
Image Courtesy of The Boeing Company
In other 787 news, the aft fuselage for ZY998, the Fatigue Airframe, was delivered to Everett yesterday evening. The center fuselage, the final fuselage section awaiting delivery, should be making the trip from Charleston to Everett later this week. One exciting surprise of last night's delivery flight was the stop the LCF made along the way at McConnell AFB in Wichita to pick up the nose section for Dreamliner Two. This is the first major assembly for the second flying 787 to arrive in Washington and a big step forward in the program.